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.

 

*******

“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,

My friends who are missionaries in Cameroon (Africa) are so torn. They are safe back here in the states but their hearts are still with their beloved people who are being killed in a bloody civil war. They had to come back with their young children but have been keeping in close contact with their fellow believers who are trapped in the middle of this war. It has affected the children in their home town in Cameroon being able to go to the school they founded, the families’ and teachers’ safety. Since they are back here in the states, it is so hard on them to hear of the escalation there in Cameroon. Today they found out a young missionary dad was killed in the crossfire.  He was “killed in action”—on the front line for You. He was father to eight young children and their family had only been there one month.

Father, I know from reading Your word that there is a special place for those who lose their lives for Your sake. I know this dad is safe with You. Will You comfort and protect his family. Will You rally the believers there as they see this man’s and their family’s sacrifice? Will You comfort and strengthen this young widow and her children with the truth that You are with them and will never ever leave them (even though their earthly protector had to leave them). Your ways are so high above our ways, Lord. It is happening now around the world. I have no doubt that Your plans will prevail. I know that this dad is experiencing victory now. I know that You will lead his wife and children to victory. I know You are at work in Cameroon and other places—no matter how things look to us.

I think of all our missionary friends and relatives around the world who stepped out in faith to give up the comfortable lives they could have had here in America to go out on the often lonely battlefield. Yet I also know You have called each of us who have surrendered our lives to You, to be willing to give up our own lives—no matter where we live. That looks different to different followers. These children and wife who lost their dad and husband have had to give up their security in him and will need to trust more fully in You. My friends who came back from Cameroon had to leave the field when they didn’t want to, yet they are ready for action wherever You lead. Some other friends of ours are presently in a whole different culture and have had to give up comforts and conveniences found here to live among a lost people. Our brother and his wife have left all their family to reach a difficult people in another land. Father, all I know is that I hope and pray that whenever and however my time comes to go Home with You, I will be found doing what You want me to be doing. Let me be found “in action for You” when You come to take me home.

 

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“This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”   1 John 3:16

 

“”Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”  Matthew 25:13

 

“So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”  Matthew 24:44

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, am I truly ready? Am I in action? …

 

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes I look at my schedule that seems to fill up rather quickly; I am tempted to feel overwhelmed. How in the world can I possibly manage my time to accomplish what I think needs to be accomplished (or sometimes what other people think I need to get done)? Then I recall that it is You who makes all things work in their proper time. You give each and every one of us the same 24 hours in a day. You also give each one of us different gifts and talents to use in those 24 hours. You designed each of us in such unique ways that we will use those 24 hours completely different than anyone else. You also give us free choice in how to spend those 24 hours.

There are a few things I have learned about time management:

*Lord, You manage time much better than I do! That’s why I try to offer my time up to You first (before I spend it all on my foolish ways).

*The world was spinning before I was born, is now and will be after I leave it without my help. Time goes on with and without me. It doesn’t depend on me…but it does indeed depend on You!

*Time is so very short. We never know when our time on earth is up so help me live each day ready to go. Let my daily words and actions be eternally encouraging in case they are the last memory others have of me.

*Eternity will not be prisoner to time. We will live in Your presence unhampered by the silly need to cram as much as we can into a day.

Even now, as I come to You in prayer, time falls away in Your presence. All those things on my list and calendar no longer rule me. All that matters is You love me and I love You…and You want me to invest my day into loving others in Jesus’ name. As I make out my little list to manage my time, will You show me what I need to do today? Let me hold my schedule loosely so I am open to all the surprises You bring about today. Let me invest this 24 hours into loving You and those You place in my path. Love is the best investment. It transcends time. Your love is eternal. Love is the best way to manage my time.

 

******

“Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you.”  Hosea 10:12

“Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know what the proper time and procedure.”   Ecclesiastes 8:5

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:9-10

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how to manage my time today…

Gracious Heavenly Father,

A great deal of my life, I spent my time and energy on completing the latest project. Give me a job and I will get it done. Part of it must be in my DNA from my hard-working parents; part of it was daily training because there was always so much work in the three acres of greenhouse and nursery I grew up in. There is a nice feeling of satisfaction to see a project from vision, plans on paper and then all the way to completion. I lived long enough now to see a lot of those “projects” I invested in are no longer there: I had to move away from landscapes I created; fire destroyed home decorating; writing projects never got published; amazing programs created with great intentions are no longer active; jobs I enjoyed have fallen by the wayside…If that’s all I invested my life in, I would be wondering what true purpose my life had.

