November 29, 2013

Sleep Tight

The first time I heard this song I cried & each time I've heard it &/or watched this video since I've cried even more & recently it became profoundly real to me as being able to provide a peaceful place where a baby feels safe enough to sleep is priceless!

"Mothers arms are made of tenderness, & sweet sleep blesses the child who lies therein." ― Victor Hugo

If a mother's arms are made of tenderness, & sweet sleep blesses the child who lies therein, then a father's arms are made of strength providing safety for a precious baby to sleep in peace.

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November 24, 2013


"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition & of unspeakable love." ― Washington Irving

Over the last several months, I've had a single tear form in my eye & gently roll down my face to all out sobbing which was a release of emotions & feelings from my heart & spirit.

"A good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit." ― Lemony Snicket

There truly is a powerful sacredness in tears as they express a wide range of emotions.

So much so that I made "CRY!" which is an iPod playlist which truly encourages me to let all the sadness within me out!

"To weep is to make less the depth of grief." ― William Shakespeare

If you are ever in need of a good cry, maybe this compilation of those songs as videos will help you & if not, at least you know me a bit better through my taste in music, however, that may not be a good thing!

"Who's Crying Now" by Journey 

"Zion Mourns" by Dominic Balli

Or you may enjoy all those videos via a YouTube playlist that I put together!

"Cry!" YouTube Playlist

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November 12, 2013

Are You Listening?

Is it just me or do you also cry out to the LORD in prayer & hope that HE not only hears our prayers but listens to us?

"Hear my prayer, LORD; listen to my cry for mercy." ― PSALM 86:6

Is there anything we can do that will help us to listen?

"The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent." ― Alfred Brendel

Listening is not only verbal but also about body language, facial expressions, & the look within the eyes of the person we are listening to.

"When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes." ― Victor Hugo

I want to be in the minority if that means that I am truly listening to people!

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." ― Ernest Hemingway

Does unwillingness to listen to the LORD mean that we are deceitful & rebellious?

"For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, unwilling to listen to the LORDs instruction." ― ISAIAH 30:9

What will the LORD do to a country that does not listen?

"But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy it,” declares the LORD." ― JEREMIAH 12:17

When we don’t listen to the LORD, HE is angry because we bring harm upon ourselves.

"But you did not listen to me," declares the LORD, "and you have aroused MY anger with what your hands have made, and you have brought harm to yourselves." ― JEREMIAH 25:7

Do you or I really want to listen?

"To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it." ― JEREMIAH 6:10

Many extraordinary things shall come to pass if we only do the simple things like listening!

"If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a kind word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely person, extraordinary things begin to happen." ― Loretta Girzaitis

Listening to the LORD means that we live in a manner that is pleasing to HIM by obeying that which the BIBLE teaches us!

"You have declared this day that the LORD is your GOD and that you will walk in obedience to HIM, that you will keep HIS decrees, commands and laws — that you will listen to HIM." ― DEUTERONOMY 26:17

If we are listening to the LORD we gladly submit to HIS instruction for our lives!

"The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. HE wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed." ― ISAIAH 50:4

The LORD will not listen to us if we cherish sin!

"I cried out to HIM with my mouth; HIS praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the LORD would not have listened; but GOD has surely listened and has heard my prayer." ― PSALM 66:17-19

Don't settle for being average!

"An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odor or fragrance, & talks without thinking." ― Leonardo da Vinci

There are grave consequences if we do not listen to the LORD!

If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor MY name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor ME." ― MALACHI 2:2

It is absolutely amazing that through our listening, we may communicate with the GOD of all creation!

"Communicating with GOD is the most extraordinary experience imaginable, yet at the same time it's the most natural one of all, because GOD is present in us at all times. Omniscient, omnipotent, personal & loving us without conditions. We are connected as one through our divine link with GOD." ― Eben Alexander

Is simply not talking really listening?

