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Category Archives: Psalm

My God is…Drawing me up from a desolate pit Psalm 40:1-3

Left December 2010 - Right October 2013

Left December 2010 – Right October 2013

Psalm 40:1-3 – I waited patiently for the Lord;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

I waited patiently for the Lord

Three years ago I was talking to my friend and reflexologist, Lynn, and told her that I thought 2013 was going to be a good year for me. I just had a feeling that something was going to change in 2013. I didn’t know what it was going to be, but I really felt it was going to be good and a big change. I think I thought it was going to have something to do with my blog. Would I be discovered? Would I actually work toward my goal of being an author/speaker? That wasn’t it (although there are a few months left!). I waited patiently to find out what kind of change would be coming my way.

He inclined to me and heard my cry

For most of my life I have been insecure. I have thought that I don’t quite measure up. I struggled with self-worth and still have a tendency to talk poorly about myself. I am the butt of my own jokes. I minimize my accomplishments and maximize my failures. I have always had a strong relationship with the Lord, but things have been changing for me. When we made our move to Oregon, I packed on the pounds. This was no surprise. It was a sort of cycle I had. Whenever we moved I would lose weight before the move and put it on as the stress of moving, meeting new people and such would become overwhelming. This move was different. It was the first time we were moving someplace with no end date. We didn’t know when or if we would ever move again. I think I felt settled for the first time in a long time. It didn’t happen right away, but as I gained friends and became comfortable in my surroundings, I was finally in a position to work on getting past some things I’d been holding on to for too long.

He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, 

Even now, thinking about the pain and sadness I felt almost everyday brings tears to my eyes. There were a lot of things that had to change. God led me to a counselor. She was amazing, and just what I needed. I confessed more of my life to her than I had revealed to anyone. God shed the baggage from me. God taught me to forgive fully and allow those who love me to love me without me doubting their truthfulness. God also supplied me with a doctor and we worked on balancing my hormones and getting me healthy. God gave me the opportunity to reduce my hours for work. God allowed me to connect more with my family, friends and those who needed my support.

He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.

For years (37 or so) I was not enjoying all the Lord had given me. I probably still don’t have it down totally, but God is still working me towards righteousness. So what was so big about 2013? What changed? So many things changed that led up to 2013, but in 2013. Starting in January I began the quest with my friend Carol to take care of ourselves and lose weight. I have lost almost 50 lbs (49.7 to be accurate). People ask me how, and sadly my response is a lot of exercise and Weight Watchers, but the truth is without God I could not have done it. It is all those things He changed in my heart that led up to this place. I didn’t think I could ever weigh this weight again. I don’t think I’ve been this weight since my sophomore year in college.

Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Full confession. When I was writing this blog post, most of it was full of “I” did this or “I” did that, and suddenly I realized I was not praising God. I was praising myself. The truth is I don’t believe it was me alone. I believe the Lord has been with me each and every step from counselor to weight loss. God is the source of all that is good in my life. I pray that my life does bring glory to God. That people will see the work the Lord is doing in my life. They will see the transformation and know that God is the reason and maybe, by the grace of God they will put their trust in Him. Oh that I should be so blessed as to know the Lord had used me in that way. That really does make me cry (in a good way).

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My God is…Opening the eyes of the blind Psalm 146:8

Psalm 146:8a – The Lord opens the eyes of the blind

Have you ever been blind?white-cane

I have MS, and often times people ask me if I went blind in one eye (Optic Neuritis) as one of my symptoms. I didn’t. Over 55% of people with MS experience blindness from Optic Neuritis and often as their first symptom, but I didn’t have that at all. And I’m grateful. I think not being able to see with my eyes would be a major adjustment and extremely scary.

