KING SAUL – HE STARTED OUT RIGHT

king saulMy Pastor has been speaking on this series, “Finishing Well” for about 9 weeks now and it has been life changing.  I’ve really been enjoying it.  Matter of fact, if you’d like to check them out you can go to our church website and watch them all.  www.shekinah.tv 

This particular blog today is part of a challenge/contest for our Youth.  I am going to be speaking on this story on a Wednesday night (Holy Spirit help me on this!)  So I am placing a challenge on our Flipside Youth FB page.

They were given a chapter and two verses to find but not the book name.  They had to find this blog first on my website.  The first youth (age 12-18 and still in high school) to comment on the Flipside FB page with the scripture typed out receives $20!  These particular verses are advice that we should all hear from the prophet Samuel.

Okay so here it is…This morning I was reading in 1 Samuel.  My main focus was on chapters 9 – 12.  This is about when Saul meets Samuel and Samuel tells him what’s going to happen to him.

My  message will be on this.

We will cover how he was obedient to his father when his dad asked  him to go look for their lost donkeys.

How he was walking with the right people (it happened to be a servant) and he took his wise advice.

And how both of these were part of a bigger plan, to anoint him as King.

I believe this is a powerful story for our Youth to grasp.

Unfortunately, King Saul started out right, but didn’t finish well. Pride was the beginning of his end.

My heart’s desire is to see this generation of youth finish well!

(for those who want to know what they were given, it was just 12:20)

FROM WHAT CUP ARE YOU DRINKING?

20140827_102048I was doing a Bible study with my kids the other day and it was about the cup bearer, Nehemiah.  I never realized, until this study, that the cup bearer’s job was to taste the King’s drink first to see if it was poisoned or not.  Who would want that job??  However, it was an important position to have for the plan God had for him.  It put him in a close, trusting relationship with the King and gave him great favor as well.  So when he felt God calling him to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, that King’s favor came in handy big time.

We too are called to drink from a cup of a King and it may seem risky. It will come with suffering and persecution, but oh the relationship, the favor, the reward is so worth it!

 “Jesus told them (his disciples), “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. – Mark 10:39

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17

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LEARNING TO SHARE

20130505_135236When I hear the word “share”, I automatically think of kids sharing a toy or ball or something along those lines.   Yet it’s so much more.  I believe teaching children to share is so vital at a young age because it prepares us for adulthood.  It prepares you for relationships, for marriage and for ministry.

As a pastor’s wife, I have really had to learn this whole sharing concept all over again.  It will be 10 years this December and God is still teaching me how to do this.  I have to share my husband with a whole congregation of people and to be honest, sometimes I just want to be stingy!  Just last night, he had to meet some people at the church so he asked if we had plans.  I said, “no….but”.  My only “but” was that I wanted to spend time with him.  So I said, “no, just wanted to spend time with you but really, that’s more important”.  Soon I will be able to just leave it at “no”.  Now a few years ago (okay possibly just a few months ago) I would have said, in a very guilt stricken voice, “No, but I wanted to spend time with you…do you HAVE to go?”  Like I said, I’m still learning. 😉

Imagine for a moment how different your life would be if you never learned the importance of sharing.  You most likely wouldn’t have many friends as a kid because you wouldn’t share your toys.  You wouldn’t have anyone to keep you accountable as a young adult because you never shared your heart or feelings.  There are so many things you have to share in marriage, how would that work out for ya? You share your money, your house, your bed, your dreams, your kids. And then there’s your ministry (we all have one).   If you’ve never learned to share, how would you know how to share the gospel? If you have the mindset that “mine is mine” , then you might think the same about Jesus “He did that for me, not you.”

Sharing can be a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice that is pleasing to God. And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:6  Did God not share the ultimate sacrifice with us? He shared His RICHES, His GLORY, His HOME, His SPIRIT, His SON!

The Bible mentions sharing a LOT….here are just a few verses that caught my attention.

They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. Psalm 112:9
Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. Psalm 145:7
John replied, “If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” Luke 3:11
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 2Corinthians 9:8
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. 1Peter 5:10

 

RUTH – PURSUING HER REDEEMER

ruth-bible-book-wordcloudI’ve always enjoyed the story of Ruth.  I love  when she says, “where you go, I’ll go” and “your God will be my God”.  I’ve just always read it as a story of faithfulness and following God’s will no matter what.