"People love to talk but hate to listen. Listening is not merely not talking, though even that is beyond most of our powers; it means taking a vigorous, human interest in what is being told us. You can listen like a blank wall or like a splendid auditorium where every sound comes back fuller & richer." ― Alice Duer Miller

I love to listen to creation & the myriad of sounds that we may hear if only we really listen!

"Perhaps, after all, our best thoughts come when we are alone. It is good to listen, not to voices but to the wind blowing, to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsy with the weight of pollen. If we attend to the music of the earth, we reach serenity. And then, in some unexplained way, we share it with others." ― Gladys Bagg Taber

When you are conversing with someone, are you really listening or are you figuring out what you will say next?

"The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don't talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk & listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire & tell stories." ― Paulo Coelho

"Are You Listening?" was made shortly after the earthquakes in Haiti a few years ago & it is an amazing song that rings true not just to the Haitians or others in moments of devastation & tragedy but to me, because I am listening, I hear people who are forgotten or overlooked on a daily basis & long for you or for me or for anyone to listen to them!

The USA & the world in general always seem to be there when tragedy strikes & we are horrified at the suffering that people are going through.

What about the children & youth in our own country that suffer every day?

What about the thousands of young people who become homeless each year?

What about children who have no family to be with them when they are hurting?

What will I do?

What will you do?

What am I doing?

If children have never experienced unconditional love, why is the world surprised at the significantly higher percentages of being homeless, not finishing school, or using drugs?

"We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past, but by the love we're not extending in the present." ― Marianne Williamson

If only all children & youth were loved, their futures would not be so negatively impacted by that which they had no control of to begin with.

How my heart & spirit ache of the callousness within me.

May that callousness be surgically removed by the HOLY SPIRIT & replaced with HIS supernatural love so that I may be able to do that which the LORD created me to do!

"Everything we do is infused with the energy with which we do it. If we're frantic, life will be frantic. If we're peaceful, life will be peaceful. And so our goal in any situation becomes inner peace." ― Marianne Williamson

"Listening!" by Christafari conveys not only the vibe of Key West, Florida being my new home but also expresses that truly listening to GOD will answer the question of "Is My Life Meaningful?"

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own."  Benjamin Disraeli

"In The Midst Of A Miami Storm!" is what I did 2 decades ago to listen to GOD during some intense challenges in my life & while I was writing & trying to be creative in helping a precious friend of mine these past few months, the LORD began speaking to me & the HOLY SPIRIT reignited a passion within me to do something that will help children & youth to profoundly experience a "HOME!" that is a blessing to them instead of the last place on earth they want to be.


"If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be & could be, he will become what he ought to be & could be." ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Pressure Destroys Or Creates Precious Diamonds!" & all children deserve to live in an environment in which they feel safe & are encouraged to be who they were created to be.

Conversations almost seem to be a thing of the past with the hectic schedules that are commonplace in the United States & that has resulted in a dramatic level of noise that  is deafening.

Is it possible to listen if we are physically deaf?

What about being spiritually deaf?

If you have 15 minutes, "Listen" by Drake Rustand is an amazing short film about getting past the noise & being able to listen more clearly in silence!

"Listen to all the conversations of our world, between nations as well as between individuals. They are, for the most part, dialogues of the deaf." ― Paul Tournier

If we desire to make a difference in this world, there are two extremely simple things that we may share which will open the ears & eyes of those who are unable to hear or see, compassion & kindness!

"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear & the blind can see." ―  Mark Twain

May we all speak & listen in such a way that others love to be around us!

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November 11, 2013

What Is A Veteran?

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of "empire building" by George Bush.

He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men & women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return was enough to bury those that did not return."

You could have heard a pin drop.

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French & American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, "Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them?"

A Boeing engineer stood up & replied quietly, "Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered & can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, & they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims & injured to & from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?"

You could have heard a pin drop.

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian & French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries.

Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, "Whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English." He then asked, "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?"

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies & Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German."

You could have heard a pin drop.

A group of Americans, retired teachers, recently went to France on a tour. Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. 

"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."

The American said, "The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."

"Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!"

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, "Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find any Frenchmen to show it to."

You could have heard a pin drop.

What Is a Veteran?

A "Veteran" whether active duty, discharged, retired, or reserve is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to, & including his life."

That is honor, there are too many people that don't get that.

May the LORD richly bless all the Veterans with HIS joy, love, & peace!

May we honor Veterans not only one day a year in November but each & every day of our lives!

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November 5, 2013

Promises from the LORD!

The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people & your father's household & go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation & I will bless you; I will make your name great, & you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, & whoever curses you I will curse;  & all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."—1

So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife & everything he had, & Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock & in silver & gold.—2

Then the LORD took Abram outside & said to him, "Look up into the sky & count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!"—3

"You shall have no other gods before ME."—4

GOD is not a man, so HE does not lie.  HE is not human, so HE does not change HIS mind. Has HE ever spoken & failed to act?  Has HE ever promised & not carried it through?—5

Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live & multiply, & you will enter & occupy the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors.  Remember how the LORD your GOD led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you & testing you to prove your character, & to find out whether or not you would obey HIS commands.—6

So obey the commands of the LORD your GOD by walking in HIS ways & fearing HIM.  For the LORD your GOD is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams & pools of water, with fountains & springs that gush out in the valleys & hills.  It is a land of wheat & barley; of grapevines, fig trees, & pomegranates; of olive oil & honey.  It is a land where food is plentiful & nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, & copper is abundant in the hills.  When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your GOD for the good land HE has given you.  But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your GOD & disobey HIS commands, regulations, & decrees that I am giving you today.  For when you have become full & prosperous & have built fine homes to live in, & when your flocks & herds have become very large & your silver & gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful!  Do not become proud at that time & forget the LORD your GOD, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt.—7

Otherwise, you may say in your heart, "My power & the strength of my hand made me this wealth."—8

Remember the LORD your GOD. HE is the ONE who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant HE confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.—9

If you fully obey the LORD your GOD & carefully follow all HIS commands I give you today, the LORD your GOD will set you high above all the nations on earth.  All these blessings will come upon you & accompany you if you obey the LORD your GOD:  You will be blessed in the city & blessed in the country.  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, & the crops of your land & the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds & the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket & your kneading trough will be blessed.  You will be blessed when you come in & blessed when you go out.  The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.  The LORD will send a blessing on your barns & on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your GOD will bless you in the land HE is giving you.  The LORD will establish you as HIS holy people, as HE promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your GOD & walk in HIS ways.  Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, & they will fear you.  The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock & the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.  The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of HIS bounty, to send rain on your land in season & to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your GOD that I give you this day & carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.  Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods & serving them.—10

"Be strong & courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.  Be strong & very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law MY servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day & night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous & successful.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong & courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your GOD will be with you wherever you go."—11

Early the next morning, as everyone got ready to leave for the desert near Tekoa, Jehoshaphat stood up & said, "Listen my friends, if we trust the LORD GOD & believe what these prophets have told us, the LORD will help us, & we will be successful."—12

Uzziah sought GOD during the days of Zechariah, who taught him to fear GOD. And as long as the king sought guidance from the LORD, GOD gave him success.—13

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners  or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, & on HIS law he meditates day & night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season & whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.—14

Fear the LORD, you HIS saints, for those who fear HIM lack nothing.  The lions may grow weak & hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.—15

Let them shout for joy & rejoice, who favor my vindication; & let them say continually, "The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of HIS servant."—16

For the LORD GOD is our sun & our shield.  HE gives us grace & glory.  The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.—17

Praise the LORD.  Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in HIS commands.  HIS children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.  Wealth & riches are in HIS house, & HIS righteousness endures forever.—18

All of you worship the LORD, so you must trust HIM to help & protect you.  The LORD will not forget to give us HIS blessing; HE will bless all of Israel & the family of Aaron.  All who worship the LORD, no matter who they are, will receive HIS blessing.  I pray that the LORD will let your family & your descendants always grow strong.  May the LORD who created the heavens & the earth give you HIS blessing. The LORD has kept the heavens for HIMSELF, but HE has given the earth to us humans.—19