Full Definition of BLIND

1 a (1) :  sightless (2) :  having less than 110 of normal vision in the more efficient eye when refractive defects are fully corrected by lenses
   :  of or relating to sightless persons
2 a :  unable or unwilling to discern or judge <blind to a lover’s faults>
   :  unquestioning <blind loyalty>
3 a :  having no regard to rational discrimination, guidance, or restriction <blind choice>
   :  lacking a directing or controlling consciousness <blind chance>
   :  drunk 1a
4 a :  made or done without sight of certain objects or knowledge of certain facts that could serve for guidance or cause bias <a blind taste test> — compare double-blind,single-blind
   :  having no knowledge of information that may cause bias during the course of an experiment or test <physicians blind to whether the test drug is administered>
5:  defective: as
 :  lacking a growing point or producing leaves instead of flowers
 :  lacking a complete or legible address <blind mail>
6 a :  difficult to discern, make out, or discover
   :  hidden from sight :  covered <blind seam>
7:  having but one opening or outlet <blind sockets>
8:  having no opening for light or passage :  blank <blind wall>
God opens the eyes of the blind
In the New Testament, we can find many instances where Jesus heals the blind. In those days to be blind meant you were at great risk. Everywhere you turned there were dangers. Even in your own house you would be in danger of touching an open flame. Jesus knew that being blind was an awful thing for these people. He had compassion on them and healed them. Those healed were grateful. They couldn’t help themselves from telling people they met. A lot of times the blind were also beggars at the gate of the city, so many would even recognize them and marvel at their healing.
Blind Bart
I enjoy reading about the healing of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). Bartimaeus was not going to let Jesus pass by the gate without healing him. Bartimaeus was so sure that Jesus was who He said He was, that he was positive Jesus could and would heal him. He yelled out. He made a scene. He even got scolded, the scriptures even say “sternly”. He was so persistent and unwilling to be ignored or passed by that Jesus turned and told His disciples to call Bartimaeus over. I love what happens next. Bartimaeus throws off his coat and runs to where Jesus is. He can’t wait to see Jesus. Bartimaeus asks Jesus to make him see again. Jesus says to Bartimaeus that his faith had made him well, and Bartimaeus could see. But this story doesn’t end there. There is one more line in his story. When Bartimaeus was healed, he followed Jesus.
Unable or unwilling to discern or judge
Even though the closest I have come to being blind was being blindfolded, I do understand the second definition to blind. Sometimes we’re blind to the truth. We are unable or unwilling to discern or judge what is right in a certain situation. Sometimes our stubborn is because we are unable to see (blind) to the other persons situation. Is there someone you can’t or won’t try to see their perspective. It’s hard to fight this kind of blindness. It’s hard to get past old pain. God can heal this blindness too, and then our relationships have a chance to heal (even if you’re not in them anymore).
Having no opening for light or passage
There is an even more dangerous kind of blindness. Many people are blind to the love of the Lord. They can’t or won’t receive God’s love for what it is. They can’t see the light. They won’t let in the Holy Spirit and even try hard to keep all things about God far from them. Sometimes we allow things to blind us from the relationship the Lord wants to have with us. We allow our busy lives, self-centered ways and laziness pull us away from the Lord. We know that if we are in relationship with the Lord. If we open our eyes and see Jesus, our lives will change. Change can be scary. But Bartimaeus gives us a great example of how we should respond to the opening of our eyes. We need to run to Jesus and follow Him.
Ask God to heal your blindness
 Dear Lord, Open our eyes Lord. We want to see Jesus. Help us to see Him in our lives and grow our relationship with Him. Help us to not get distracted, blinded by the insignificant things of this world that occupy our minds. Help us instead, with clear eyes, to look on you and know you as our Lord and Savior. Help us to throw off our coats and follow you. Amen
Are you blind to God?
 

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My God is…Listening Psalm 66:16

Psalm 66:16-20

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.praying
I cried aloud to him,and he was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for me.

All you who fear God, that’s an interesting caveat to put on a phrase. Why was the Psalmist wanting to talk to those who fear God, and not others? David was about to witness to them about what the Lord had done for him. That isn’t something that those who don’t trust God readily accept, encourage or understand. They see the work of the Lord’s hand as coincidence or fate. But as Christians, we are free to share, called to witness to the mighty acts of God and give Him the glory in our lives. Usually telling someone about God would come before talking about what He’s done for you. Though sometimes your story might be so compelling that it makes the perfect opportunity to start the conversation about who God is and that He came to save all who would believe in Him.

I cried aloud to him, and he was extolled with my tongue.

David cried out to God. What did he say? The second half of that sentence says he extolled God with his tongue. Do you know what extolled means (I looked it up just to be sure)? It means “to praise highly”. Here David is giving us a good example of how to pray. I know many people who say they don’t know how to pray, so here is a tip from David. Praise God for who He is. Basically that’s what I’m trying to do with this blog. I focus on one attribute of God and I praise Him for who He is. In this post it is that I have a God who listens. My prayer may start like this “Dear God, I praise you for being a God who listens, who hears me when I call.”

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

David is giving another example of what we should do in prayer, confession. When we pray, it’s important to get everything that will distract you from God out-of-the-way. Everything that is blocking your relationship with Him should be confessed (don’t worry you don’t have to list them all by name). In my prayers, the next thing I would do is say something like, “Lord, please forgive me for being self-focused and not putting you first while loving others as I love myself.” If you have specific sins you want to confess, of course the Lord wants you to bring those to Him so that He can forgive you so you no longer have to be distracted when you talk with Him. He doesn’t want you thinking about that when you and He have so much more to talk about.

