Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

The Mustard Seed

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He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20

One of the tiniest seeds grows a very large plant. Mustard bushes at maturity, can reach heights of six to twenty feet with a twenty foot spread. That’s pretty big considering its small beginning. When Jesus tells his disciples to have faith as small as a mustard seed, he was responding to their question. The disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t drive out a demon from a boy. (Matthew 17:19) His answer was their lack of faith.

Seeds grow when they are planted and watered. Our faith too grows when we plant it in the firm foundation of God. Jesus tells us that even small mustard seed sized faith will cause Him to move on our behalf. The mountain is just the metaphor for whatever obstacle we are facing. Many times it can feel like an insurmountable mountain. It looks impossible. This is where our faith comes in. Do we believe that Jesus is who He says he is? Do we believe He truly can do absolutely anything?

Our faith will be refined our entire lives. Jesus tells us to start with a tiny amount of faith in Him, and what He can do to help us. He can do anything. Nothing will be impossible with Jesus.

I’m sharing a story that beautifully illustrates having mustard seed faith. I have kept this article for many years after tearing it out of a magazine. It’s edges are frayed and the paper has yellowed. About once a year I read it to remind myself what a little bit of faith can accomplish. Enjoy this wonderful story of one woman’s faith.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

The Mustard Seed By Patricia Anand

My husband and I had enjoyed raising our family in the San Fernando Valley in California. Yet as retirement neared, we felt we wanted to live in a quieter, cooler area. We began house hunting farther north along the coast.

     During the years that I had been thinking about our retirement home, a set of mental “specs” had evolved. We needed a two-story house (for cardiovascular exercise), a den/bedroom downstairs (to use as an office) and a kitchen area that gave me something interesting to look at. We wanted no yard work (after all, we had mowed a lawn for years).  Oh, yes, a crystal chandelier in the dining room, a fireplace and a water view would be nice.

     As I began praying for our dream home, the Bible I had in my hands fell open to Matthew 17:20: “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘move hence to yonder place,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” I thought, Yes, Lord, that’s right. All I need to do is have faith. On impulse, I went out and bought a pair of pillowcases for our future bedroom, some pot holders for the kitchen, and a crystal lamp finial for the living room.

     I shouldn’t have been surprised when one day our real estate agent led us to a house on a marina that exceeded my expectations. It had main channel water views from the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. Instead of a backyard, there was a large redwood deck! All the rooms were exactly as I had prayed for! The kitchen counters were 37 inches high-a loving Heavenly Father had even provided a comfortable working height for a tall woman.

     We went happily into escrow. Then a period of testing began. We had planned to sell a piece of property and use that as a part of the down payment, but it stubbornly refused to sell. We tried everything.

     One day, in desperation, we talked to the vice president of a small local bank near us. As we explained our problem, the man began to smile. He had relatives in the town where we wanted to move, and he went jogging on weekends over the bridge near our dream house. He knew exactly  where it was and what it was worth. He told us to pick up our “swing loan” check the next day based on our signatures alone. We floated home.

     We have been happily retired for some years now. I often think of the day when the realtor first showed us our dream house. For there, beside the front door, a previous owner had written in the cement: THE MUSTARD SEED.

 

*This Article is from Family Circle 4/3/01 written by Patricia Anand.

Faith, Family, Uncategorized

Wisdom from Grandma

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For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

1 Timothy 6:7

 

Grandma kept everything. I found these in her kitchen cabinet when we packed up her house in California. At the time I thought they were neat because of the old advertising. Over the years I’ve realized something a little deeper, more significant about these old containers. It’s a lesson I learned from Grandma. She didn’t know she was teaching me, but she did. Elva was her name and she’s my husband’s sweet grandma from Arkansas.

Elva lived in the rural south during the Depression. Nothing was wasted or taken for granted. She used to tell us that as a little girl if it snowed in Arkansas they would make ice cream from the snow. My husband and I would laugh. It sounded silly to us. But now I get it. When you have very little, you use what you’ve got. Today if I bought some ice cream I didn’t like I would throw it out. That would have never happened during those Depression years. It would have been eaten up with joy.

