Whose plan is it?

September 9, 2018 at 7:31 pm | Posted in God is Enough, Relationships, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Ahaz was one of the worst kings of Judah. “. . .Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God.  He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites.”  2 Kings 16:2b-3.

Two kings, Rezin, king of Syria and Pekah, king of Israel got together and planned to overtake Ahaz.  When Ahaz heard this he was terrified.  God sent Isaiah to “Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid.  Do not lose heart because of these two smoldering stubs of firewood – because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.”  Isaiah 7:4.

The Lord also “. . .spoke to Ahaz, ‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.’ But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.’” Isaiah 7:10b-12.  Here the Lord himself asked Ahaz to ask him for a sign.  Ahaz’s response at first sounds appropriate, righteous.  But he was not righteous, he really didn’t want to hear what the Lord had to say or his plan.  He had his own plan.

“Ahaz sent messengers to say to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. ‘I am your servant and vassal.  Come up and save me out of the hand of the king of Aram and of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.’ And Ahaz took the silver and gold found in the temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the royal palace and sent it as a gift to the king of Assyria.  The king of Assyria complied by attacking Damascus and capturing it.  He deported its inhabitants to Kir and put Rezin to death.”  2 Kings 16:7-9.  Ahaz was successful with his plan.  However, this relationship with the Assyrians caused issues later.

“God, doesn’t need to be bothered with this, it is just a small thing.”  “This is what he gave me a brain for to figure it out myself.”  “I am not worthy of asking for his help.”  “He is too busy with more important things/people.”  “God has enough issues to deal with to deal with mine.”  What excuses are we using by not accepting God’s help, when his hand is open to us?  What plans/arrangements do we make without consulting God?  How eager are we to run to him in times of crisis instead of to other people?

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

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I am with you

August 25, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Change, God is Enough, Health | 1 Comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“This is going to hurt.  I am so sorry, I know that hurt.  This spot is really going to hurt.  Bless you!  Thank you for your patience.  Here comes another spot that will hurt, but you can bear it.  Thank you for being still.  I am so sorry, this hurt, it will get better.  You are doing great.  One last pinch.”

As the dentist stuck his needle in my gums he gently reassured me it will be ok, as I wanted to leap out of the chair from the punctures in my gums and under my dead tooth.  It was my first and hopefully my last root canal.  Once the gums were numb, I felt nothing during the procedure of cleaning out the infected mess in my tooth.  Before he started the numbing process this dentist prayed over me for peace and blessing through the procedure.

I found it fascinating and wished they had used a mirror, so I could see what the tooth looked like as they cleaned it out.  They did show me with a mirror what my tooth looked like as they were preparing to clean it out.  That tooth was enclosed in a medal piece and then surrounded by fabric to cover up the rest of the mouth so only that tooth was visible, like they do in any surgery – only the operation spot is in view the rest of the body is covered.  Amazing!  I love watching real life surgeries.  During the root canal, the doctor spoke kindly to me about what he was doing, what sounds would be heard, what pressure would be felt and would periodically say something like, “Thank you for not moving, you are doing great, bless you, etc.”  I thought, I am doing nothing but laying here with my mouth locked open, breathing and swallowing.  His encouragements kept me calm in spite of what he was doing to my tooth.

God is just like this dentist.  He gently reassures us he is there when life is not as we would prefer.  He encourages, reveals and coaches us through the drama of our reality.  He is always by our side even when we think he is not there.  Nothing in our life can occur without his permission.  If it is happening, he has a plan and will get us through; we are stronger and more mature on the other side.

In order to be healed, sometimes we have to go through pain to be numbed like the dentist did.  When the dentist deadened my gums, I felt nothing; I was grateful.  If no pain with needles had occurred, I would have been in unbearable pain from the procedure.  So, in life pain maybe be needed to prepare us for something far worse yet is bearable because of the pain that came first. God is there every step of the way guiding us through with love.

Who do we run to when the pain comes?  Do we look upwards to God, give it to him, praise him, thank him and allow him to walk us through it?  Or do we complain, protest and rely on ourselves to figure it out? Yes, we must tell him how we feel, that we don’t like this road he is leading us down; but at the same time say, I am yours lead me where you will have me to go.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20.

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

Teachable

August 19, 2018 at 7:55 am | Posted in God is Enough, God's Word | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“Great things he has taught us, great things he hath done,

And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;

But purer, and higher, and greater will be

Our Wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.”

