Heavenly Father,
We don’t go fishing as much as we used to. Of course, “our” form of fishing is me sitting on a chair in the shade writing in my prayer journal or reading a book while my husband walks around fishing! He gives me a hard time because there have been several times when he really worked hard at catching something and asked me to just keep an eye on his pole while he went to get something. They seem to “bite” right at that time and I get to be the one who pulls it out!

Fishing in Oklahoma is not the same as in some parts of the country. The water is muddy. You don’t get to see where the fish are. You have to try to figure out where they might be hanging out and cast your baited hook into the clouded water. As I watched my husband out in the sun, moving around, trying different lures, I decided it takes a lot of work to go fishing. Sometimes, you get enough fish for a delicious fish fry (But that even takes a lot of effort!) Other times, like last night, you get sunburn and mosquito bites but no fish—just 2 little nibbles. Fishing takes a lot of patience and perseverance.

Jesus told a few of His disciples who happened to be experienced commercial fishermen to follow Him and He would make them “fishers of men.” Father, help me keep casting out Your good news of Jesus Christ. The waters might be muddy. I may not see how Your Spirit is already prompting others to latch on to You. It may seem like I am not doing any good at all. Help me keep at it. I may get hot, tired, come up against opposition and get bitten by pesky attacks; there may be a lot of times I see no results…but oh! The joy of seeing someone turn to You, being saved by Jesus, encouraged by You and touched by You! It is worth all the time and effort! It is a shared joy between You, the one who is finally caught by You and the one who had any kind of part in it! I love fishing with You, Lord!

 

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“As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. ‘Come, follow Me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed Him.” Matthew 418-20

 

“Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.” John 21:4-6

 

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share in your Master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, show me how to fish…

Most holy Father,
Yesterday I attended the graveside service of a young beautiful 42-year-old woman. She was the daughter of a dear friend and co-worker. As I waited for the service to begin, I was thinking how short this life is. There were four drownings this weekend (two of which were four-year-old children). Whether we live just a few minutes as my nephew’s little 1 ½ lb baby did or 93 years, as my grandmother did, this physical life is short! Especially compared to eternity which is really what life is all about. That’s exactly what the humble man spoke about at the service- the brevity of this life!

Since I have dealt with living and dying all my life- but most certainly in the past 25 years as I have encouraged those who are grieving, I may be more aware of the brevity of this life. I have had the often-painful honor of hearing the stories of the broken-hearted who are missing their loved ones. It is so hard to be walking in life next to a loved one and then to have them gone in the twinkling of an eye. It can be very painful to be the ones left behind to finish out this life without them. Yet it is also a reality check of how very real the end of this age is. If we already know and trust You, Lord, we get extra homesick for our eternal lives with You and our loved ones. Even if we do not know You yet, we realize we all will die at some point and it could be today. It is an important time to struggle with what this life is truly all about. It is about You, Lord and our relationship with You!

As painful as death is on this side, I have also had the honor of seeing glimpses of life in the next chapter that never ends—people on their death beds seeing You and Your glory calling them home in one way or another! Father, You do not leave us alone as orphans to face this world. You sent your pure and Holy Son Jesus to guarantee our place with You forever. All we have to do is confess we need Him and ask Him to be Lord of our lives. Then He sends the Holy Spirit to live in us—to comfort, guide, lead, encourage, correct, refresh, and strengthen us in this life and forevermore. We can live with the joy of Your presence in us—even in this earthly life.

Life here on this present earth may be brief, but we never have to walk through it alone. We can begin our eternal life with You now and know that we will live with You for all eternity. Thank You for loving us so much that You want us to spend forever with You!

 

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“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” Jesus promising us the Holy Spirit in John 14:18

 

“You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes…” James 4:14

 

“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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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, my life is nothing without You. I have sinned against You. I need Your Son Jesus to save me, live in me and give me eternal life…

Heavenly Father,
This weekend I silently cheered my husband on during a state Chess tournament. It was his first tournament so he was hyper focused for about a month before the event. Extra games were played, tactics were studied and games were analyzed—all in preparation. Being a non-Chess player, I went along to see what all the fuss was about. There were about 60 players in one large room. Even before the clocks were started, there was barely any talking as they set up their games. No one hardly looked at their opponent. They were intensely studying the game in front of them. I sat quietly watching as I could almost hear sixty brains all working at once. Most of the games lasted 3- 4 hours. There were some focused minds in that room.

