“You Are the Light of the World!”

Do you ever wonder why Christians have to deal with so much stuff from people?  Why does it seem the rights of everyone else are important all the while our rights are trying to be diminished by opposing forces?  Why does it seem that we are singled out to be somebody to mess with when the cut-ups of this world get by on a free pass.

I’ll tell you why.

Things are set in motion like that to try to discourage us from our walk with Christ; our belief.  The fact of the matter is our lives are convicting to those who fight against God and His plan for humanity.  God, through His Word, tells of a holy requirement He desires to see played out in the lives of each and every individual.  Those who seek after the flesh and revel in carnality and sin don’t want the same desires as He.  Rather, they fight vehemently against it and anything that resembles it (i.e. Christians).

Once Jesus taught, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid,” Matthew 5:14.  You shine for Him.  You magnify His brightness and glory in the midst of degradation and sin.  You are a beacon to show people the way to this wonderful life in Him through the darkness and disparity of this world.  As a Christian, you look like Him (in character), you talk like Him and that bothers those who oppose Him.

In a life that has been transformed by His renewing power, it becomes a living testimony to grace, mercy, and the power of salvation working itself out in humanity.  Although these wonderful things are available to all for the asking, few choose to look to Him for those wonderful gifts.  They would much rather pursue the things of the flesh than that of the Spirit causing war and contentions with those who walk and talk differently then them.

Nonetheless, I urge you brother and sister in Christ, keep walking the holy walk.  No matter the fighting.  No matter the contentions.  Keep showing this world, through the life you live, what a mighty God we serve.  Philippians tells us we are, “In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world,” (2:15).  By the continual light of Christ beaming from your life, you are helping others to draw nearer to Him; you are helping others to see the hope that is available if they would but turn.

The life we live may cause us discomfort at times, but the reward of having others see Christ in us is immeasurable.  You and I can positively effect change in the lives of others for eternity.  I think, my friends, that far outweighs the opposition we may face today.

And, as we are living, let us always remember we have nothing to boast or be arrogant about.  We are saved today because somebody else stood up as a light for us showing us the way; somebody else’s lives were convicting, pricking our hearts to want to know Him more.  Our salvation is NEVER anything for us to glory in.  We can only glory in our Savior who gave His life that we might have new life in Him.  We are now vessels filled with His grace that we might positively pour into and shine in the lives of others.

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“It’s Saturday!”

The day before Sunday is like no other. It’s the day that comes at the end of the work week and comes before the day of worship. There are so many possibilities with this day. Sleep in or go out? Veg out in front the TV or seek adventure? Clean or do you say forget it, “I clean every day and today I’m taking a break!” How will you spend your time?

Time. That’s a four little word with great impact. Time is something we can never get back. Time is something that will keep moving forward whether you are ready to go with it or not. Time is precious. Time is valuable. How one spends their time can either add to their life or take away from it.

Time. Extra time is not promised. We can’t buy more time. Rather, we must lay hold of with an iron grip the time that has been allotted to us and make the best use of it for our lives, our families, and our ministries.

Time. What will you do with it? We deserve rest because we worked hard. Take the time. We deserve adventure, something that will heighten our senses because we have stayed the course of the mundane all week. Take the time. Clean? . . . well, we’ll just leave that one alone for now.

Time. As crazy as it seems to us, it goes by in a flash when you don’t want it to and it drags when you wish it would speed up. That’s why every moment counts. Every opportunity should be seized. Every second savored.

Time. We don’t have as much of it as we would like, and yet God blessed us with the amount we need. How we choose to use it is up to us.

What will you do with your time today? There is no right or wrong answer. If you worked hard and want to sit in front of the tv because your brain needs a few hours vacation, then do so. If your body has been stuck in the office all week and you feel a need to stretch and exercise to get it moving, then do so. If you chose to let the house go one day so that you can have time for yourself, then do so. It’s Saturday! It’s your time! Make the most of it for you!

Keep in mind, once this Saturday goes by, it will not come again. Oh, yes, there will be other Saturdays, but not this Saturday. There will be other chances and opportunities, but not like today. Today is for you – it’s your Saturday, what will you do?

Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to redeem the time. Grab hold of today and make the most of it! It’s only here today. So, what will you do with today?

Whatever you do, make today count! It’s Saturday, enjoy “you” on this day!

God bless you and enjoy your Saturday 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

Community of Believers | We are here for one another!