— Fanny J. Crosby “To God Be the Glory”

Facebook is filled with pictures of smiling children jumping on yellow buses, carrying backpacks, walking on streets as they begin a new school year.  They are ready for the new adventure ahead with shiny new shoes and crisp new clothing.  A world of knowledge is coming their way and they are eager run to it after a Summer break.

Vacations remove us from the daily grind of living.  Vacations revitalize, encourages, relaxes, lifts our spirits, gives us hope, relieves us.  Sometimes vacations are so good, we don’t want to return to our regular routine; we want to live on vacation mode forever, free from the stress of every day doings and drama; free from living God’s way.

God is wherever we are; we can’t run or hide from him.  He knows all; he gives us his best and provides even we don’t know we need.  He leads, teaches, loves, protects and provides challenges that include victory.  He nourishes and sanctifies.  His Word is available for us to feast on “for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 16b -17.

While on vacation, do we leave God behind and do whatever we want?  Do we stay close to him in his Word, prayer and in our behavior?  In our daily life do we stay in vacation mode instead of dealing with what God needs us to endure and learn?   Do we stand daily with smiles on our faces, backpacks on our backs eager to be molded by God?

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Matthew 11:29

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

Junk Mail

August 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm | Posted in God's Word | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Well over half of the mail we receive daily is junk mail.  Credit card offers, loan offers, refinancing offers, free offers that aren’t really free, donation solicitations, advertisements and so on.  The rest is window envelopes with bills.  Every now and then a personal card or letter from someone we know comes in.  With e-mail letter writing is a rarity.

Back in the day junk mail hit the trash in seconds.  Now it must be shredded before it hits the trash to prevent identity theft.  Most of that kind of theft is done electronically now, but we can’t take the chance.  Some of the mail is suspicious – offers too good to be true – just call this number and the world is yours!  Obviously enough people bite, otherwise they wouldn’t come in snail mail or e-mail.  Lots of money is spent to post mail and to deliver it; yet it is not all true.

Thank goodness we can open our bibles every day and know that what we read is always true, always corrective, always loving, always safe, always encouraging, always applicable.  God has no motive to steal our identity and use it for personal gain.  He wants to give us His identity for an eternity.  He gave us his book for his good will to happen through us for Him, for others, for ourselves.  No matter whether it is bound in leather, pleather or electronics it is good for our heart, soul and mind.  We can digest it and not worry about negative consequences.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”  Psalm 19:7-11.

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

Wiped away

August 3, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Convenient Distraction, Forgiveness | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

I saw him as I passed the tractor-trailer truck.  He sat in the medium, watching, waiting.  I slowed down, but it wasn’t enough.  He had me!

“Mam, you need to slow down.  You know it is a 65-mile zone?”  He showed me his speed device.  “I clocked you at 80.”

“I thought it was a 70-mile zone.”  I saw a sign a few miles back that confirmed what I said.  Apparently, I missed when it changed.

He laughed, “Even at 70, you were going too fast. License and insurance please.”  The State Trooper was friendly.  He looked and sounded so much like a guy from my church.  I wondered if they were related.  I didn’t ask.

After he gave me the ticket he asked, “Are you really a marathoner?” He noticed the 26.2 on the rear of my car.

“Yes.”  I answered.  “I walk them.”

“Wow!  That’s a feat.”  He, my dad and I chit chatted.  Soon we were on our way.

My dad had to tell me the ticket was for $130.00 since I was driving.

No!  No!  No!  That was going to be a huge junk out of my pension check.  August was going to be an extremely short month.

Rarely do I get a speeding ticket.  Whatever the speed is I drive no more than five miles above the limit.  I was told you can go nine miles and be safe.  However, once you are ten miles or more over you are done. Nine miles sound too risky to me.  An officer told me something similar that they do allow a certain amount over.  In any case, any amount over is still breaking the law and subject to getting a ticket.

Driving on the highway long distances, I normally use cruise control.  For some reason, I got distracted and forgot to use cruise control.  It is so easy to find myself at a higher speed than I prefer when not in cruise control. Passing traffic makes it worst because I want to get pass them as soon as possible and get back in the right-hand lane.  I got caught in that passing mode.