Lord, why is it so hard for us to focus even half that much on You? You surround us with all kinds of cues to worship and thank You. All we need to do is be still and consider who You are. You set galaxies in motion and placed our sun and moon in the perfect place to sustain us here on this incredible lush garden we call earth. You place us in families, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods filled with people to love and be loved by. You give us everything we need and so much more. Everything—even our challenges—point us toward You… and yet we let so many things distract us from the most important relationship of all. We need You more than we can possibly know. You love us more than we can ever comprehend.

If I can learn to focus more fully on You, I will know when to be still and when to move. You see the entire plan not just one little move in front of me. There is no way for me to calculate or predict life ahead. What a relief to trust You for today- just the next play. If I focus on You and ask, You will let me know each move one at a time in Your all-knowing plan. Focusing on You and trusting You with each step in my life frees me up to enjoy Your presence and those around me! Let my eyes, heart, mind and soup be attentive to You, Lord!

 

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“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2

 

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.” Matthew 26:41

 

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

 

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Your Prayer Peek-
Father, help me focus on You today…

Heavenly Father,
Fifty years ago, I was one of the millions of people on earth who sat mesmerized in front of what would now be considered grainy TV. The whole world gathered around whatever television they could find to watch a rocket blast off carrying three brave men to the moon. We continued to watch in awe as two of those men stepped down a ladder from a small LEM landing vehicle onto the surface of the earth’s moon where no man had ever walked before. Since that time, I have seen up close several of the space ships that took brave explorers into space and the moon. They appear so fragile. It is almost unbelievable what was accomplished at the very beginning of the age of technology. The state-of-the-art computers that took up rooms and helped accomplish this are now historical dinosaurs. Yet that was the kick-off to the technological boom that now lets even children hold phone-sized computers in their hands.

Many people consider the moon-landing the greatest feat human-kind has ever accomplished. As impressive as that was, I know deep in my soul that the greatest feat ever accomplished was when You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to be born, live, die and be resurrected for us so we could live with You forever! We get way too caught up in our own wisdom and accomplishments and deny our need for You, our God Almighty!

Father, You are the Maker and Designer of billions of moons, stars, planets and galaxies. We could explore forever and never understand all of who You are! Your power and glory are unmatched and immeasurable! We think we are so smart that we do not need You, but Oh! How we need You! Only a few men and women have flown into space. There may not seem a bigger accomplishment than that! Yet most have reported after coming back realizing the vastness of Your glory and the smallness of who they are! How could you top walking on the moon?…Walking with You, Lord God! That is the greatest walk ever! It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, educated or uncivilized, connected or unplugged to technology…who we are, where we live, how old we are or anything else. We all need You! We cannot walk with You by anything we can do on our own except reach out and admit that we need Jesus. It is not about us being able to accomplish anything. It is accepting what You accomplished through Jesus. He is the One who You sent to lift us up out of sin and transport us to a life with You that far outshines a walk on the moon. It is an eternal glorious walk!

 

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“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.’ And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars…And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:14-16,18

 

“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise Him in the heights above. Praise Him, all His angels, Praise Him, all His heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise Him, all you shining stars!” Psalm 148:1-3

 

“The city (the new city to come) does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb its lamp.” Revelation 21:23

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, do I truly realize I need You and Your Son Jesus?….Do I want a walk with You?…

Heavenly Father,
One time in my early twenties, I was going through what seemed like more than my share of some pretty intense trials which seemed to have no way out. I needed to talk to my dad; so I went to find him where I could almost always find him—at the end of a water hose watering plants in one of the back commercial growing greenhouses. I was in luck because that meant no customers and his undivided attention. He listened with compassion as I poured out my heart. Then he told me I needed to go home and read the book of James from the Bible. So I did. I read through part of the second verse… “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” I was so mad that I closed the Bible! How could I count these intense situations I was going through as joy!? It took me many more trials and turning to You, Lord, to realize I could truly consider my trials joy…

When I first began facing all these adult trials, I thought no one else in the world ever had to face so much hardship. Since that time, I have discovered that this life is filled with trials of many kinds, and every single person faces their own unique testing and obstacles. Little did I know those first trials I faced were nothing compared to some of the trials to come. I finally read the rest of the book of James—including the rest of that sentence I closed the book on earlier. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Lord, I’m so glad I am not in my twenties any more. Yet now I truly can count each and every trial I have gone through as joy. Each challenge has shown me how weak I am and how much I need You. Each trial has drawn me closer to You because I knew I could not get through it on my own. Every time, I have learned that Your ways are far better than my most brilliant ideas. My faith in You has grown through having to trust You. You have developed perseverance in me and I have learned to stop and consider any new trial joy because I know You will work out things far better than I ever could! It is a joy to persevere through this life with You, Lord! I will persevere all the way until I finish this race and You come get me!