But… I discovered the things that last forever! I found my true purpose and joy in life in You, Lord! The joy of getting to know You better each day; the wonder of finding more reasons to love You; the truth that this whole life is from You, for You and about You; the new truths You reveal as I continually seek You every day; the mystery of how You can love me with all Your majestic power and might when I am so small and weak; the thought of how You know everything about me and yet You still love me enough to sacrifice Your Son Jesus so I can live for all eternity with You! You love me with an unimaginable love that makes me want to love you back. Loving, worshipping and serving You are what truly makes this life meaningful. Nothing (not even death) can take that away!

You didn’t stop with just loving me, and waiting for me to love You back—You surround me with people that You want me to love. They are not projects—but people! What a joy is found in loving all those You place in my life—for once-in-a-lifetime meetings and life-long relationships; those who are easy to love and those who make it hard; tiny newborn babies to teens finding their way to adults older than me; next-door neighbors and cross-continent-and-seas neighbors; believers and non-believers; those who agree with me and those who do not; from my wonderful family, friends, in-laws and outlaws. Lord, my life is rich with eternal meaning- from loving You and others. That’s not a project but my very purpose!

 

****

 

(When asked what the greatest commandment was), “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.’ All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40

“Fear God and keep His commandments. For this is the whole duty of man.”  Ecclesiastes 12:13b

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:1-5 (read verses 6-11 to see the attitude of Christ)

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, search me and see if I am living my purpose…

Heavenly Father,

If you ask a child or teen what they want to be when they grow up, I don’t believe there is anyone who would say, “I really want to be a servant!” We are taught to have “higher aspirations.” My husband is reading an intense series of historical books on the American civil war right now. Thousands of people were killed over the issue of slavery. That wasn’t that long ago in history that a whole people group was kidnapped and sold as slaves against their will. There are numerous historical accounts of groups held as slaves against their will including those listed in the greatest most accurate history book ever—the Bible. There are many forms of slavery today around the world—including those sold into the sex trade.

The older I get, and the longer I walk with You, Lord…I am finding I truly want to be Your servant. You have been showing me what it means to be Your bond servant. I have been freed from the slavery of sin through the sacrifice of Your Son’s innocent blood. Sin held me captive, but through Jesus Christ I am FREE indeed! Now I find myself wanting to freely offer my life to serve You. As I understand the earthly meaning of a bondservant, it is when someone has a debt they cannot pay and offer themselves freely to be at the beck and call of the one who they owe. I certainly can never pay the debt I owe to You for saving me through Jesus, for creating me, for giving me eternal life with You, for never leaving me or forsaking me, for giving me breath, rest, strength, peace, joy, love and a beautiful world in which to live until I am home with You.

I believe in Your divine purpose for me and for others. I trust in Your plans and perfect will. I have no doubt that Your motives are pure and holy just as You are. I believe in Your kingdom and am honored to be a part of it. I want to offer my life to be used for Your glory and to enlarge Your eternal kingdom. You ways are so far above my ways that I humbly bow before You , ready to go where You want, say what You want me to say, do what You would have me do, and be who You designed me to be. I know I cannot do this on my own. I’m fully aware I need Your help. You are not only my Master—You are my Savior, my Counselor, my Life, my Love, my Purpose, my Best Friend, my Strength, my Peace, my all-in-all.  I stand ready to serve You. There is no greater joy than getting to share in Your joy as You send me to do Your bidding.

*****

 

“His master replied, ‘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 your master’s happiness!’”   Matthew 25:21

 

Jesus said in Mark 10:43-45: “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

 

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:5-8

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Heavenly Father, who is my master?…

Heavenly Father,

For many years I have had Grandkids’ Night where all our grandkids come to our house for the evening and spend the night. Now that we have 16 grandkids and 2 great grandkids, I decided to have a Grandkids camp which lasted 3 days (but I was smart enough to make it a day camp and not all night!) It is very important to me to have an eternal influence on our grandchildren and to lead them to You. As I try to teach, I always learn so much more myself! These are some of the things I learned at Grandkids Camp this year:

  • To always ask You to lead, no matter what! And to watch for Your leading and to follow it! What an adventure to follow Your lead—even when it involves a herd of crazy kids and one crazy Mamaw!
  • To be gentle yet firm—like You are. All your children need both parts of love.
  • To be aware of divine moments that can come in the most amazing forms- like an older grandchild leading the younger ones with supernatural kindness; like a crying “meltdown” that turns into a precious unconditional loving moment; like cousins who were arguing one moment take hands and enjoy one another deeply the next; like one young person who has struggled with anxiety share deep compassion and advise that worked for him to a younger cousin; seeing cousins cheer one another on in a talent show; watching a grandchild see me overwhelmed and stepping in to help without being asked (when I thought I looked like I was handling it fairly well but was so grateful for the help!)…
  • Sharing and respect happen when they are expected.
  • The older generation can still share so much with the younger (thanks for my mom and mom-in-law willing who shared important parts in this camp!…and also some older cousins and aunts and uncle who took turns making these young people feel loved!)
  • Everyone is part of the family despite bouts of yelling, tattling, whining, potty words, hitting, emotions…kids learn to love one another in spite of irritations. Love really covers a multitude of sins!
  • Forgiveness can be taught and learned.
  • Kids can work out their disagreements when they are given a few ideas to solve. Flipping a coin and “Rock, Paper, Scissors” still work! So does one person saying “You go first!”
  • Sometimes kids listen better to kids. I witnessed some true Christian leadership from young people!
  • Children still teach me to enjoy the moment…like getting squirted with water, looking for treasures by the lake, playing with imagination (I just can’t seem to learn video games!)
  • They can also teach me to pray to You from the heart

 

Father, learning can be exhausting! Now that Grandkids’ Camp is over, I believe each child and their grandmother is happy but tired from learning! But my heart is overjoyed by the sweet blessing of every single grandchild (including those who have grown up and a couple who couldn’t come!) I’m also thankful their parents got a little break and I am reminded how much parents need prayer in their critical exhausting everyday role!

 

*****

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”   Deuteronomy 4:9

“Fix these words of Mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

“I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old—what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done.”  Psalm 78:2-4

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, who can I tell of Your wonderful deeds (especially the mercy and salvation of Jesus)?

Heavenly Father,

There is a strange mixture of overwhelming sadness and joy when I hear of a death of someone I know. This week the family-owned company my husband works for has been rocked by the death of two of its own. The president of this company leaves behind a young wife with little children, as well as his parents who have spent their whole lives working there. Another company member just watched her husband of twenty-two years die this afternoon. We have celebrated holidays, had company picnics and other functions together. We went to church with some of them. We are family. We have watched both men suffer and are so glad to have them finally free from pain and whole and healed in Your presence, Lord! We can indeed celebrate that!

Yet our excitement over their new lives is dimmed in the light of the pain we feel for those who are left behind to face life without them. I know You know the strange mixture of pain and joy. Even though Jesus knew He would raise his good friend Lazarus from the dead, He wept at the pain of those left grieving. How I wish I could take that all-too familiar pain away for the wives, their children and parents. I can’t. It is something they have to go through because they love. Never in history has there ever been another relationship exactly like theirs. Unique memories will rise up to honor and celebrate their special relationship.

To take away their pain would mean taking away the richness of their relationship. How I thank You for those deep lasting relationships that will span all eternity- that will pick up stronger and more complete than ever when we join them in Your home, Father. I might not be able to take away their pain, but I can weep with them, and listen as they recall special memories that become an even deeper part of their soul. I can be gentle with them as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death and come out stronger on the other side. Lord, most of all- I thank You that You will never leave them or forsake them. Nothing can separate them from Your love.  Father, I will continue praying for them during this difficult yet necessary time. Most of all, thank You that death is not the end but a new beginning!

*****

 

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. ‘Where have you laid him?’ He asked. ‘Come and see, Lord,’ they replied. Jesus wept.”  John 11:33-35

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me…” Psalm 23:4

“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His Holy dwelling.”  Psalm 68:5

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, who can I pray for who has lost someone to death?

Heavenly Father,

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. It can be a very sweet occasion or very sad- depending on if one feels loved or not. Or if one is separated from the one they love. There are semblances of love everywhere—heart decorations, flowers be delivered, candy of all kinds, cards with lovely words, romantic dinners…There is a lot of pressure to give and receive some type of symbol of love on this particular day. When we don’t, the world can make us feel unloved or guilty that we didn’t deliver as expected.

Your love goes so far beyond all that, Lord. Love does not depend on a box of chocolates or even a kiss to be expressed. Love goes far above that. You have loved us since before we were ever thought of. In fact, You were the first One to think of us. You knit us together in our mothers’ wombs. You loved us when we were the most unlovable- when we were ugly to You, when we rebelled against You, when we were so caught up in ourselves that we failed to even look at You or acknowledge You, when we demand our own way. You love us with an everlasting love that serves us day and night. You are always waiting on us to turn to You and call Your name. You surround us with gifts of beauty and grace, hoping we will feel lavished in Your love. But we have our eyes on paper cards and cheap chocolate.