But truly God has listened; he has given heed to the words of my prayer.

What a beautiful thing to be able to approach our God with our prayers. We are able to talk to the one in charge of everything. We went to Washington D.C., and when we got back the other kids asked my boys if they got to meet the president. Of course we didn’t. But we have something even better. We’re able to talk to the creator of the universe, the one who truly holds my life in His hands, our Lord and Savior. In my prayers, after I praise God and confess my sins, I talk to Him about what is on my mind. Sometimes I focus on a specific verse, but other times I just tell Him what’s troubling me or doesn’t seem to be going the way I think it should. It might sound something like this, “Lord, I’m really struggling with my relationships right now. I know that because it is in more than one relationship it likely has to do with me. Lord help me to see where I need to make changes and how I can be a blessing to those you have put in my life.”

Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me.

David has given us such a great example of prayer here, and I don’t think he’s even praying (though he may have used his poetry and songs as prayers). After praising God, Confessing my sins and making supplication (asking Him for His aid in my life or someone else’s), I try to thank God for answered prayers, blessings etc. Here David Thanks God for not rejecting his prayer and for continuing to love him no matter what David had done (and if you think your sins are bad, you should read about David in 1 and 2 Samuel). For me this part of the prayer might sound like this, “Thank you Lord for all you have done for me and my family. Thank you for providing my boys with opportunities for education and development of their faith life. Thank you for continually providing for our needs even when it seems impossible. Amen.”

God is not rejecting your prayer

Sometimes people think they’ll pray wrong. While I told you that I often like to include Praise, confession, requests and thanks, I just as often leave out parts (maybe everything but my requests). God doesn’t reject our prayers. When we come to Him trusting Him in all things, He will be listening. He will hear your prayer, and He will never remove His steadfast love for you.

 

 

 

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My God is…Cheering me up Psalm 94:18-19

Psalm 94:18-19 – When I thought, “My foot is slipping,”Jesushuggingcryinggirl
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.

I thought, “My foot is slipping”

Have you ever wondered how you ended up where you are? How could things have gotten this bad? Sinning can be a slippery slope. Sometimes one sin can lead to another which leads to another. That happens pretty regularly with lying. If you lie, you may find yourself lying over and over to cover your past lies. I’ve never been very good at lying for that very reason. It took too much work to cover each one up. I’d rather face the consequences of the first one then get tangled in the web of deceit. Our emotions can be a slippery slope too. We can start feeling bad, and then we start keeping track of all the bad that goes on in our lives. We like to compare the list with others so we can prove our day is going worse than theirs. But that slippery slope has another side. The side that goes away from sadness, away from sin. God is the way to get away from the slippery slope.

Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up

When we start to slip, or even to lean over the edge, God is there with His steadfast love to help us stand strong with Him. He can help us turn back from our sin. He can help us to come out from under our dark cloud. He can heal us from our infirmities. He can comfort us.

When the cares of my heart are many

I have a tendency to feel overwhelmed, especially emotionally. I think too much and my internal dialogue can go crazy if I’m given time to think too much. I am sure I know what everyone else is thinking, how they feel about me, how every conversation will go and whether or not it will end up poorly or well. This can lead to a lot of anxiety. I can imagine all sorts of things. Given that, social situations can become scary. I’m the same way about finances and work. If I think of something in the middle of the night, there is almost no way for me to get back to sleep. Why? Because I’m über focused on myself and my problems.

Your consolations cheer my soul
Definition of CONSOLE: to alleviate the grief, sense of loss, or trouble of : comfort

Trusting in God. Believing in His consolations. These are the things I (we) need to focus on when things start getting out of control. God is bigger than our problems, and He can find amazingly creative ways for what we’re sure will happen to change. God wants to cheer our soul. He has given us promises to look forward to, and mercies we can remember. God has the power to change things, but too often we’re holding on so tight that we won’t hand it over to Him and truly trust that He’s got this. He’s got our problems in His hand and is going to help us through these tough situations. He’s going to comfort and console us. He’s going to help alleviate the grief, and heal our sense of loss. When we change our focus from how things are affecting us, and instead focus on God (getting into His word, spending time in worship etc), we are reminded of all the Lord has done for us and we can learn to turn all our cares over to Him so that we might enjoy a peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). The promise of eternal life with God is something to cheer us and console us. God sacrificing His own Son so that we might live eternally, He loves us that much. That comforts me.