Today before I began reading Ruth for the umpteenth time, I asked God to reveal something to me that I’ve never seen before.  Maybe this has been obvious to others, but it was new to me so I thought I’d share.

First He showed me that Ruth’s sister in law, Orpah represents all of those who turn away from Jesus to follow their own ways.  She is never mentioned again after she goes back.

Naomi represents those who tell us about Jesus.  It could be your grandparents, parents, teachers, pastor or friends.  They teach us who He is, why He is important, and what it takes to come into a relationship with Him.

Then Ruth, she represents those who leave their old life behind, choosing an unknown path to pursue their Redeemer.

In complete humbleness, Ruth lays at the feet of her redeemer, Boaz.  She is accepted as his bride and as a bonus, she has access to all that he has.

When we humble ourselves and lay our lives down at the feet of Jesus, He WILL redeem you, you WILL become His bride and you WILL inherit all that He has.

And by the way…Ruth and Boaz have a son named Obed.  In Hebrew his name means servant and worshiper.

When you die to your old self and join with your Redeemer, a servant worshiper comes forth – Hallelujah!

THE VICTORY IS ALREADY YOURS!

Victory_in_JesusGideon heard from God in several ways.  First God sent a prophet to speak to all of the Israelites.  Then an angel of the Lord came and spoke directly to Gideon.  When the angel of the Lord disappeared, Gideon heard God’s voice giving him directions. Then God SHOWED him through signs and miracles.  He tested God and God answered. He told Gideon that he would use him to gain victory over the Midianites.

Even after all of this, I believe God knew (because He knows EVERYTHING) that there was still doubt in Gideon’s mind that this would happen so He even used the enemy’s DREAM to speak to Gideon.  When Gideon overheard their dream, he finally had the confidence that God would use him to gain this victory.

Once this battle was won, Gideon went on with some overwhelming confidence and conquered more enemies.  It’s a fascinating story.  Oh and did I mention that Gideon was the LEAST of his family, who’s clan was the WEAKEST in their whole tribe?  Yet God used him to do GREAT and MIGHTY things for Israel.  It’s found in Judges 6 – 8.

This story will make you think about how God is trying to speak to you (at least it did me.)  Unlike Gideon though, the victory has already been won FOR you.  God is now using the Holy Spirit, dreams, and others to make you realize that.  You are MORE than a conqueror because it is not you that had to win the fight, it’s Jesus inside of you that has already won it.  It’s a victory that comes with an advantage! Believe and receive the fact that Jesus has done this for you and you will never face anything alone.

“It is not a matter of our doing our best for Him, but of Christ being His best in and through us.” – Pastor Roger Velasquez

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

LOOKS NICE, SMELLS NICE

20140816_111933My hubby and I were outside pulling weeds that had overtaken our garden.  But it wasn’t just the weeds that were out of control.  Last year I had planted this tiny little mint plant.  It smells great and it has really pretty purple flowers.  Every now and then I would go out and pick some of the leaves and make mint tea.  But I’ve let it get out of control and now it’s taken over a third of the garden and has attracted a whole lot of insects (including lots of bees!)  Amazing how something so good turned so bad because I let it.

What have you allowed into your life because it seemed innocent enough?  And now you’re spending all your time trying to deal with it because it got out of hand.  Something can look nice and smell nice but too much of it isn’t always the best for you.

“Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!” – Proverbs 25:16

EVER BEEN STUCK SOMEWHERE?

tdadYes, I’m one of those parents who sees their kid in a situation and says “Wait!  I have to get a picture of this first!”.  This day at     Chic fil A was no exception.

It was time to go so I told my daughter to  get her brother so we could leave.  She came back and said, “He can’t come”.  I said, “what do you mean, he can’t come?”  She said, “He’s stuck”.  He had been climbing up on the top of the slide (where he wasn’t supposed to) and slipped down into this tight spot he couldn’t get out of.  Poor guy was trying so hard but because he had his socks on, he just couldn’t get out.  I even tried to get him out and I couldn’t.  However, his big strong daddy was there and was able to lift him up with no problem.

Moral of the story….sometimes we get ourselves in situations we shouldn’t be in and aren’t able to go where God wants us to because of it.  Praise God we have a loving Father who cares about us and is always there to help us out.

“But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!” – Psalm 54:4

(Disclaimer: I received my son’s permission to post this.)