MY child, do not forget MY teaching, but keep MY commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years & bring you prosperity.—20

Lean on, trust in, & be confident in the LORD with all your heart & mind & do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  In all your ways know, recognize, & acknowledge HIM, & HE will direct & make straight & plain your paths.—21

I love those who love ME, & those who seek ME find ME.  With ME are riches & honor, enduring wealth & prosperity.  MY fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver.  I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing wealth on those who love ME & making their treasuries full.—22

It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich, & HE adds no sorrow to it.—23

Adversity pursues sinners, but the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity.  A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, & the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.—24

Respect & serve the LORD!  Your reward will be wealth, a long life, & honor.—25

“If you are willing & obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist & rebel, you will be devoured by the sword."  For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.—26

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting GOD, the CREATOR of the ends of the earth.  HE will not grow tired or weary, & HIS understanding no one can fathom.  HE gives strength to the weary & increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired & weary, & young men stumble & fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run & not grow weary, they will walk & not be faint.—27

This is what the LORD says— your REDEEMER, the HOLY ONE of Israel: “I am the LORD your GOD, who teaches you what is good for you & leads you along the paths you should follow.  Oh, that you had listened to my commands!  Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river & righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.”—28

Now this is what the LORD ALMIGHTY says: "Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it."—29

Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from MY decrees & have not kept them. Return to ME, & I will return to you," says the LORD ALMIGHTY.  "But you ask, 'How are we to return?'  "Will a man rob GOD? Yet you rob ME."  But you ask, 'How do we rob YOU?'  "In tithes & offerings.  You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing ME.  Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in MY house. Test ME in this," says the LORD ALMIGHTY, "& see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven & pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.—30

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.—31

Don't worry & ask yourselves, "Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear?"  Only people who don't know GOD are always worrying about such things. Your FATHER in heaven knows that you need all of these.  But more than anything else, put GOD's work first & do what HE wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.—32

Ask & it will be given to you; seek & you will find; knock & the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; & to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  "Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your FATHER in heaven give good gifts to those who ask HIM!—33

JESUS looked at them intently & said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with GOD. Everything is possible with GOD."—34

JESUS told him:  "You can be sure that anyone who gives up home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land for ME & for the good news will be rewarded. In this world they will be given a hundred times as many houses & brothers & sisters & mothers & children & pieces of land, though they will also be mistreated. And in the world to come, they will have eternal life."—35

Give, & you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, & poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.—36

JESUS said to the people who believed in HIM, "You are truly MY disciples if you remain faithful to MY teachings.  And you will know the truth, & the truth will set you free."—37

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in ME will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the FATHER.  And I will do whatever you ask in MY name, so that the SON may bring glory to the FATHER.  You may ask ME for anything in MY name, & I will do it.  If you love ME, you will obey what I command.—38

Peter then said: "Now I am certain that GOD treats all people alike.  GOD is pleased with everyone who worships HIM & does right, no matter what nation they come from."—39

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace & may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.  As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations."  He is our father in the sight of GOD, in whom he believed—the GOD who gives life to the dead & calls things that are not as though they were.—40

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of GOD, but was strengthened in his faith & gave glory to GOD, being fully persuaded that GOD had power to do what HE had promised.—41

The SPIRIT HIMSELF testifies with our spirit that we are GOD's children.  Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of GOD & co-heirs with CHRIST, if indeed we share in hHIS sufferings in order that we may also share in HIS glory.—42

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love GOD, to those who are called according to HIS purpose.—43

What then shall we say to these things? If GOD is for us, who is against us?  HE who did not spare HIS own SON, but delivered HIM over for us all, how will HE not also with HIM freely give us all things?—44

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through HIM who loved us.—45

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, & the message is heard through the WORD of CHRIST.—46