 

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“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. Because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord, what past and current trials can I consider joy?…

 

Heavenly Father,
It is almost as hard to make quiet time in this world as it is for a rambunctious preschooler to play the Quiet Game. We wiggle. Our mind wanders. We think of all these things that we NEED to say. It can seem almost impossible to just be still and quiet. It is becoming a lost quality. There is so much noise in the world right now. We don’t even realize how noisy it is. There is always some kind of babbling sound going on in the background (music, TV, videos, games, playing, fighting, sirens, honking, machinery, traffic, news… We have become so accustomed to it to the point we are often uncomfortable with silence.

Quiet time is critical to our spiritual life with You, Lord. How else will we hear Your still small voice unless we tune our ears to listen for You in the quiet? You do not compete with all the clamor of this world. You do not need to. It is up to us to get away from all the noise and be still with You. It is our choice to step away from earthly advice, attitudes, knowledge, commercials, entertainment, and all the noise. I have read some studies on noise pollution and how too much prolonged noise damages our ears. I think it damages our soul and ability to hear and recognize Your voice, Lord.
When we are just meeting someone, we might feel uncomfortable with silence around them. We tend to talk just to fill the silence without being quiet and listening. Yet the deeper the relationship, the more we can simply be quiet and still so we can savor their presence in quietness. We learn to hear the very heart.

Father, let me make time—let me thirst for quiet time with You. Help me stick with it until I can’t wait to be still and quiet in Your presence. Let it become such a part of me that I can take Your quiet sweet Spirit with me out into the noisy world and give others a taste and a longing for their own quiet time with You!

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“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.’” Isaiah 30:15

“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

“…the sheep listen to His (Jesus’) voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me learn to be still so I can hear Your voice and follow it…

 

Heavenly Father,
It is interesting that the man who inspired the first Father’s Day was a two-time widower, dad, stepdad and Civil war veteran who gave everything to raise his own children—but also his stepchildren—with love. Though it was first celebrated in 1910 in the state of Washington, where the daughter of this devoted dad fought to have dads recognized like mothers were. It eventually spread throughout the nation. It didn’t become an official national holiday until 1972! (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were NOT created to be materialistic, but meant to honor with our hearts.) Lord, a national holiday is not required to honor the men in our lives who are our fathers—either by blood or by choice. We can honor them everyday by the way we choose to live! And it starts with You, our Heavenly Father, who is above all!

You are our Ultimate Father—the One who gives both physical and spiritual life; the One who provides, protects, teaches, guides, picks us up, comforts, molds, serves, forgives, disciplines, stands by, encourages us, never leaves us, lets us learn from mistakes, saves us, tucks us in, wakes us up, watches over us, never gives up on us, is patient with us, is tender or firm as needed, knows us through and through, carries us on Your shoulder, holds our hand, points out beauty and truth, shares wisdom, gives advice when asked, helps us face danger and grow from trials, teaches us by example, gets us out of troubles we got ourselves into, helps us face the consequences…You are always available at any time. You never make a mistake and know exactly what You are doing. You are closer and more perfect than the very best human father—yet in Your divine plan, You choose to use these imperfect men to father us!

Our Great Father of all, we honor You above all and yet we thank You for our dads, step-dads, grandfathers, fathers-in-law, uncles, friends, brothers, bosses, pastors, teachers, elders…the men, young and old, who You have placed in our lives, who have taken the challenge to let You live in and through them to care for Your children—the ones You have entrusted to them. Father, we pray that these beloved men turn to You to receive all they need to father us in a way that honors You.

 

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God commanded us in Exodus 20:12: ‘Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

 

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10

 

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. He sets the lonely in families…” Psalm 68:5-6

 

Jesus, the Son of God, taught us to pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” Matthew 6:9

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father God, how can I better honor You and the godly men You have placed in my life?…

Heavenly Father,

The other day I helped my adult daughter cut a 4-foot-tall hedge down to about 18 inches tall. The tall row of “Dwarf” Yaupon Holly bushes was lush and green and thriving, but it was not serving the purpose it was needed for. It completely blocked her front porch and had grown out over the front sidewalk to cover over half of it—making the walkway to the front door almost unusable. She talked to me about taking the huge shrubs out, but that was going to be a back-breaking job, so I suggested cutting the shrubs way back. I told her it may look a little ugly at first, but it would send out beautiful new growth quickly and she could keep it trimmed down low from now on.

We went to work cutting off big limbs and branches. For the passer-by, it probably looked like we were killing these beautiful shrubs. It took a lot of whacking, cutting and sweating to do away with years of growth. The pile of bulky branches covered in lush green leaves grew higher and wider while the row of cut down stubs grew smaller, and revealed a wonderful view from the bench on the front porch. There were already enough green leaves sprouting out of the short stubs to make it appear alive and growing. It will give a much more welcome entrance to their home. They can now use their front walkway and see the front of their house! What a transformation that came out of all that cutting!