LET HIS LIGHT SHINE

clay-oil-lamp-burning_1154631_inlThis morning I was doing a little self evaluation.  So I began reading the red letters of my Bible, the words Jesus spoke during His time on earth.  He is the only One to whom we should compare ourselves, He is the ultimate role model.  It is only through His righteousness that we can be made whole.  If we have Jesus, which is light, living inside of us, there should be no room for darkness in our lives.

This is where the self evaluation came from.  I know I have Jesus inside my heart, yet, I still think things or say things that I shouldn’t and that He wouldn’t.  So where am I going wrong here?

I read this in Luke 11:35-36 and I just kept thinking about it. Jesus said, “Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness.  If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”

So somewhere in me I am not allowing Jesus to fully shine.  There must be things I am allowing into my heart and mind that are not of Him or the only things coming out of me would reflect Jesus.

Lord, I purpose to renew my mind to Your Word and to understand the Righteousness and power that live in me; and as my mind is renewed,  whatever darkness that may be lurking in my mind will be replaced by You, Your word and Your righteousness.   I will not allow the window of my soul to see or seek things that would be like a lamp shade that would cover Your light.  Holy Spirit, please help me to control my thoughts, taking every thought captive to the Word of God and help me to choose my words carefully so that everything I do and say will glorify you.  Holy Spirit reveal any areas in my mind that need to be renewed or where darkness lurks and needs to be exposed.  In Jesus’ name, I pray…AMEN!

Receiving the Light
“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness.” – Luke 11:33-34

ARE YOU LISTENING?

Kid-listeningI received a revelation I really needed this morning and I was trying so hard to put it into words.  I typed and re-typed and then had my husband read it.  He couldn’t quite understand my point to it either but he helped me make changes and edits. Then he had to leave so we prayed and he prayed specifically for this blog.  So I sat back down determined that now it was going to come together….still nothing.

Now the kids are awake and hungry and the phone is ringing and I just can’t get in writing what God put on my heart.  I would think I have it and then it wouldn’t make sense.  I was so frustrated at this point because these things usually come out so easily.  So finally (four hours later) I realize something isn’t right, duh.  So I asked God to reveal the problem to me and He said, “This was just for you”.

Now I didn’t tell you that so that you would be wondering what it was but because I feel as though this was the thing I was SUPPOSED to share this morning.  If we have questions about God’s word, ask Him and then be willing to listen.

“After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, “Listen to Me, all of you, and understand” – Mark 7:14

WHAT MIGHT YOU MISS OUT ON?

buriedtreasure-e1375411056379I’ve been reading in Joshua and came across the story of Achan.   When the Israelites were sent to destroy Jericho, God gave them specific instructions in Joshua 6:18-19.  He said, “Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on the camp of Israel.  Everything made from silver, gold, bronze, or iron is sacred to the Lord and must be brought into His treasury.”

Well, this Achan fella got a little greedy and he admits (after being pointed out) 7:21 “ Among the plunder I saw a beautiful robe from Babylon, 200 silver coins, and a bar of gold weighing more than a pound.  I wanted them so much that I took them. They are hidden in the ground beneath my tent, with the silver buried deeper than the rest.”

As a result of this direct disobedience to God, Achan and his family were stoned and their bodies were burned.

Now my point to this isn’t that disobeying will cause His wrath to fall upon you…no, because thanks to our Savior, Jesus Christ, God doesn’t do that anymore.  The thing about this story that really interested me was right after the death of Achan and his family, the next chapter starts out, “Then the Lord said to Joshua….take all your fighting men and attack Ai…you will destroy them as you destroyed Jericho….BUT THIS TIME YOU MAY KEEP THE PLUNDER AND THE LIVESTOCK FOR YOURSELVES”!

Oh had Achan just been patient and obedient instead of fulfilling his own lustful desires!  He and his family would still be alive God would probably have GIVEN him much more than he had taken for himself.

Do you want something so bad that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it….even disobey God?  God says, “Stand still and know that I am God”.  Whatever you desire may be just around the corner and you’re either going to miss out on it because you’re trying to go after it yourself OR it’s not going to be nearly as great as what God has planned for you.  Don’t seek the treasure yourself….seek God and let HIM hand the treasure TO you!

HE’S WATCHING YOU

stock-footage-izmir-turkey-sept-time-lapse-crowd-people-at-amusement-park-september-izmirMy family had been at an amusement park all day, matter of fact, we pretty much opened it up and shut it down.  So needless to say when it was closing time, we were so ready to get to the exit.

