Praying Heart Whispers: Can We Hear Them?

        Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.                                                                    (Galatians 6:2)

Somewhere beneath the laughter

If we listen loud enough,

We can hear the heart-sounds whisper:

“I am hurting; I am sad.

Can you help me? Do you hear me?

I am struggling; it is hard.”

Whispers speak above the laughter-

When we listen loud enough.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)

We are commanded to help each other and share the burdens and sorrows of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Can we hear their heart-sounds whispering to us? Do we listen loud enough?

Do we each read the list of names and the prayer requests in our weekly prayer insert in the bulletin? Do heart-sounds begin whispering to us? Can we hear the hurts, the sorrows, the disappointments, the regrets, the frustrations, the struggles, the pains, the burdens, the loneliness, the concerns, the fears, the losses, the needs, the wants, the hopes. . .

Do we pray the whispers?

How often do we pass each other and hear only the laughter? There are whispers from the heart being spoken all around us. Sometimes, they are written down for public prayer; sometimes, they are shared quietly with those we feel closest to; sometimes, they are not spoken at all—yet God still hears.  “. . . Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?” (Psalm 44:21)

God will always hear the whispers of our hearts, but for us to hear what is unspoken, we need Jesus in our own heart to help us listen to the murmurs. Let us know each other more deeply–beyond the surface, beneath the laughter—and listen with our hearts, more like Jesus.  “. . .The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7) In order to “carry each other’s burdens,” we must also look at the hearts of our brothers and sisters—and listen loud enough.

(Sharon G. Tate 07/30/17 blog)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

REMEMBERING OUR LORD’S SACRIFICE ALWAYS

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words. (Luke 24:1-7)

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Our memories, links in the chain of events that form our lives. We capture these events and the people involved in them through writing, photos and videos; store these links in files, picture frames, photo albums, computers, flash drives, and the cloud; and try to hold the images in our personal mind cache, stored away for retrieval when reminiscence tears our eyes and touches our hearts.

Without the means to retrieve these memories–through a written record, connections with those involved in them, or captured images to assist in remembrance–there are gaps in the chain, missing links that make us search, question, and seek the answers to bind the past to the present and find meaning in our lives.

God gave us the memory of our Lord’s sacrifice in the written Word. The answers are provided for what we seek inside us– to know Christ and have that connection with Him, the true meaning to our lives. Although we were not physically present with Jesus, we do see the cross, hear His last words, feel the agony of the nails, touch the wooden post stained with blood and look up to see the Savior dying for us as we connect in memory. Binding the past to our present life, we remember.

On the first day of the week, in the manner of the apostles as recorded in Acts 20:7 (On the first day of the week we came together to break bread…), we remember our Lord’s sacrifice in the act of communion: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:23- 26).

We are part of the chain, the links that bind us to Him and that day. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord, adopted sons and daughters of the Father. The memory is stored within us. We do not have to search, question, and seek—for God has provided the images. Our retrieval of these memories of our Lord’s sacrifice of love, beyond the first day of the week communion, indicates our commitment and love to Him. Do we remember often? Do we touch the cross in our minds, see our Lord looking down, and hear Him crying out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34)

But Jesus did not remain on the cross.  The Word tells us death could not hold Him. He is Risen–and we remember.

WE MUST REMEMBER ALWAYS. . .

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/16/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

BETRAYER OF JESUS: Could it be me?

 betrayal breaking God's heart

 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22: 3-6)

ME: When did I allow Satan to enter my heart for profit or human approval –and betray my Lord . . .

B E T R A Y A L

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared My bread has turned against Me.’ 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me; and whoever accepts Me accepts the One who sent Me.” 21 After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray Me.” (John 13:18-21)

ME: How have I caused my Lord to be “troubled in spirit” during the times when I was the one who betrayed Him by not following His commands, by not living my life fully for Him …

B E T R A Y A L

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:34)

ME: Have I ever denied Jesus? Did I allow an opportunity pass by when I could have stood up for Him—but didn’t-and, thus, betrayed Him . . .

B E T R A Y A L

45He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!” 47 While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. (Matthew 26:45-49)

ME: Has my love for the Lord ever been untrue? Have I betrayed His love for me?

 B E T R A Y A L

Will Jesus ever say to me: “Here comes My betrayer!”

             Let us be true to our Lord, persevering in faith and watching with eyes wide open,                        focused on Jesus with

                   LOYALTY  FAITHFULNESS  DEVOTION

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/02/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Following the Voice of the Lord

God speaks His Voice

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27)

 I heard the Voice. I questioned Who was speaking.

I heard the Voice. I was too busy to listen.

I heard the Voice. I didn’t want to get involved.

I heard the Voice. I couldn’t possibly be the instrument.

I heard the Voice. I began to feel the urgency.

I heard the Voice. I spoke out loud, “All right, Lord!”