The rest of the trip I drove on cruise control.  That was so relaxing.  Not a care in the world about how fast I was going.  I merely had to pay attention to when the traffic slowed down and adjust my speed for the slowing traffic.  I passed another State Trooper in cruise control at five miles over.  I was tempted to drop the five miles, but decided to see what would happen; he didn’t come out.  This reminded me of being in God’s Word every day.  When walking closely with God, there is confidence of walking in the light.  There are those times when adjustments must be made due to deeper convictions, but generally the confidence of walking godly is there.  If not in his Word every day, we have no idea where we are in our relationship with Him and usually life doesn’t go well.

As we were approaching home, my dad said, “I will pay your speeding ticket.”

“What? Why? I was wrong.”

“Just because.”

Wow!  This reminds me of how God wiped away my sin, simply because he loved me.

“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.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’”  Acts 2:38-39.

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

Cruise home

July 27, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Death, Emotion, Family, God is Enough | 2 Comments

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

To come home to a quiet house after a hard day, is a delightful rest time and transition into being home.  To come home to a quiet house after a hard day, knowing that it always will be quiet because no one else is coming home is a nightmare.

I envision that will be part of Tia Coleman’s grieving process.  To lose your husband, three children ages 9, 7 and 1, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew and uncle in one day in a duck boat capsizing and return home is not be fun.  Today, she buries her husband and all three of her children.  Tomorrow the remaining family members are buried.

Tia and her 13-year old nephew were the only survivors of the family. Eight people from other families died in that same tragedy.  One 14-year old girl, lost her dad and brother.  Family lives have been changed forever.

Thank goodness it seems that Tia has a strong family and church support as she walks this long journey she didn’t plan to take.  Thank goodness she has the Lord to walk this journey with.

How are we living our lives now?  When we go to bed every night, can we say everyone we have relationships with such as family, friends, coworkers and whoever else, we are in perfect harmony with them?  There is no bitterness.  There is no lack of forgiveness.  There is no malice.  There is no slander or gossip.  If they closed their eyes tonight or we close our eyes tonight, will it be right with our soul, if their eyes or our eyes never open again?

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, 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. . .”  I Corinthians 13:4-8a.

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Got Spirit?

July 21, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Holy Spirit, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

Jesus came to earth as a babe, lived 33 some years, died on a cross, rose again to be with our Father in heaven.  He didn’t leave us alone.  He left the Holy Spirit to dwell in his people.

With the Holy Spirit in us we can endure the challenges of daily life and be at peace.  With the Holy Spirit we can understand what God’s will is for us.  With the Holy Spirit we can have power and be witnesses of God’s glory.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27.  There are those times we need the Holy Spirit to speak for us, because all we can do is fall on our knees and cry.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”  Galatians 5:22-23.  Only through the Holy Spirit can we be the godly people created us to be.  We can’t do it on our own, the Holy Spirit is there to guide, teach and direct us in the way we should go.

How often do we listen to the Holy Spirit, who is Jesus and God within us?  How often do we disregard what we hear?  What is the Holy Spirit telling us today, this moment, that we need to heed before it is too late?

The Holy Spirit power – can’t live without Him!

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Gotta do it!

July 14, 2018 at 5:51 am | Posted in Forgiveness, Relationships, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“He hurt me bad!  I will NEVER forget or forgive him!”

Rejected, humiliated, lies, abused, deceived, slandered, abandoned, replaced, divorced, cheated and more will happen to us.  If we have breath in our bodies someone is going to hurt us.  It can’t be avoided.  There is nothing we can do to prevent hurt from another from happening.

Our responsibility is how we respond when it happens.  When it happens we must admit the hurt.  God gives us emotions to express our hurt, our anger, disappointment, shock, fear, rage etc. Once that is out, then the process of forgiveness must happen.  Forgiveness is not an option.  Forgiveness is not putting the hurt away in our minds and hoping it will go away.  Putting it away means it will resurface repeatedly years later.  It means when it resurfaces it will feel like going through that situation anew.  It must be dealt with.  The process will not happen overnight.  Forgiveness can not happen alone.  No one can forgive by themselves.  It is too hard to do alone.  Only through God are we able to do the impossible.  To forgive we must WANT to forgive.  We must WANT God to help us to forgive.  Until we WANT to forgive, it will not happen.  Saying we forgive and thinking we want to forgive is not enough.  Deep in our hearts we must be willing to forgive our pain inflicter, no matter how bad they turned our world upside down.