Father, help open my eyes to Your love that is so deep I will be forever discovering more of it! Your love is sacrificial, serving, unselfish, eternal, never-ending, indescribable, trustworthy, faithful, pure and holy. It is not dependent on how I act and think or on what I do. Yet the more I know Your love, the more I long to love You back. And the more I love You—the more I can truly love others no matter how they act or what they say or do.  Yes, love is in the air because You are love. Your love is the greatest gift to ever be given or received. I want to pass it on so I can have more!

******

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13

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

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  1 John 3:1

*****

Prayer Prompt-

Most loving Father, I want the love You give me through Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Father,
Two new books I wrote are now released. It is my deepest desire to kick them off with prayer—both mine and hopefully others. My Forever Memories of You has been in the making for twenty years…ever since my first husband died at the age of thirty-seven, leaving me with our four children to raise. Perhaps, these books were actually in the making longer than that—for You, Lord Almighty, knew me, my husband and my children each before we were born. You already knew the wondrous plans You had for us. Your story is written in our lives and not just on paper.
The story of the adult version intertwines three remarkable relationships. One is the amazing story of my relationship with Steve, as I review our lives together after his passing. It is told mostly through excerpts from my personal prayer journal as I worked through my grief. Another story is the one the reader tells as they write their story of their unique relationship with the loved one they are grieving. They tell their story in journal pages and prompts in between mine. It helps them review, come to peace with, and realize how grateful they are for their amazing relationship no matter how long or short it might have been. The third relationship grows in depth and love as we both discover how You never ever leave us; that You walk with us through pain and joy; that You desire an eternal love relationship with us through Jesus Christ. It is Your everlasting love story for us that ties everything together.
Father, I lift both the adult and children’s version before You- asking that You use them in more miraculous ways than I even know to ask. May You use them to bring the deep comfort and peace to those who are brokenhearted. May You use them to draw the hopeless to You at such a critical crossroad in their life. May You use them to fill the deep void in broken lives with the overflowing fullness of Jesus Christ. May You use them to show Your love to adults and children who are grieving the loss of someone so very precious to them. May You even use them to bless those who read it out of curiosity just because they know me and want to hear our story, or want to support the ministry to the grieving. May these books be more than pages of words—but be about loving relationship. May whoever reads them, writes in them or gives them to someone who is grieving be blessed by a deeper relationship with You. How I praise You that You are still writing stories in each of our lives with the blood of Jesus and they are all gathered up in the Book of Life!
******
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
“I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of the God gives it light, and the Lamb its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Revelation 21:22-27
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Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I pray for these books to…


Heavenly Father,
I got a late night phone call from my son who just adopted three children all at one time. We chatted for a bit, then he said with a very sincere voice, “I need to apologize.” Caught off guard, I asked, “What for?” He told me he wanted to say he was sorry for all the grief he caused me when he was young. I started laughing, saying I didn’t think I would get this phone call until the teen years! He and his lovely wife had just got home from what must have been a wild grocery store trip with the kids. I know what he’s talking about. You don’t realize how much your parents sacrificed until you are a parent.
I’ve often thought that’s why You let us become parents. You let us share in the joy of creating children out of love (or adopting them out of love). You created us to fall in love with them because they are part of us. Then come all the joys and trials. Then come the loud demands for what they think they can’t live without. Then come the expectations that you need to supply all their needs without one thought of a parent’s needs. Later come the panicked calls for help, just knowing everything will be dropped to rescue. Then come the ungrateful, demanding, sometimes ugly fit-throwing when they don’t get their way. At times, there are no phone calls, visits or even acknowledgement that we gave all we had for our children. It can seem like we do not even exist…but we never ever quit loving them.
How precious it is, no matter what age our child is, to get a spontaneous hug, written note, a helping hand—or to see our children loving one another and getting along instead of fighting. One precious sincere moment can make up for a lot of fits. Yes, Lord, I can see now how precious my parents have been in my life. Even more, I see how You love us through some of the ugliest times in our lives. You always see the best in us. You believe in us. Even while we were sinning, You sent Your pure Son Jesus Christ to take our punishment—so we could live with You forever and ever. Lord, I’m sorry for my un-thoughtful ungrateful attitude towards You. You have loved me far greater than I can ever repay. I choose to accept the un-repayable love You have given me through Jesus by loving You and others for all eternity.
*****
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and all the creatures who move along the ground.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’” Genesis 1:26-28
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boas, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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…When I was a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we will see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-9, 11-12
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Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I am sorry for…