Do you need cheering up?

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2013 in My God is Cheering me up, Psalm

 

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My God is…defending my cause Psalm 43:1

Psalm 43:1 – Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause Pupil being bullied in elementary school
against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
deliver me!

Vindicate me, O God

My last blog post was about God vindicating His people. So you might wonder why I would choose a verse from scripture that also has God vindicating me. Well, I have been inspired by a blog post I read by Sharla Fritz called, “How to be a Hero: Defend Someone“. You’ll want to take a read of that, it really got me thinking about my dad. I don’t know if I have personally ever heard my dad say something bad about someone. I know he has, because he has confessed calling an ex-boyfriend of mine a jerk, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. He’s a believer in the “If you can’t say something nice…” wait, he’s not actually. My father doesn’t just refrain from saying mean things, he has told me he works at always finding something nice to say about people when their names are brought up and they’re not present. Sharla Fritz points out in her blog,

“Defending someone when they are not around is an act of heroism.  You are rescuing their reputation, you are saving their dignity. When you stand up for another person, you are protecting their character. A true ally will shield another’s good name. There is no shortage of people who are anxious to tear others down. Be the person who turns the conversation around.”

Defend my cause against an ungodly people

God is our great defender. We can trust that God will bring any falsehoods told about us to light, and that He will arm us with the words we need by the Holy Spirit.

Luke 12:11-12

11 When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, do not worry about how[a] you are to defend yourselves or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.”

No matter who is accusing you, chastising or berating you, you can trust and pray for the Lord to show you the words to use. Every time people treat us badly, we’re given an opportunity to reflect God’s glory by responding differently than others might.

Being defensive

I don’t know about you, but I can be defensive. I don’t like to be wrong, and when someone points out one of my failures (or two or three), I’m more likely to point out ten of theirs. But it never pays off. Being defensive, trying to defend ourselves with human reasoning and logic deflate our argument. Say someone says you’re pig-headed, telling them five reasons you’re not, is…pig-headed. Our pride often gets in our way of being witnesses for God. When we’re able to defend others, see another’s position, humble ourselves, we’re able to show what is most important in our lives, God. Being defensive is a sure sign that your pride is involved and you can’t be putting God first, because at that moment you’re only thinking about how you’ve been wronged, misrepresented or mistreated. You’re thinking about yourself. But with humbleness and acceptance, turning to God and allowing Him to take the responsibility of defending us, we’re freed to show others love even when they don’t deserve it (do any of us ever truly deserve it?).

Lord, Help me to put my pride aside. Help me not to defend myself, but allow myself to be a witness to you in all circumstances. Help me not to put my pride first. Help me to think of Your will above my own. Help me to defend others and to only say nice things about people. Help me to refrain from being catty, unkind and boastful. Keep my thoughts pure and focused on you. Help me choose humility over pride. Forgive me when I fail. Amen.

Do you get defensive?

 
 

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My God is…Vindicating His People Psalm 135:13-14

Psalm 135:13-14 – Your name, O Lord, endures forever,Salvation
your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages.
For the Lord will vindicate his people,
and have compassion on his servants.


Definition of VINDICATE

obsolete : to set free : deliver
2: avenge
3 a : to free from allegation or blame
   b (1) : confirmsubstantiate (2) : to provide justification or defense for : justify
   : to protect from attack or encroachment : defend
4: to maintain a right to

To set free : deliver

The Lord sets the prisoners free (Psalm 146:8a).

As humans we are all in chains to sin, but God didn’t want that to be our future, so He sent Jesus to set us free from our prison of sin. We no longer have to be slaves to the things that have entrapped us in the past. We are free to be His and freed to be used by Him for His glory. In the short-term (the here and now) He can help us with the addictions we face, with the tumultuous relationships, with the fear of failure and all the other struggles we face as humans. When we die, we will also be set free from death and be able to take part in the promise we’ve been given of eternal life with God in heaven. God has set us free from the bondage of sin so we might enjoy freedom here on earth and eternal freedom with Him for eternity.

Avenge
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
God has your back. You don’t need to get back at those who have done you wrong. I’m sure we all have some people we know have wronged us. Truth is the devil often likes to use the frustration we feel from those relationships and wants to use them to distract us from focusing on the Lord. Instead, if we continue to focus on the Lord and not try to avenge the wrongs done to us, we will be able to find peace in the Lord. We can also rest assured that they’ll get what’s coming to them. The Lord will repay. He’s got your back and He has mine too.