 

Races can take you through many terrains.  Running uphill, it’s hard.  The more you go, the steeper the incline, the harder it gets.  Breath after breath your chest heaves for relief.  Push after push your muscles cry out for mercy.  And, just when you thought you had no more in you; just when you thought you couldn’t go any farther, from behind there comes these hands out of nowhere that steadies your stride and helps propel you forward some more.  On the side of you comes smiling faces with encouraging words grabbing hold of your arms and help pull you up that incline that you might finish your race.  They want to help you make it.

The Apostle Paul often described our Christian life as a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  We run it.  We press for it.  But, sometimes the way gets hard and if it had not been for the grace of God, we would not have made it.

As the community of racers pushed and pulled the struggling runner uphill, so God will minister to us to help us go through our race.  Often this is done through the community of believers that will come alongside the one that needs support.

In this world the struggle is real.  May we, as a community of believers, recognize the support that each one needs.  May we join up with our fellow Christian race runners and offer the help and encouragement they need to make it.  May we see beyond our own race and allow God to use our hands and smiling faces to help bolster someone’s faith as they are striving to make it up the inclines of this life.

We all have the same goal in mind: to finish the race.  We need each other to do it.  As a community of believers, our job goes beyond spreading the gospel and being a light in this dark world, and all the other spiritual stuff it entails.  Our job is also to seek the welfare of one another.  We need to be there for one another.  We need to be present and involved in the process of what they are going through “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it,” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).  

More encouraging verses and quotes:

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow . . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a

“God has chosen us to help one another.” Smith Wigglesworth

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo Source: Pixabay

“When the Father speaks…”

There is a lot of inner dialogue that goes on and there is a lot of outer dialoguing that goes on.  The inner dialogue comes from the person within.  It talks to oneself sometimes words of encouragement, and that’s okay.  But, when it begins to express doubt, confusion and rehearses hurt repeatedly, it becomes a dangerous voice causing one to lose out on some of the best stuff God has for them.

The outer dialogues we hear daily comes from the voices all around.  Again, sometimes one may hear words of love, but when these voices speak criticism, discouragement, and put-downs, their words need to be silenced and replaced because they are not doing anything to one up or to help along the way.

Any voice, inner or outer, which speaks contrary to the words of the Father, must be made to shut up.  When the Father speaks, His is a heavenly dialogue, and what He has to say far outweighs any word on earth.

When the Father speaks His words are power.  “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God,” (Psalm 62:11).  Every other speech will fail and grow weak when it meets up against the strength of what He has to say.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).

When the Father speaks His words are fulfilling.  “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11).  In the sea of worthless words that drown the hearing of this world, God’s Word can be trusted to do what He said He would do.  It will succeed at everything spoken of it.

When the Father speaks His words are truth.  False speech seems to dominate this world.  Whatever the platform, people are careless and deceitful with the words that they throw around.  But God’s words are dependable and faithful.  They are “truth” (John 17:17) and His words don’t lie (Numbers 23:19).  “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth,” (Psalm 33:4).

When the Father speaks His words are life.  Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63).  Not only are His words filled with life-giving power in the here and now, but when He speaks they are words of eternal life (John 6:68).  For those who believe in His Word, it will provide them with everything they need to live.

And, when the Father speaks, it is forever.  “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” (Isaiah 40:8; see also Matthew 24:35).  There will never be a time when His Word will not be.  All the inner and outer dialogues that take place daily will eventually pass away.  But, everything declared in His Word, shall be forever.  It’s not going anywhere.  Therefore, we can stake our very lives on it, live by it, and hope in it.  Because, when the Father speaks, His Word will always be there for us through it all.

Today, when the Father speaks, let His voice be louder than all others and let His words be the strength for your day.

“It Only Takes a Moment” – Word For Life Says

Photo: Pixabay/silviarita

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize God is teaching you something significant?  Where every current scene that plays out in your life you spiritually awaken to the idea of God’s guiding presence in a new way; His hand steering you this way and that?

I have had some of those revelatory moments lately.  God is cracking old perceptions I once held of myself and He is pulling me into new areas of trust.  In this area where I am being drawn, I readily admit I don’t know what I am doing.  My human frailty comes to the forefront but God is showing me Him.  He is showing me more of His heart, more of His care, and more of His heavenly abilities to work it all out.

Oh, His ability to do it all has always been there, but there were certain areas of my life where there were still scales on my eyes, shielding me from seeing the bigger picture; from seeing God fully at work in it all.