The consequences of unforgiveness is grave.  To forgive so we can be forgiven is not enough. The bible tells us “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37. If we forgive so that we can be forgiven, is that true forgiveness?  True forgiveness results in our remaining forgiven.  When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior our sins were washed away in baptism and he remember them no more. “. . .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. When we choose to not forgive, we take Jesus’ gift and throw it back at him.  “I don’t want your gift. I refuse to forgive; therefore, I don’t want your forgiveness.”  That is what we are really doing not accepting his forgiveness by not forgiving.

Instead we accept our own unforgiveness by not forgiving.  Unforgiveness is obvious – loneliness, physical illnesses, anger, frustration, lack of peace, stress, depression, vengeance, slander, gossip about the wrong doer, negative thinking about them, lack of prayer, not reading our bibles, and a list of other things that we do or torment us.  WE are the ones tormented – not the one who wronged us.  We wallow in our misery and refuse to allow God to pull us out.  We’d rather suffer than be at peace.

It takes work to be unforgiving.  It takes work to forgive.  If we must work, let’s forgive instead and remain forgiven.

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:27-31.

 “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:17-21.

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

Confidence in Action

July 8, 2018 at 9:29 pm | Posted in Reputation, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:” I John 3:19

How is our hearts set at rest?  How are we at peace with God in our lives in spite of whatever is going on?

“If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God”   I John 3:20-21.

How are we allowing guilt to plague our minds?  God is bigger than whatever we have done.  He is there to forgive and cleanse us of our wretchedness.  But do we continue to hang on to guilt even though Jesus died on the cross for us?  How are we allowing unconfessed sin to keep us down instead of allowing God to lift us up?  How confident are we before God?

and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.”  I John 3:22.

What benefits have we asked for and received because of our obedience to his commands and please him?  What benefits have others received because of our obedience?  Anything we do, say or don’t do or say affects others positively or negatively.

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.”  I John 3: 23.

How are we loving others as he commanded us to?  If we are not loving others even when they don’t love us is he really our God?

“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” I John 3:24.

Are we truly believing in the name of the Son?  Our actions, lack of actions, make it clear if we truly believe in the name of the Son.  We are different from how the world lives.  How obvious is it that Jesus is our Lord and that he lives in us?

(NIV)

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

Heat Wave

June 30, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Posted in God is Enough, Health, Spiritual Battle | Leave a comment

By Juel A. Fitzgerald

That slight tightness in my fingers said, “it is time to drink water.” A jug a lug of water soon removes that tightness and life moves on.  If left unanswered fingers swell to a point that causes rings to cut into fingers and pain.

Exercising, walking, running, just being outside in the heat for extended periods cries for a higher water consumption than normal.  Water is an important source of life and health for the body.  Swelling hands in the heat is not an option – it’s the first sign of dehydration or excessive water consumption.  Generally, not enough water is consumed.  Waiting until thirst comes is too late.  Not enough water makes the body retain the little water that it is getting, thus the swelling.  For every 15 to 20 minutes water needs to be sucked in if doing a physical activity in the heat.  Walking in the heat for long distances for me means drinking every mile, no matter what.  When I forget because I am chatting with a friend, my fingers send that tight “I am about to swell” sign, water relieves it immediately.  Exposure to heat for a long time without water is no joke, the body slowly breaks down and death is imminent.

Television, social media, radio, peer pressure, bill boards, and smart phones send out waves of messages that trigger emotions of a various kinds – desire, envy, anger, hatred, anxiety, happiness, hope and more negative and positive thought waves.  Every moment their messages are transmitted through the airwaves.  The messages are numerous and influential.  Then there is that tightness in the mind and heart when the heat of too many messages assault our bodies.  What is true?  What/who should be followed?  How should I feel about this?  What is happening?  Why is this happening?  What can I do about this?  Who can I turn to?

When the pages of God’s Word are opened, an important source of life and health for the body occurs.  His Words, the Holy Spirit and prayer guides through the false and reveals the truth.  That tightness is removed, and life moves on.  Exposure to the heat of the world for a long time without God’s presence is no joke, the body slowly breaks down and death is imminent.

How are we allowing life on this planet to swell us up mentally, physically and emotionally?

“Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.”  Jeremiah 17:13.

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©2018 Juel A. Fitzgerald.  You may send this entire devotional to whoever you chose with this copyright line.  Feel free to read any devotionals at http://www.heartemissions.wordpress.com, leave messages or subscribe to receive future postings in your e-mail.

 

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