To free from allegation or blame
Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; by this Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.Acts 13:38-39
When we compare our lives to the law of Moses, it becomes clear quickly that we are sinners. That we fall short of what God called us to do in the old testament. We who were not able to justify ourselves by our own actions have been set free by Jesus. He has given us forgiveness of sins through His sacrifice of His life on the cross and His resurrection three days later. He took the sins on Himself, making us righteous even though we didn’t deserve it. It reminds me of Jesus’ prayer on the cross – “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” I think when I sin, it’s like He said that prayer not only for the soldiers who were casting lots, but also for me and all my sins.

Confirm, substantiate
I think this is part of why I love looking up words that are used in scripture. Not only is God freeing us from blame and avenging wrongs, He is vindicating us through His actions. Through miracles in days of old, through testimonies in scripture and those we hear now and through our personal relationships with Christ, God confirms and substantiates our faith in Him. What we believe will all be proven true on the last day. We will be vindicated on the day that these scriptures Philippians 2:9-11) are fulfilled:
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

To provide justification or defense for
Galatians 3:6-9 – Just as Abraham “believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,”  so, you see, those who believe are the descendants of Abraham.  And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you.”  For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.
God has provided the justification we needed by giving us faith in Him. We who believe in Him are no longer slaves to sins, but have been given a clean slate because of the faith worked in us by the Holy Spirit.

To protect from attack or encroachment
In the Old Testament, there were many attacks on the people of God. When they put their faith in God, they were never disappointed. We too can trust in God to protect us from the attacks the devil wages on us (often through those we expected to be able to trust). God has our back and will vindicate us. Keep your focus on Him that you might not lose site of all the Lord is doing for you each day.

To maintain a right to
See what love the Father has given 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
Because of the love the father has given us we are able to maintain a right to call ourselves children of God. We are His children and we have an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. We have a right to it, not because of what we have done, but because of the righteousness of the one who sacrificed that we might live, Jesus Christ.

Do you want vindication?
 
 

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My God is…examining humankind Psalm 11:4

Psalm 11:4 – The Lord is in his holy temple;

Excuse me, Your God is Showing.

Excuse me, Your God is Showing.

the Lord’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.

It always feels like…somebody’s watching me

Unlike the creepiness expressed in Rockwell’s song, “Somebody’s Watching me“, this verse was David talking about the confidence he found in knowing his God knew what was going on. David was being encouraged by some to go on the move, because the enemy was close at hand. They wanted him to move away from the trouble instead of facing it head on.

I’ll be moving, I won’t be able to

When I was living in Missouri, I learned about Stephen Ministry, a group that trains to be a sort of peer counselor for those who need someone to talk to no matter what the reason. I had heard about Stephen Ministry long ago, because my Grandma Goldie was one once. When I learned more about it at my church, I thought that was something I might be interested in doing. You had to do 52 hours of training, and commit to a year of service as a Stephen Minister if you were going to sign up to be one. I thought perfect, we’ll be moving for my husband’s internship next year, maybe they would let me do the training even if I couldn’t serve. They graciously agreed. I did the training, and even started into the next year, knowing they wouldn’t assign anyone to me, because I would be moving soon. In the classes we had learned about closure. I was asked how I dealt with ending relationships that were not healthy or had run their course. I said, “I move”. My husband was in the Air Force, and we always knew when the next move was going to happen. We always had an end date for living somewhere. My husband was now out of the military, and he didn’t get placed in an internship that year. We had to stay another year. That meant I had to serve. I had one plan, but God had another. He knew what was going on, and how I needed to grow. He had been watching me.

His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind

God looks on us from His throne, and knows what is going on in your life. He knows if you’re addicted to pills, food or alcohol. He knows if you verbally abuse your children when you’re alone with them. He knows if you’re struggling to get out of an abusive relationship. He knows if you’re working hard to turn your life around. He knows if you’re struggling with an illness. He knows if you’ve had a huge success at work. He knows, and He cares. He’s watching. He’s paying attention to what goes on in your life.

In our verses above, David tells those encouraging him to run that God’s eyes behold. David knew that the enemies he faced were not getting away with anything the Father in Heaven didn’t know about. God could see what was going on, and David was sure he didn’t need to turn around and run, because He had the Lord on his side. He had the one who could conquer the enemy on his side, and because God was already watching, examining what was going on, David was assured the Lord would work good on His behalf.

God is watching you, not in a big brother kind of way, but in a caring and concerned way. He knows what’s going on in your life. He wants you to be like David and trust Him to take care of it. Know that He’s got your back. He’s on your side. He knows what’s going on and is going to work it for good.

 

 
 

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