Our seven year old, however, was not so much in a hurry and was lagging behind still watching everyone on the final rides.

A crowd of people started to pass and I knew that any minute he was going to look around and feel like he was lost but I knew he wasn’t because I had my eye on him the whole time.  Sure enough, he looked up and I saw that moment of panic in his face until he made eye contact with me.  Then there was a huge smile and he ran to catch up to me.

Now if my son had never made eye contact with me….and was walking around searching, you can guarantee I would have reached out my hand and grabbed hold of my child.

God is watching you all the time….even when you may feel lost, even when the world has seemed to grab your attention for a moment, He’s there, all you have to do is look inside.

 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.” – Luke 15:4-5

PERSISTENCE AND PREPERATION

checkersAfter church Sunday, my dad reminded me of a story from my childhood.  He was reading the paper or something one day and I came and asked him if we could play checkers.  He said “No, maybe later”…later came (which was probably about 2 minutes)…answer was still no. I just kept asking though and finally I went and set up the checkerboard, brought it to him and said, “Red or Black?”  Guess what?  I got my game of checkers on!

There are two lessons that come to mind through this.  Persistence and preparation.  Luke 11 says to keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for.  However, if you haven’t prepared your heart and mind to believe God has these wonderful things for you, how are you going to receive them?

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. ” – Luke 11:9-10 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” – James 1:5-7

 

IT’S NOT ABOUT ME

wpid-Photo-Aug-13-2013-914-PMDavid didn’t always have it together, he didn’t always do things right but he most certainly had his head on straight and his heart in the right place in Psalms 9 when he sang,I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart;  I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done.  I will be filled with joy because of YOU.  I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.”.

We give ourselves so much praise and accolades that I believe we completely overlook or fail to remember the fact that God Himself has created EVERYTHING.  He sent Jesus Christ (Himself) to make a way for eternal life AND sent the Holy Spirit to fill us and direct our paths.  He has done all the good FOR us.  “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” – James 1:17    Quite frankly, the only thing we can really give ourselves credit for, is screwing up but who wants to own up to that?

When I wake up in the morning and my heart is overwhelmed with joy, I have to know that it comes from the the love of Jesus inside me, that free gift that God gave all of us.  If I think it’s because of something great I did the day before, it’s a false sense of joy that isn’t going to last.  I’m not perfect, but Jesus is and He deserves all praise. And if my joy comes from the praises of family and friends or because of what they did for me, that’s not going to last either.

Father, I pray that I would only give my praises and accolades to the One who deserves them, You!  It’s not about me…never was.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN

WALKING IN THE LIGHT

pool waterI was cleaning my pool today and when the sun was shining bright on it, it looked perfectly clear then all of a sudden I looked down and saw a whole bunch of dirt and stuff floating around.  Then I realized that some clouds had come and covered up the sun so when the water was darker, somehow I could see more dirt.  So the dirt was still there, but the sun was so bright, I could only see the brightness reflecting off the water.

Isn’t that what happens when we ask Jesus into our life? We were walking in the flesh as dirty sinners, but now we are walking in the Spirit, sin free.  We can’t be seen that way anymore because we are now living in the light and Jesus has cleansed us from all that dirt.  Yes, there may still be dirt that needs to be filtered out but when you are walking with Jesus, it’s His perfection that God sees.

This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.  So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.  But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” – 1John 1:5-7

NO MORE GUILT TRIPS

Guilt_Trip_LogoFeeling guilty is something we usually cause ourselves then allow it to eat at us over and over dragging us down, beating us up, making us feel worthless and useless.  If you are in a constant mind frame of feeling guilty about something you don’t fully understand the love and mercy God has for you.  And if you don’t grasp this love, you will shy away from God, unable to be used by Him.   Sounds like the enemy’s plan, if you ask me.

Have you ever GIVEN someone a guilt trip?  My children can attest to that!  When we make people feel guilty about something it’s usually for selfish gain.  My goal, after reading this scripture, is to never send them on that trip again!

“If they(the sacrifices) could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of GUILT would have disappeared.” – Hebrews 10:2

So it says that if the sacrifices they had to make in the old testament provided perfect cleansing, their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.  That means that the sacrifice of Jesus, that DOES provide perfect cleansing, removes our feelings of guilt completely, right?  So when I am continuing to feel guilty over something I have done, I am not receiving that complete forgiveness that Jesus died for.  And when I am making someone ELSE feel guilty about something, I am being used to try and steal their forgiveness.  Yikes! I really want nothing to do with that.