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of GOD's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy & pleasing to GOD—this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test & approve what GOD's will is—HIS good, pleasing & perfect will.—47

GOD, who has called you into fellowship with HIS SON JESUS CHRIST our LORD, is faithful.—48

You surely know that your body is a temple where the HOLY SPIRIT lives. The SPIRIT is in you & is a gift from GOD. You are no longer your own.  GOD paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor GOD.—49

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body & make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.—50

Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, & your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.  I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.  You know the generous grace of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Though HE was rich, yet for your sakes HE became poor, so that by HIS poverty HE could make you rich.  Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, & you were the first to begin doing it.  Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have.  Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.  Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others & hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality.  Right now you have plenty & can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty & can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.  As the SCRIPTURES say, "Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, & those who gathered only a little had enough."—51

But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, & he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for GOD loves a cheerful giver.  And GOD is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.—52

For GOD is the ONE who provides seed for the farmer & then bread to eat. In the same way, HE will provide & increase your resources & then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.  Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank GOD.—53

Consider Abraham: "He believed GOD, & it was credited to him as righteousness." Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham.  The SCRIPTURE foresaw that GOD would justify the Gentiles by faith, & announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you."  So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.—54

And now that you belong to CHRIST, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, & GOD’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.—55

Now that we are HIS children, GOD has sent the SPIRIT of HIS SON into our hearts. And HIS SPIRIT tells us that GOD is our FATHER.  You are no longer slaves. You are GOD's children, & you will be given what HE has promised.—56

Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.  Do not be deceived: GOD cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the SPIRIT, from the SPIRIT will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.—57

All praise to GOD, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with CHRIST.—58

Now glory be to GOD who by HIS mighty power that is at work within us, is able to carry out HIS purpose & do super-abundantly far over  & above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.—59

You must have the same attitude that CHRIST JESUS had.  Though HE was GOD, HE did not think of equality with GOD as something to cling to.  Instead, HE gave up HIS divine privileges; HE took the humble position of a slave & was born as a human being.  When HE appeared in human form, HE humbled HIMSELF in obedience to GOD & died a criminal’s death on a cross.  Therefore, GOD elevated HIM to the place of highest honor & gave HIM the name above all other names, that at the name of JESUS every knee should bow, in heaven & on earth & under the earth, & every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of GOD the FATHER.—60

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless & pure, children of GOD without fault in a crooked & depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of CHRIST that I did not run or labor for nothing.—61

Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The LORD is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to GOD.  And the peace of GOD, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts & your minds in CHRIST JESUS.  Finally, brothers, 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.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the GOD of peace will be with you.—62

And my GOD will supply all your needs according to HIS riches in glory in CHRIST JESUS.—63

And now, just as you accepted CHRIST JESUS as your LORD, you must continue to follow HIM.  Let your roots grow down into HIM, & let your lives be built on HIM. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, & you will overflow with thankfulness.  Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies & high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking & from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from CHRIST.  For in CHRIST lives all the fullness of GOD in a human body.  So you also are complete through your union with CHRIST, who is the head over every ruler & authority.—64

Let the peace of CHRIST rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Let the WORD of CHRIST dwell in you richly as you teach & admonish one another with all wisdom, & as you sing psalms, hymns & spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to GOD.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the LORD JESUS, giving thanks to GOD the FATHER through HIM.—65

But you, man of GOD, flee from all this, & pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance & gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  In the sight of GOD, who gives life to everything, & of CHRIST JESUS, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, which GOD will bring about in HIS own time—GOD, the blessed & only RULER, the KING of kings & LORD of lords, who alone is immortal & who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To HIM be honor & might forever. Amen.  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in GOD, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, & to be generous & willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.—66

For GOD has not given us a spirit of fear & timidity, but of power, love, & self-discipline.—67

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for & certain of what we do not see.—68

And without faith it is impossible to please GOD, because anyone who comes to HIM must believe that HE exists & that HE rewards those who earnestly seek HIM.—69