Father, I think of all the times in my life that I have felt like I had finally grown to fulfill my purpose. My life seemed like it was set and doing well, when You come along and do some heavy-duty cutting away of what might appear to be healthy growth. Maybe You have a new purpose for me. Perhaps You are preparing to transplant me to a new place. You know that as long as I am rooted in You I live and thrive no matter how much pruning You allow me to go through. The branches that are cut away may look good for a while but without roots, they will wither up and die.
Lord, as Long as I stay rooted in You, Your Spirit flows in and through me causing life and new growth to come out of me. No matter how hard I try, I can never produce that life on my own. I might as well be like those big branches of lush growth we cut off. They may look good for a little while, but they will wither up without roots. Lord, I come to You—putting my roots down deep into You. Let me soak up Your Life-giving Spirit so You can produce new life in me and fulfill whatever purpose You have for me.

 

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Jesus tells us in John 15:1-6: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers…”

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I rooted in You, letting Your Life and love flow through me?

photo by my brother Rodd Moesel

Heavenly Father,
As I sit outside in Your glorious world that You created for us, my soul knows You are with me. I long to sing of Your beauty and majesty but my voice is so inadequate. Yet my spirit intermingles with Yours and love spills out and lifts me to You. Words are often how I best express my heart yet words are too small…yet Your Word is in me, around me and flows through me. I long to say I love You in a way that truly communicates what cannot be put into a single phrase…so I am quiet and realize that You sent Your Word of love through Jesus. There is, was and never will be a better expression of love!

You sent Jesus to be Your presence with us-even though we are sinners. He lived as one of us yet He is the Messiah which literally means “God with us!” He lived in this sinful world among a sinful rebellious people yet He was without sin so He could die to pay for our sin—to make us holy—to free us from the horrible separation from You. He rose again and conquered death so we could live with you now and forever. This eternal life, this joy of intermingling with Your Spirit, this knowledge of Your Holy presence starts when we accept the lavish gift You have given us through Jesus Christ.

Far too often, I get too caught up in this world and take my eyes off You. But oh!! When I am still and search for You and Your presence, I find that You are faithful to me. You are always right here with me, longing for me to know the joy of Your presence which never leaves me or forsakes me. Father, let me always run to You, stay with You, be with You, savor Your majesty and the miraculous way You love us back to You. As much as Your presence means to me personally, I know You offer Yourself to be present with every single person. How I pray we each accept what You’ve given us through Jesus…and we praise You in Your presence now and forever!

 

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“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we obey His commands and do what pleases Him. And this is His command to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us. Those who obey His commands live in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He lives in us: we now it by the Spirit He gave us.” 1 John 3:18-24

 

“You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.” Acts 2:28. Psalm 16:11

 

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:23

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die in my place so I can live unseparated forever with You…

Heavenly Father,
Yesterday’s sermon took me right back to something that happened in my early twenties. I was a young married mom, facing several extremely hard difficulties. They just kept coming and I thought I was the only one in the world who had to face so many challenges. So I went looking for my dad. I could usually find him watering in one of the family’s commercial greenhouses. I followed the water hose in one of the growing greenhouses where the public didn’t go. I was glad to find him so I could pour out all my troubles to him. He patiently listened and then told me to go home and read the book of James in the Bible. So I did. Almost the very first sentence said, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” There was much more, but that made me mad so I stopped reading (at least for a while!)…

Since that time, I have faced many more trials (many which were even harder than what I was facing at that time). I have indeed learned much from each and every trial. My faith in You has grown stronger. You were already faithful—it just took me going through those challenges to realize just how wonderful You are, Lord. Now, I can understand. I really can consider it pure joy when I face trials—because You are up to something good! Each test has brought me closer to You! There is no greater joy!

Lately, some of my adult children and different friends have been facing some hard trials. I can even consider that joy because I know You are using those tests to help them see their deep need for You. Out of the pain will come eternal gain which can come no other way. From their weakness, You can give them Your strength. Most of the time I remember it is not my place to fix their challenges or take it away because their greatest growth will come from these trials. I can stand by them, listen to them, pray for them and lift them into Your faithful care. I can encourage them to turn to You in their trials. You know what is needed in their lives and what is required to eternally bless others through them.
Father, I pray for each and every person who happens to be reading this prayer to consider it pure joy when they face the trials they are going through. You are up to something good! Help them persevere in You!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

 

“Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

 

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter4:12-13

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, let me tell You of my troubles and then trust You with joy with what is coming!