I have had those spices in a large jar on my kitchen counter for years. I was cleaning it out the other day after an ant problem. Grandma came to my mind once again. She wouldn’t throw away something as precious as cooking spices. It got me thinking about contentment. Am I content with my stuff? Do I want more, and more? Do I need more?

This is the era of disposable electronics, and disposable everything. Get the newest phone, we need it. Get the newest car, we need it. Consume it, get bored with it, and get the latest version of said item. Buy, buy, buy, and buy some more stuff. The lines have been blurred of needs and wants. What does the Bible say about contentment?

“But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:8, NIV)

Paul wrote these words that God gave him. Is food, shelter, and clothing enough for contentment? I think yes. At least I want to think yes. I wrestle with this concept. Is stuff bad? Well, no. We need to eat, and clothing for our bodies, and a roof over our heads. Beyond that, what do we really need? Not much. But what we want, that’s a whole different story. Wants aren’t bad. Stuff isn’t bad. Where does contentment lie in all that for the Christ Follower?

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9-10, NIV)

The verses about contentment and not holding on to our worldly possessions lead to a warning about loving money. We are given a very real warning about the desire to get rich. Some wandered from the faith, pursuing money instead of Christ. This is still happening today. More money, more stuff. Less contentment. The stuff becomes the pursuit. Jesus is taken out of the picture entirely. That’s a big problem for many reasons. One being, all that money and stuff doesn’t go to eternity with us. Eternity. Forever. Not a single thing we have here on earth leaves with us. (1 Timothy 6:7)

Wait a minute. Then why are we so caught up in buying the latest fill in the blank? We don’t take it with us. We use our stuff for the brief time we are here on this side of eternity. Should we be accumulating as much stuff as possible? The whole “you only live once” and “Hey, I’m not taking it with me anyway. I’m going to buy as much as I want, when I want, and enjoy it all now.” Buy the latest and greatest? No. That’s a dangerous path. We already have the warning about that.

What if we were content right now, today, with what we’ve got? Some of us have lots of nice, shiny, new things. Some of us have old, worn out things. We’ve got things we need and things we want. Many of us pray about these decisions. We can thank God for all He has given us and entrusted us with. We can also ask Him to meet our needs.

My pastor used to say, “There are two things we take to heaven. Our character and our relationships.” Words to live by.

We are not to live miserly and hoard our stuff. We are to be generous.

11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Corinthians 9:11, NIV)

16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16, NIV)

17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (1 John 3:17, NIV)

What did I learn from Grandma? Be content with what you’ve got. It’s just stuff. We came into this world with nothing and we leave with nothing. Be generous. Be grateful. Don’t pursue money and wealth. Pursue Jesus. Only He brings true contentment.

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Family, Jesus, Uncategorized

NOT Perfect!

FE186EB1-15EB-435D-8E31-DE4B49AC82C8I live in a house full of men. I love these dudes with every ounce of me. I love how they view life, and love, and problems, and people, and God. I learn so much from them. My husband and sons give me fresh perspective on situations. I am so grateful for these wonderful men in my life. But, there are days when I ask myself, “Is this a frat house?”

Several weeks ago I was making dinner. I opened the oven and was about to put our dinner inside. To my shock there was old, burned up pizza waiting for me. I couldn’t help but laugh. Frat house living at times. OK, it’s not quite that bad. It did make me think of how perfect this burned pizza was not. Perfect. It doesn’t exist on this side of eternity.

We strive for perfection don’t we? We pursue something that we can’t even attain. Our social media pictures are perfect, or as close as we can achieve. Those selfies. We take about 100 to get the right ‘spontaneous’ one. We want to give a good impression. No one wants to see my messy house, or bad hair day with no make-up, or my burnt pizza. I’m right there with you trying to take the pretty picture.

There’s some danger in that perfect pic though. It’s not possible. We were made by a perfect God and He put imperfections in us. We all have issues and brokenness. The world is broken because of sin. We are holding so tightly to this world, but it’s passing away. Heaven is awaiting for those who have accepted the free gift of Jesus’ salvation. Heaven is perfect. Jesus is perfect, holy, blameless.

Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. (Hebrews 7:26, NIV)

I really want to hold loosely what I’ve got in this world. My husband, my children, money, house, car, and pretty much everything in between. They aren’t mine anyway and I’m leaving this temporary place. God blessed me, but I need to daily give my people and stuff back to the Lord. “They are yours Father. Help me to take excellent care of my family, and use the stuff you’ve given me to glorify you. I give it all back to you. Please forgive me when I hold on too tight and I don’t trust you.”

Jesus is perfect and we are not. So today I give Him my mess, and burnt pizza, and my frat house, and all my broken pieces. He opens His hand and says to me and you, “Give it all to me. I’ll make it beautiful.”

and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)

It is incredible what God can do with all our imperfections. He will make beauty from our ashes. We just need to let go of them, and give them to Him. Give it all to Him.

My son, give me your heart
    and let your eyes delight in my ways, (Proverbs 23:26, NIV)

As we post our perfect pictures let us remember our perfect savior. He became sin on the cross for us. He was without sin. Perfect. Let us cling to a perfect, beautiful savior. Jesus. And the really good news is Jesus does not require perfection from us. He just wants us. Our hearts surrendered to Him. Imperfections, issues, and all. He’ll take care of fixing what is broken.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galations 2:20, NIV)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, Uncategorized

A Treasure in the Trash Pile

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“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17, NIV)

On a typical Sunday morning, I sat in church and grabbed my purse digging through the cavernous interior for a pen. As I was placing my purse back on the floor, I noticed the broken zipper, worn spots on the exterior, and a few small tears. I said in my head, “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” And that was it. I didn’t give it another thought.  

Two days later my boys had just arrived home after one of their many outings. Dylan let me know they found some stuff at the neighbors curbside “free” pile. This house had been vacant for years and the owner was there cleaning things out, and left a sign to take the free items. If you know my boys they don’t pass up opportunities like that. They grabbed some random potential treasures and came home.

Dylan said he wanted to show me a purse he found. I thought it would be disgusting, and would need thrown out. He hands me this large, black, nice looking handbag. Still skeptical, I tell him to bring it inside to get a better look. We start to look it over and see a designer name on it, and notice it looked brand new. I still doubted this handbag was an actual treasure and say, “It must be a fake.” But no, after a serious examination from both myself and Dylan, and some online research, we realized that the fancy black handbag was indeed a genuine designer, made in Italy creation.

After a few minutes, I was reminded of my tiny little comment to the Lord just two days before. “Lord, this looks really bad. I need a new purse.” It wasn’t even a prayer. Just me sharing a moment with God. He always hears and is full of surprises. I know it’s just a purse. And I know there are bigger, more important prayers. I have so many seemingly big prayers that I am still waiting for answers on. But in this unexpected moment the Lord said, “This is from me. I hear every one of your prayers. I have answers for those burdens you’ve got. Trust me. Keep praying. Keep asking. Enjoy this blessing.”

I would never spend this kind of money on myself, especially for a handbag that costs hundreds of dollars. That’s just not me. So it took me a while to accept this gift. At first I didn’t know what to do with it. I used it a few times then put it in my closet. About a month ago I decided to sell it, even though I knew God wanted me to keep it. I thought, “I don’t need it and could use the cash.” I put the handbag on one of those designer consignment sites and it sat there for about a week. Message received. I took it off the site and have accepted this gift from the Lord.

The other day I used my fancy lady handbag to meet a friend for lunch. On the drive there the handbag was on the passenger seat. The lord spoke to me, “Why do you have a hard time accepting gifts from me?” I felt so convicted. I’m supposed to enjoy this surprise blessing, but instead I’m telling God, “I don’t need it nor do I deserve it.” How many times have I done this with God? With practical blessings, material blessings, spiritual blessings. I have rejected His perfect gifts for me, thinking, “I don’t deserve this.”

Grace is unfair, and my awesome God is all about giving me and you what we don’t deserve. I will never be good enough or worthy on my own for His perfect gifts. But the gifts won’t stop. God is not a person. He’s not human. I’m looking for fairness, and worthiness. He’s looking out for you and me, no matter what. He will pursue us and our hearts until the end. Not because we are worthy, but because of Jesus, who is so worthy!

What gift from God have you rejected?

Do you accept His love?

Do you accept His forgiveness?

Have you accepted His free gift of salvation?