I was awakened on the inside and became more aware that there is so much more to me than me.  God has me on His radar and He is orchestrating my life in a unique and special way.  No, I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know what tomorrow looks like or how this will all end up, but by faith, I want Him to take the lead while I just step out and follow.

It requires not only a moment of revelation but a life of trust.  Steven Furtick said, “The only way God can show us He is in control is to put us in situations we can’t control,” (Quote Source: Pinterest).

It’s purposely declaring every day and with every step, “I don’t know it all, but I choose to follow the One who does.”  It’s a time when we let that one moment of believing God is the fullness of His promises defines the makeup of our future.  It’s when we permit the wonder of all that He is to overshadow any doubt or discrepancies that we might feel within ourselves, realizing what He has made us for and ordained us to do never depended on us in the first place.

Is there an area of your life where God wants to give you that ah-ha moment of revelation?  Or, are there still scales blocking your full vision of Him?

Father God, remove the scales from our eyes that we might see the full vision of You.  We are praying against every hindrance that tries to blind Your people and obstruct their view from the wonderful works You want to do through them.  Amen!

I pray for your moment of connection with God.  I pray that you would trust in God more, and focus on Him more than whatever you think you can’t do.  It only takes a moment of sincere trust and abandon to Him to change your course in history forever.

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Jeremiah 17:7

The Greater Outside Work

Photo: Pixabay/Free-Photos

“Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house,” (Proverbs 24:27, NKJV). 

Building lives.  Building empires and organizations.  Building legacies and building personal ministries have all seem to take precedence over the greater work; the outside work.  So much is the focus on building for self, that building for Him has begun to fade in the background.

The prophets and disciples/apostles of old were outside builders.  Their homes were not their focus and their personal lives and desires were not what they strained for day in and day out.  To reach peoples, to add multitudes to God’s kingdom, to share God’s message to the world was the greater outside work they allowed themselves to be spent for.

Even Jesus, at the young age of 12 declared to His earthly parents, “How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).  He was found where the work of the heavenly Father was going on, and not where the earthly work was.

How much of our focus on the earthly has taken over the heavenly?  Proverbs 24:27 says, “Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house,” (NKJV).

We must put our work in proper order and the greater must demand more of our care.  The farmer prepares the ground rightly and plans accordingly the fields before he focuses on his house.  And, while he is building his own house he will gain the benefits of the harvest the fields are producing.   Likewise, how much more will we be built on a firm foundation if we prioritize God’s work over our own “building projects;” making productive the things for the kingdom of God and working His fields?

Jesus taught, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you,” (Matthew 6:33).  Be about the Father’s business and your house will be built.

“If I choose…”

If I choose to be silent I could

be viewed as weak or wise,

depending . . .

If I choose to fight I could

be viewed as aggressive or brave,

depending . . .

If I choose to hope I could

be viewed as naive or optimistic,

depending . . .

Father God, depending on where life takes me I pray that you would help me to handle this daily life with the same grace You give.  With every step, help me to choose to look to You, O heavenly Father because I want to be wise, I want to be brave, and I want to expect the best of every day You give.  Amen!

Inspiration for choosing to look to God and let Him have control of this day:

“Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.” – Dwight L. Moody

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Trusting in the Lord means every decision you make is done with Him in mind.”– Bernita Weston

“Let your life reflect the faith you have in God. Fear nothing and pray about everything. Be strong, trust God’s word, and trust the process.”  – Germany Kent

“Allow God to take control in your life, so the enemy will have no control over you.” – Gift Gugu Mona

“In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” – Job 12:10

 

“Don’t Romanticize Life!”

“Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you,” 1 Peter 4:12

“Confirming the souls of the disciples and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we may through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God,” Acts 14:22

One of the best things about being an avid reader is the happy ending that appears at the end of almost every book I read.  When you first dive into a new book you begin to get familiar with the characters and their life.  Each turn of the page takes us along on their journey, revealing to us their joys and sadness, hardships and pain.  By the time we reach those last few pages, everything has worked itself out.  There’s almost always a reason for celebration and the typical “aww” moment, especially if you’re into romance novels.

That’s the great thing about books.  They allow your imagination to soar, taking you into worlds you may not otherwise get a chance to explore.  Your mind’s eye gets hooked up with the writer’s vision for the book and soon a vivid story begins to unfold before you.  Though there are no pictures, illustrations begin to form revealing all that is written therein.  Television has its place – oh, but to read a book!