So I called my best friend and asked for her daughter’s number. I said I had to call her daughter, that it was urgent. I had never called her daughter before on the phone. This seemed confusing to my friend, but she gave me the number after I told her that her daughter absolutely had to go to Bible study this Sunday.

I heard the young woman’s voice when I called, a question in the tone after I identified myself. Her thoughts spoke in the pause, “Why would she be calling me?”

I told her that I heard His Voice, over and over again the entire day, telling me to call her, urging me to tell her to attend the young adult Bible class Sunday morning. I could hear the question again in her response, but after continued efforts to convince her to attend the Bible class, she said she would consider it. The voice wasn’t what I had wanted to hear, but I hung up the phone and prayed that she would go.

Have you ever heard His Voice, compelling you to go, to do, to speak, to become involved? How did you answer Him?

I have heard His Voice. He was there, whispering to me, calling to me repeatedly all day long. I could not shut Him out. I could not ignore Him. I had to make the call.

This story is real. And the ending was fairy tale in human lore. The Bible teacher–a young man, not yet engaged– spoke on marriage that Sunday morning. Happily ever after, there was an engagement and, then, a marriage and, later, a family. To this day, this young couple is very involved in youth ministry, in teaching, and in leading young people to hear and respond to His Voice.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:21)

Let us listen and hear His Voice leading us, guiding us, directing us to do His Will.

 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations;

I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10)

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 01/15/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

SINGING PRAISES TO OUR LORD

sing-to-the-lord

Approaching the Lord

In vocal praise,

With words of song,

Penned from hearts

Joyful with love

To the God of grace,

Thankful with hope

To the God of mercy.

 Throughout scripture, it is evidenced that men and women sang praises to the Lord:

Psalms 95:1– O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Exodus 5: 1-2 -Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted. Both horse and driver He has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Ephesians 5:19 – Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

Psalms 13:6 – I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Psalms 105:2 -Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.

1 Corinthians 14:15 -So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.

Isaiah 12:5 -Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

Acts 16:25 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Psalms 71:8 – My mouth is filled with Your praise, declaring Your splendor all day long.                         

Hebrews 2:12– I will declare Your name to my brothers and sisters;  in the assembly I will sing Your praises.

Psalms 104:33 -I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as l live.

Approaching the Lord

With vocal praise,

Raising our voices

In song and hymn

To our listening God,

Who hears our hearts

Speaking love,

Offering thanks.

 Let us be like the Psalmist David and sing to the Lord all our lives, offering praise to our God as long as we each shall live on this earth—and beyond into eternity with Him.

(Sharon  G. Tate blog 12/18/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Wise Seek Wisdom: The Journey to Worship Christ

wise_men_still_seek_him_b

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” 1

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1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”

. . .Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Matthew 2:1-2, 7-10)

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The wise men did not need Herod to prod them to follow the star in search of the Christ child. They had already determined in their hearts and minds that this was their path. They had traveled far and would not be deterred from seeking and worshipping Him who was prophesied.

The guide: A night light in the sky to lead them to the Light who would extinguish all night, all fear of darkness.

They had seen His star in the East.  Significantly, the east is the place of sunrise.  A new dawn for mankind was beginning in a birth that would change the world. The wise men came to worship this child who would grow and keep “increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). As a young lad of twelve, He would be found “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; 47 and all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers”  (Luke 2:46-47). As a grown man, He would teach in the synagogue; and the teachers would be awed by His learning: “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to him, and such miracles as these performed by his hands?” (Mark 6:2)

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption… (I Corinthians 1:30)

The wise men sought the one who, they believed, had “been born king of the Jews.” They had traveled a great distance to find Him. “The star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was” (Matthew 27:9).  Although they did not understand His kingdom would not be of this earth, they were right to seek Him and worship Him, the embodiment of “wisdom from God.”  When we, likewise, choose to seek and worship the Lord, He will go before us, guide us, and lead us through the darkness, even if by a glimmer, until His full glory is revealed.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)

And the wise still seek Him– not by a star, not by fate, not by destiny but by an earnest desire and need to find the Christ and worship Him.

1 Lisa Mantchev, Eyes Like Stars. www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/stars

(Sharon G. Tate blog 12/11/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Timing: Always the Right Time for His Purpose

gods-time

 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David, 33 and He will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.  (Luke 1:26-38)

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“How will this be?”  We, like Mary, may ask this question when our limited human understanding cannot comprehend God’s unlimited power. We are grounded by gravity on this earth and think in terms of the physical instead of the spiritual. Having a child as a virgin was inconceivable during Mary’s time. It would be a miracle. If this occurred today, however, many people would, more than likely, reason that it was a conception of scientific achievement, controlled by man, and not a miracle of God. The question in our time might be phrased in a different way: “How will this be done by scientific methods?”  