Maybe you’ve thought that you are not worthy for such extravagance. Guess what? You’re right. We are not worthy, but God is. Accept these beautiful gifts from Him! He loves you with an everlasting love!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

Love you all,
Meghan

 

 

Faith, Uncategorized

Stinkin’ Thinkin’

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Think happy thoughts and you can do amazing things, like fly. If only it were that easy. Could you imagine how simple life would be if we could just think good things, and good things would result?

Our thoughts matter. God gave us complex brains with the ability to think. Sometimes thoughts can be good, and happy, and positive. Or, thoughts can be negative, harmful, destructive, and painful.

Scientific research has revealed we have 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. I have no clue how such data is gathered. No matter the number, we think a lot. We are averaging 500 to 2,500 thoughts per hour. Wow!

This leads me to the question, “What are we thinking about?” There are plenty of mundane, every day things that need considered. What to eat, cook, clean, wear, watch, play, and so many other tiny decisions we make daily. These seemingly unimportant choices do matter, but we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

I’m wondering about the negative stuff that comes in our heads. The lies that we believe. We’ve lived with them for so long, we make room for them. The lies in our head are more comfortable than the truth. Especially the truth from God’s Word.

Lies can come from all sorts of places. Our own fears feed them. Lies have been spoken over us from parents, grandparents, and so many others in our lives. People we’ve trusted, looked up to, believed. We tucked those words away and told ourselves, “They’re right. I am ________”. The lies ultimately come from our enemy, Satan. Jesus calls the Devil, the Father of Lies.

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b, NIV)

Satan knows he can’t take our riches away from us in Christ Jesus, but he can make us believe we have none. It’s sad that even our enemy knows what we have in Christ, and so many times we are walking around spiritually poor because we think we’ve got nothing. Those of us in Jesus have every single thing we need, and then some.

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32, ESV)

Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17, NLT)

How do you know if it’s a lie? Simple, lies do not line up with the Word of God.

God will never tell you to hurt yourself. NEVER!!

God will never call you stupid, ugly, or dumb. NEVER!!

God will never tell you to hurt someone else. NEVER!!

God will never tell you that you are worthless, useless, nothing. NEVER!!

God will never tell you something that goes against His word. NEVER!!

“Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him.” (1 John 1:5, HCSB)

God loves you!

God chose you!

God made you perfectly imperfect!

God wants you set free from the lies!

God has a beautiful plan for you!

Let’s fight back from the enemies lies. The word of God is our weapon, because it’s the truth. If you’ve never read a Bible, you’ve probably got one sitting in your home somewhere. If not, get a Bible App and start in The Word today. God’s word is alive!

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

Jesus Christ is the only one who can truly set us free from lies. Sure, I can practice positive thinking, and meditation, and all kinds of things that may help temporarily, but I want freedom. Jesus came to set captive people free.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,” (Luke 4:18, NIV)

I was taught many years ago how to take my thoughts captive. There is freedom in Jesus, precious Jesus! He is so good! It’s time to tell the devil to take a hike. The next time the ugly thought comes in, tell it “No!” Picture Jesus holding a stop sign. I know it sounds strange but it really helped me, since I am a visual person. That thought has to come under Christ’s submission. You get all kinds of benefits as a Christ Follower, and one of them is He will fight for you, so let Him.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV)

This all sounds simple, and it is, but some battles in our mind are big ones. We need help. Get at least one person praying in agreement for your freedom. Stay in The Word every single day. Write down verses that speak specifically to your situation and place them all around your house. Pray those verses out loud. Play worship music and sing praises to God.

When we accept Jesus Christ as our savior we receive the Holy spirit, who will teach us, and remind us of everything Jesus has said (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit does a lot and you can ask for wisdom on your thoughts to know which are truth and which ones are lies. You can read more about the Holy Spirit here Living Water

Now that we know how to take our thoughts captive, let’s look at what we should be thinking on.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

We need to fill our mind with good things. It matters what we read, watch, and listen to. Let’s fill our minds with the truth of God’s Word.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Dear Lord,

Help those who have believed the lies for far too long. Reveal the truth of your Word to them. That you love them and sent Jesus to set all of us free from sin and all bondage. I pray some chains of affliction are loosed today. Remind those of us in Christ you have richly given us everything we need. May we all think on excellent, praiseworthy things. You can do anything Lord, change mindsets. Bring healing.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

 

 

 

Faith, Family, Food, Uncategorized

It’s Only a Pound

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I am very happy to share with you my latest article on Mustard Seed Sentinel. I love to bake, and this pound cake is easy and delicious. I came across this fantastic recipe several years ago in Southern LivingInstead of a bundt pan, I prefer loaf pans. I use three regular size pans, and freeze at least two of them. They thaw quickly, and it’s nice to have a dessert on hand.