Whether it be a movie, television program or a book the stories we hear and see transport us, giving us a reprieve from reality.  But, when the last page is read or the screen goes blank, it’s back to reality.  And, reality isn’t always as picturesque as the stories we left behind.  Sometimes love does not find its way.  Sometimes the bad guy does get away.  Sometimes the hero doesn’t make it home.  Sometimes the disease doesn’t get healed.  Sometimes the child does not find their way home.  Sometimes the friend does not stick closer than a brother, and so on.

Sometimes life is just plain ole not fun!  I think more so than ever that we have not heard enough about the reality of life.  Instead, we are raising up a generation of rose-colored glasses wearers.  Even from the pulpit of most American churches, the messages of peace, prosperity and wealth has taken over the reality of life.  Jesus Christ, Himself clearly stated that in the world you will have tribulation, John 16:33.  Peace and blessings will come.  Promises will be fulfilled.  But our physical being is planted in the world right now, and while we are here we have to face the reality that everything, every day is not going to be easy.

This philosophy breeds a culture of disillusionment.  Romanticizing life leaves one totally off guard and taken aback when troubling times occur.  A hard life is a hard life no matter which way you look at it and when one is not ready in the least for it, the residual effects can be devastating.  “We may through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God.”  It is going to be hard sometimes.

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you,” 1 Peter 4:12.  In other words, the test is going to be hard sometimes.  Tests are not passed with a fly by the night attitude.  Tests are passed when people are prepared for them.  But, the wearer of the rose-colored glasses with will have a harder time because the tests seem like a “strange thing” that has happened unto them.

Listen, prepared or not, some things in life will just come out of the blue and whip your world around causing you to say, “What the what?”  It’s inevitable.  The idea behind not romanticizing life is to expect the unexpected.  We don’t want to lose out on those promises God has for us because we have the false illusion that nothing will ever happen to us.

The promises are coming, that’s a given.  In John 16:33, after Jesus warned, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” He also gave us cause to celebrate.  He said, “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  And, after Peter wrote of the “strange thing,” he exhorted his readers with verses 13-14a.  He said, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you . . .”

Oh yes, thank God for the promises.  Every word that speaks of them is true.  But, don’t be surprised when we have to go through some stuff today before we reach those promises.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“The God We Feel!”

 

Your beauty cannot be measured.
But, I can feel it when I sit still in
Contemplation and the warmth of
Your light shines within me. 
I know You are near because I can
Feel You.

The depths of Your love cannot be fathomed.
But, I can feel it when sorrows seem to
Overwhelm me and Your comforts come in
And bring delight to my soul. 
I know it’s going to be okay because I can
Feel You.

Sometimes it’s hard to explain everything we have with God.  Mere words cannot cover the scope of our experience of walking hand in hand with Him on this Christian journey.  But, we can feel Him.  We feel Him inside us, around us, over us, and working through us.  We feel God.

We feel His mercy, grace, and favor all at the same time when our sins are being forgiven and washed away.  In our failings and in our mistakes, oh, yes, we feel Him, as He takes our ashes and makes them into something beautiful.

We feel Him carry us when we have no strength to carry ourselves.  When burdens, stresses, and the disappointing waves of life crash over us and overwhelm us.  In His lifting of our heaviness, we feel Him helping us that we might endure to the end and be saved.

We can feel His Spirit empower places in our hearts and minds where we didn’t think we were equipped enough to do anything; where we felt inadequate, unsure, and insecure.  But, by the mighty rushing in of His presence on the inside, we have come alive with possibilities.  In that, yes, we feel Him.

We can feel Him take over storms and circumstances.  As He stands at the bow of our lives, He speaks peace over every worry and fret, washing them all away in the confidence of who He is.  Yes, we feel Him.

We feel Him when our eyes are opened to the blessedness of a new day.  As a flower stretches high to bask in the rays of the sun, we feel the smile of the Son shining His countenance down on us, welcoming us to experience this life with Him once more.  We feel Him.

When we see miracles break through impossibilities and prayers being answered in new and surprising ways, we feel Him.  He who sits on the throne of heaven, has bowed His ear to hear about little old me, and you think I don’t feel Him?  Yes, I feel Him!

In times of brokenness, we feel His wholeness patching up the breaches of our worn-down walls.  In times of sadness, we feel His joy come in like a new morning, chasing away the black of the night.  Ah, we feel Him.

Though words sometimes escape us, what we feel with God lets us know He is near.  He is never far.  He is reaching out to love us, to carry us, and to hold us through it all.

He’s not only this great and wonderful God that we read and learn about, but in our walk with Him we experience Him; we feel Him in every area of our lives, and through every situation we face.