 1To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die…”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

Why that time period for “the holy one to be born (who) will be called the Son of God?”  It was God’s selected time for His purpose to be fulfilled. God’s perfect timing.  To the One who sees and foresees what we cannot, the child to be named Jesus was conceived and born at exactly the right time in the right place to the right person in human history.

Whatever plans God has for you and for me, we must trust as the right timing in the right place with purposeful planning through Godly intervention. Our response should be like Mary’s: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

(Sharon G. Tate 12/04/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Good Shepherd, Our Lord Jesus Christ

good shepherd holding baby sheep

A Psalm of David: Psalm 23:1-4

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
    He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 Without the shepherd, the sheep under his care will be lost. They will not know what to do or where to go to find sustenance or shelter. Sheep need to be led; they need to be told and shown what to do and where to go. The green pastures, the quiet waters, the right paths are only attainable through the shepherd. To reach these, the sheep must hearken to the shepherd’s voice and follow only him, staying near the one with the rod and the staff, the one who corrects and protects.

Jesus is the Shepherd, the One who guides, leads, protects, and comforts:

11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me d I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16 “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. “ (John 10: 11, 14-16)

Are we the sheep who will follow the Shepherd to green pastures and quiet waters OR are we the sheep who follow our own paths to arid deserts and dried up basins?

Are we the sheep who will follow the Shepherd down paths to refreshment and comfort OR are we the sheep who turn away to take the wide road ending in hunger and longing?

The Good Shepherd wants us all to be in the same flock, together in the sheep pen, where He can take care of us. Listen to His voice and follow Him. His path leads to eternity with the One Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world… 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’ “  (Matthew 25:31-34, 41)

Are we the sheep who will follow the Master Shepherd to the right paths OR have we become the goats that follow the deceiver who shepherds us down the wrong roads? Whom we follow will determine our path here and our journey into eternity.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 09/04/16)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

God Has The Plan For All Time

gods-time

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“It is too late.”
The old man shook his head.

“It is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be.”
He smiled. “There is a plan, Dor.” 1

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Human “measures” of time:  Attempts to control, restrain, encapsulate time.

–Hourglass sands sifting downward, a visible motion of forward time.

–Watch hands advancing time in a procession of seconds, minutes, hours.

–A time construct for awakening with alarm and snooze buttons.

–Lights at street intersections indicating times to stop or move ahead.

–Anti-aging creams with Retinol A, attempting reversals of time.

 God’s measure of time:  He has the plan for all time.

–But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Peter 3:8)

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 6-8)

–Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

32“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. (Mark 13:32-33)

TIME

We cannot hold onto it, for it is not tangible.

We cannot measure it, for there is no measure.

We cannot control it, for it is in God’s control.

God has a plan: (Ecclesiastes 3:2-8)

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven

(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

“It is never too late or too soon. It is when it is supposed to be.” 1

 1Albom, Mitch. The Time Keeper.www.goodreads.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/28/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Why, Lord” –The child asks, approaching the Father.

Confidence in God with child praying

“WHY?”  The question all toddlers seem to ask—repeatedly, again and again, on-going, without ceasing, right up to the moment they finally give in to sleep. And we, the parents, breathe out a sigh of relief, being freed from the seemingly endless “WHYs” for a little while.

But this question from a child, though somewhat annoying in repetition, does indicate curiosity and, likely, wonder. The “Why?” question wants a reason, an explanation, some rationale, a justification. The toddler doesn’t want an in-depth explanatory for his or her question, but does want a response that is more than “Just because.”

Before God, we are, often, toddlers, still learning to grow up in His Word. And most of us have asked God the “Why?” question more than once. We have wanted a reason for a tragedy, an explanation for a seemingly senseless act of violence, some rationale for a diagnosis of a terminal disease, or a justification for what we have regarded as unfair treatment by others. “Why, God?” we have asked, again and again.

David, Gideon, and the prophet Habakkuk asked the “Why?” question before God:

–“Why, Lord, do you stand far off?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? “(Psalm 10:1)

–“O God, why have you rejected us forever? Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?  . . . Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?” (Psalm 74:1, 11)

— “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13)

–“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” (Habakkuk 1:3)

Can we/should we question God?

 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” (Romans 9:20 with reference to Isaiah 29:16; 45:9)

As “toddlers” before our God, we are very small, looking upward to this Awesome Presence, our Father. He listens to our questions, our concerns, even our “WHYs” if we approach Him in a manner of honor, submission, and respect. His reason, explanation, rationale, or justification is His own, from knowledge and understanding we don’t possess. What we should bring before Him is the faith of a child, looking up to the Father with complete trust that His arms are secure. We must trust that the “Why?” is for His reason—whether one of protection, testing, future plans, impact on others, or even our own salvation.

 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18: 2-5)

Let us be like the little child, approaching our Father’s open arms to ask our “WHY?” questions with acceptance that He has already answered them.

With his feathers He will cover you,
under his wings you will find safety.
His truth is your shield and armor.
(Psalm 91:4)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/14/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word