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise.  Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him & anoint him with oil in the name of the LORD.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the LORD will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other & pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful & effective.  Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, & it did not rain on the land for three & a half years.  Again he prayed, & the heavens gave rain, & the earth produced its crops.—70

How great is the love the FATHER has lavished on us, that we should be called children of GOD!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know HIM.  Dear friends, now we are children of GOD, & what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when HE appears, we shall be like HIM, for we shall see HIM as HE is.  Everyone who has this hope in HIM purifies himself, just as HE is pure.—71

Behold, I am coming soon!  MY reward is with ME, & I will give to everyone according to what he has done.  I am the ALPHA & the OMEGA, the FIRST & the LAST, the BEGINNING & the END.—72

 1)  Genesis               12:1-3          NIV
 2)        "                       13:1-2         NIV
 3)        "                      15:5              NLT
 4)  Exodus                 20:3              NAS
 5)  Numbers             23:19            NLT      
 6)  Deuteronomy    8:1-2             NLT                  
 7)           "                   8:6-14           NLT      
 8)           "                   8:17               NAS    
 9)           "                   8:18               NLT      
10)          "                   28:1-14         NIV      
11) Joshua                1:6-9              NIV                  
12) 2 Chronicles       20:20             CEV                
13) 2         "                 26:5                NLT      
14) Psalm                   1:1-3              NIV      
15)     "                         34:9-10         NIV
16)     "                         35:27             NAS
17)     "                         84:11             NLT                  
18)     "                         112:1-3         NIV      
19)     "                         115:11-16     CEV    
20) Proverbs               3:1-2              NIV                  
21)       "                       3:5-6               AB       
22)       "                       8:17-21          NIV
23)       "                       10:22              NAS    
24)       "                       13:21-22        NAS    
25)       "                       22:4                 CEV    
26) Isaiah                    1:19-20          NIV                  
27)     "                         40:28-31        NIV      
28)     "                         48:17-18        NLT      
29) Haggai                1:5-6               NIV
30) Malachi               3:7-10             NIV                  
31) Matthew               5:5                   NKJV               
32)       "                        6:31-33          CEV                
33)       "                        7:7-11             NIV                  
34) Mark                      10:27               NLT                  
35)     "                          10:29-30         CEV                
36) Luke                       6:38                  NLT                  
37) John                       8:31-32           NLT
38)    "                           14:12-15         NIV
39) Acts                        10:34-35         CEV
40) Romans                4:16-17            NIV
41)       "                       4:20-21             NIV
42)       "                       8:16-17             NIV
43)       "                       8:28                   NKJV
44)       "                       8:31-32             NAS
45)       "                       8:37                   NKJV
46)       "                       10:17                NIV
47)       "                       12:1-2               NIV
48) 1 Corinthians      1:9                     NIV
49) 1          "                 6:19-20            CEV
50) 1          "                 9:24-27            NIV
51) 2 Corinthians       8:7-15              NLT
52) 2          "                 9:6-8                 NKJV
53) 2          "                 9:10-11             NLT
54) Galatians             3:6-9                 NIV
55)        "                      3:29                   NLT
56)        "                      4:6-7                 CEV
57)        "                      6:6-10               NIV
58) Ephesians            1:3                     NLT
59)         "                     3:20                   AB
60) Philippians          2:5-11               NLT
61)         "                     2:14-16             NIV
62)         "                     4:4-9                 NIV
63)         "                     4:19                   NAS
64) Colossians            2:6-10               NLT
65)          "                    3:15-17             NIV
66) 1 Timothy             6:11-19             NIV
67) 2 Timothy             1:7                     NLT
68) Hebrews               11:1                   NIV
69)        "                      11:6                   NIV
70) James                   5:13-18            NIV
71) 1 John                   3:1-3                NIV
72) Revelation            22:12-13         NIV    

AB—Amplified Bible                                                   
CEV—Contemporary English Version             
NAS—New American Standard                                  
NIV—New International Version
NKJV—New King James Version
NLT—New Living Translation

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