He is glorious, and we can feel that.  He is wonderful, and the amazement of that is alive in us.

A relationship with God is more than just knowing of Him, but it’s feeling Him in our daily lives!

The psalmist said, “O taste and see that the LORD is good…” (Psalm 34:8).  This is something you need to know for yourself.  This is a heart-stirring within, saying personally try Him today!  Take up the sweetness of what He offers and taste Him today!  Experience Him today!  Feel Him today!  Because, He is GOOD!

Photo Credit: Pagemodo

What to do with days when things just aren’t going right?

What to do with this day when things aren’t clicking and time keeps ticking?  When things refuse to fall into the designated places you had for them?  When it feels like it’s completely squashed before it starts?  So many plans lay up ahead but the weight and the feeling and the pressure of it all leaves one with a sense of unaccomplishment and unfulfillment.  Taking a look outside and it seems to be that everyone else is getting on with this day and doing but the fight in here, right now, and the press that comes with it, it just doesn’t seem to want to work out.  All the gears for all the mechanics of this day are present, in place, and spinning, but they are just not grabbing correctly to move what we are trying to accomplish forward successfully.

What to do with this day when there seems to be conflict and strain with one another?  When relationships don’t hug the way you want them to hug or love the way you want to be loved?  When misunderstandings, assuming, and yes, even one’s own personal views on a matter put barriers between the spirit of fellowship and love.  When hurts causes one’s steps to move ever so fragile as if on eggshells, fearing the disappointment and disapproval of someone else?

What to do with this day when rogue feelings break away from the pack you had planned for the day and invade and try to rob you of the potential joy that lay up ahead in the hours to come?  Thieves of insecurity.  Thieves of shame.  Thieves of feeling woefully torn.  These thieves come with many hideous and damaging names.  The day was brand new and fresh at the start, but that didn’t stop these unwanted parasitic nuisances from latching on and tainting it with the feelings of mess-ups, adversity, pain, and disappointments from your yesterdays.

So, what to do with these kinds of days when our plans, or people, or feelings just don’t want to cooperate with the vision you had set for it?

Give it to God!  That one answer tells us how to deal with it, the proper response to it, and what to do with the rest of it.  This is not some Christian rhetoric or cliche.  It is a solid truth that we can stand on and base our faith on.  We give it God.

The very real truth is that at any given time on any given day we will all or have all experienced one or many of the daily upsets listed above (and sometimes even more than these).  It is all a part of life; a part that can really throw us off kilter if we don’t process it right and deal with it in the right way.

Therefore, when everything is going absolutely bonkers, sometimes without rhyme or reason; when nothing within our power or control is working, we give it all to Him who has all power and control.  Not as a mythical genie creature whose bottle we rub to have things or people turn out the way we want them to.  But, as releasing it to His majesty and sovereign will.  It’s saying, “I trust you, God.”  Whether this day turns out how I configured it or not, my plans, my people, my times, my heart, my feelings – they are all in Your hands.

God is not only the Creator of all the universe and the Author of all mankind, but He is concerned about your daily needs for each individual day as well.  All the areas that need filling, all the upsets that need dealing with, all the plans that need to be taken care of, and all the worries that bog us down – He’s concerned about it all.

But, as we release the day to Him we must also realize His best answer for us may be to not move everything or anything into the places where we see fit.  Sometimes, His best answer for what we are going through with this day to let us learn from it, experience it and still maintain trust in Him.  That no matter how it goes forward, no matter what we feel in the process, no matter who we are dealing with and how we are dealing with them – He still sees it all, knows it all, and has it all in His loving and powerful hands.

So, when days like this come, we give it to God, step back, and just trust Him.

Here are some verses and prayers to hold in your heart when the days just aren’t going right for you:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

Father God, I acknowledge that I don’t know everything about this day, my future, or even how to properly respond to it all.  I pray for Your leading to show me the right path to walk that my life might be pleasing in Your sight.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Father God, the end of all things may be vague to me or even remain a mystery.  Help my heart to hold on to the very real fact that you knew me from the beginning and you know how my story ends; that if I am in Your hands, then I am in Your plan.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Psalm 126:6 “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

Father God, my tears and confusion for the day, You see it all.  Help me to know that it is not all in vain.  Let my confidence be in You and Your love for me above all else, knowing that for every sadness, there will be joy.  That when You restore, for every sorrow that was sown there will be reaping of happiness and peace.  In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.