Yes, I am guilty of giving my kids a guilt trip, but I have been forgiven of it and plan to do it no more!

REPLACE THOSE THOUGHTS

EmptyYourMindLet’s face it, the world is loud….so loud!  TV’s are blarin’, kids are hollerin’, cars are honkin’, bosses are shoutin’, spouses are arguin’.  The world needs peace and the sad thing is, it’s been sent here, but we are ignoring it or not receiving it because we aren’t able to tune out all the madness around us.  Even in our own head, there is a plethora of things going on.  We’re thinking about what he said or she said, what bills are due or overdue.  We fill our minds with worry and doubt of things unknown.

Jesus, the Prince of Peace has come to fill our hearts and minds with love, peace and eternal salvation.  We simply have to receive this and believe that it’s ours.

The last week or so my mind has been filled with so many distractions.  So yesterday I was determined to take hold of the promises of God.  Every time a thought came into my mind that was not of Him, I would stop and say, “Praise You God” or “Glory to You Lord” or “Thank You Jesus”.  I didn’t simply say, “stop thinking of those things”.  I had to replace those thoughts with something else, praises to God.  The peace and joy that filled my heart and mind was overwhelming!

“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” – Colossians 3:1-2 NLT

I MADE A MESS :-(

messy-roomAfter some begging, I allowed my 4 year old to play with some kinetic sand in the living room.  I told her not to get it on the carpet and keep it kind of close together.  Well, of course, she got it all over the place so I made her clean it up.  She was taking forever and there were other things that she wanted to do and that I wanted her to do, but this mess really needed to be cleaned up before it got worse.

She tried on her own for a little bit then said, “Mama, will someone please help me?”  First, I replied with, “Did someone HELP you make that mess?”  She said no, then sadly looked down and kept cleaning. Then OUCH!  I heard God say, “Didn’t I help you clean up YOUR messes?”   So I got down on my knees and began picking up the sand with her.  I looked in her eyes and said, “Do you know why I’m helping you?”  She said, “so I can get it done faster?”  I simply said what my Father would say, “Because I love you.”

“For I hold you by your right hand–I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.” – Isaiah 41:13 NLT

STILL FEELING WICKED?

ForkinRoadHow long will we walk around as wicked sinners? We make fun of the Israelites for making an 11 day journey last 40 years but how long will it or did it take us to get off the path of destruction?  Are you worthless chaff (useless trash) ready to be condemned with the rest of the wicked or have you taken the new path amongst the godly allowing God to watch over your path? Seriously, it’s your choice which path you will walk. I chose the one Jesus opened up for me and I pray you do too. Don’t spend the rest of your life lost in the wilderness.

“But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.” – Psalms 1:4-6 NLT

WHAT’S YOUR MINDSET?

visualizationI love being around wise people. I love hearing the wisdom they have attained through their years of life, experiences in ministry, and direct words from the Lord. So when I read most of Proverbs, it’s like getting to hang out with King Solomon, the wisest of them all. 

However, I’ve realized that depending on the CONDITION OF YOUR HEART and the MINDSET you have, you can read Proverbs and feel so much conviction that you walk away from it thinking you’re a failure and unable to be used by God OR you realize you’ve just gained so much WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING that you walk away wiser, willing and ready to allow God to move in your life and use you in mighty ways for His glory. Check the condition of your heart and mind!

Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. – Proverbs 1:2-6 NLT

LET’S BE JOYFUL!

10-commandmentsI read this verse in Psalm 119:2 and it says, “Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts.” and I thought about how obeying God’s laws isn’t bondage or just rules we have to follow but they are so good for us. Following them would give you total peace. 

You wouldn’t be looking over your shoulder all the time worried about being caught because you lied about something or because you hurt someone or stole something (or someone). You wouldn’t be upset because you don’t have something that someone else has. You wouldn’t be tired or stressed because you’re letting yourself rest. You wouldn’t be misusing God’s name or worshiping others and then feel too ashamed to call upon Him because you were speaking badly about Him that same day.

Without all the worry and fear that sin causes, you would have more time to search for Him with all your heart and become one with God. You would be refreshed, renewed and encouraged by His Word. Full of hope, joy, love and peace.