This new column has been so much fun for me. Baking and cooking are a passion of mine. Pound cake came to mind right away for June. It made me think of summer when topped with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream. Give this simple, yummy dessert a try. You’ll get a lot of smiles from this one. Make your life sweeter with some cake now and then.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your support.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-it-s-only-a-pound

 

Bible, Faith, Jesus, Uncategorized

What’s Your Nickname?

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Meghan Magoo was my dad’s chosen nickname for me. It eventually morphed into Magoochi. Strange. I know. That’s how nicknames are. Whatever the particular name is, it’s meaning is something special to the giver, and the receiver. The message that’s being sent is you are special. Upon hearing my nickname from my dad, I knew it was a sign of affection.

We’ve got nicknames for our children, spouses, and pets. We love them, so the standard name just won’t do. An adorable name must do the job of saying, “I love you.” Bubbies, Bubba, Boo Boo, Dilly, Dilly Jo, Joshy, Joshaboo are just a few of the names my husband and I have given our sons over the years. These cutesy names say, “you are adored.”

Jesus was known to give out a few nicknames as well. He changed Simon’s name to Peter, which in the Greek means rock or boulder. Peter is The Rock. That is a super cool name. You can’t get a much better nickname than that. To be clear, Jesus Christ is the Rock, and Peter was used by God as a small pebble atop that foundation.

16 “Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:16-18, ESV)

Jesus saw more than just Simon the fishermen. He called him Peter because He was calling him to something different. Peter was the first leader of  the early church, and he didn’t get there overnight. It took a lot of mistakes and maturing in his faith along the way for old Pete. He thought he knew better than Jesus and rebuked Him (Mark 8:32). He loses faith (Matthew 14:30). And, Peter denied even knowing Jesus (Luke 22:61-62). But Jesus calls him to greatness before Peter was even ready. Jesus knew Peter’s potential and He sees our potential too. He’s calling each of us to something greater than ourselves.

The Son’s of Thunder were brothers James and John.

“and to James the son of Zebedee,
and to his brother John,
He gave the name “Boanerges”
(that is, “Sons of Thunder”);” (Mark 3:17 HCSB)

Once again, Jesus is calling them into what they will become. These two had a lot to learn as well, before they were up for the challenge of leadership. James and John’s mother asks Jesus to have her sons sit on his right and left in His kingdom (Matthew 20:20-21). The brothers also asked Jesus if they should call fire down from heaven to destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:54). Not exactly signs of maturity.

Peter, James, and John were the only disciples to experience the transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9). With all of their mistakes and shortcomings Jesus still calls them to greatness for His kingdom. It gives me hope. I can be used by God in spite of myself and so can you.

There are other instances of name changes in the Bible.

Abram becomes Abraham. (Genesis 17:5)

Jacob becomes Israel. (Genesis 32:28)

Saul becomes Paul. (Acts 13:9)

These name changes signify a change in their calling, and identity. Abram, Jacob, and Saul each were given a new mission. They had encounters with God that changed them.

Have you had an encounter with God that changed you? Are there old habits or old ways of thinking that need to go? Do you have a nickname that’s negative? Maybe a parent gave you an awful nickname, or a sibling, or teacher, or fill in the blank. It was long ago, but that name comes in your head, and you believe it.

If you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you are a son or a daughter.

“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be sons and daughters to Me,
says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18, HCSB)

Sons and daughters of God are chosen, forgiven, set apart, free, accepted, loved, protected, blessed, and highly favored. Sons and daughters have a new identity in Christ, no matter what nickname has been given to us negatively. God loves you and is fiercely committed to you. He’s calling you and I to something greater than ourselves. Let’s answer that call as His children.

“See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16a, NLT)

 

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Photo credit: BRRT from Pixabay