Thursday, August 5, 2010


Six months ago my therapist (yes, I have one) told me that I am all about "more, more, more".

This theory was in early development on the previous evening when I forced Larry to do yoga with me. I had just received my Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown and wanted to try it out. After the 30 minute workout, where Jillian rocks the attempted yoga-laid-back-half ponytail, I complained that the routine wasn't hard enough. Larry, dripping in sweat and aching muscles, asked me why I couldn't just be satisfied that I had worked out for half an hour.

I know I'm obsessive-compulsive about generally everything in life, but I have never considered that I had a more-is-better attitude.

So this subject came up in therapy yesterday, with my sweet therapist who probably loves me like a daughter. A daughter who is actually a cash cow versus one who drains her pocket. I have seen this particular counselor on and off for the last 7 years (not weekly....or even yearly..lest you think I'm a real basket case).

Onto my more-more-more hypothesis: yes, everything in my life tends to fall into an all-or-nothing category. I'm totally a black and white thinker, because seriously, who has time for gray? When I discover something I enjoy, I typically want more of it. But not only more of it, more in the sense that it's all I think about. I want more exercise, more clothes, more wall decor, more purses/handbags and more money. My word, I will go to the mall to shop for Christmas presents for others, and then come home with new shoes or the new placemats I desperately needed for my spring season kitchen arrangement. So maybe I'm a bit extreme. Told you.
But seriously, when you go to the mall to buy your gifts this year - look at the clothes they have displayed: we're literally already in the spring fashion season. It's all just so overwhelming to me. The shorts and skirts and cute warm weather outfits just kicks my mind into overdrive about which wardrobe pieces I need to purchase to be in style for spring. And I want MORE. of all of it!

I don't think I'm alone. The American Dream is all about having, doing and being more. It's about climbing the ladder (whether corporate or social) and announcing to the world that we are "someone" because we have more. I heard a story today about a little 9 year old boy who was made fun of by his peers at school because he had a hole in his jeans (in an undesirable area). The boy and his father are apparently living out of a motel room, and the boy came to school this morning hungry because they had no food for dinner last night. I hear that story, and then I reflect on my more mentality. My biggest worry right now is whether I have spent equal amounts of money on all four kids for Christmas, compared to others who don't even know if they'll eat tonight...and much less know what or IF they will have anything under the tree on Christmas morning.

Oh how I think Jesus is grieved when we seek our "more" from this world. In Paul's first letter to Timothy, he says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that." (1 Timothy 6:6-8 NIV)

How does this even work? Without bouncing to the other extreme (and taking on a form of poverty i.e. sell the cars, house, etc and move to Cambodia), how does one live amidst the extravagance of our culture and remain content with what we have? My answer to this is Jesus. Living a life soaked in His presence, in His Word, is the only way to rise above the pull of the world and its' rat race. You and I can have Jesus in unlimited supply, and He even tells us to ask for more of his Holy Spirit. As a woman with a keen eye towards any possible obsession, having an addiction to Jesus is my answer. Someone can read this and think I'm unrealistic or way too extreme. I am convinced, however, that to live a life in pursuit of anything but Jesus is deadly. Obviously, a passion for purses or promotion may not kill you physically; but if those things are the center of your universe, your soul will live a sickly life. I have lived these things and know them to be all too true.

I suggest that for the next three days, you meditate on what it is that really matters. (ugh, does this sound like an NPR segment?). Seriously, though, I pray you don't even see yourself in this description. If you do, I pray that you'll realize what you need more of is Jesus and only Jesus.
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Disneyland and My New Reality Show

Last week, Larry, Luke and I went to Los Angeles to spend time with Lauren. Before we even arrived at the airport, Luke was asking why we still in Houston. The poor child is just now learning the concept of time calculated in minutes and hours, and he was distraught that we wouldn’t arrive by simply clicking our heels.

Once we landed at LAX, we still had to pick up our rental car and waste away precious hours in the car amidst the lovely 405 traffic. What should have been a 17 minute trip was a 2 hour trip because of the glorious splendor of Los Angeles cramped roadways. I thought Luke was going to come unglued until he finally fell asleep in the back seat. Those traffic delays were a blessing because you haven’t seen a monster until you’ve seen Luke Dalke without a nap.

Lauren couldn’t meet us at the hotel until later in the evening, so after we walked around a bit, we went to the hotel pool. I would have highly preferred some Rodeo Drive shopping. But mind you, I was with a 52 year old husband and a 4 year old son; therefore any hope of an enjoyable shopping excursion was only a wish and a prayer.

The pool at the Hotel Roosevelt was awesome: Young, Hip, and Hollywood. We would have fit right in if we could be described as either of the latter. Needless to say, we got much attention because Luke was the only person under 21 in the entire hotel. All the drunken girls (and guys) were fawning over him, bringing him pool toys and encouraging him to swim with them. He thought he was the coolest thing to hit that scene since Lindsay Lohan.

We went to Disneyland on Saturday; and Luke could remember every single thing about it from last year. He could remember so much, that instead of checking out every ride – he had a mental list of the ones he wanted to do first. And after those were finished, he wanted to do them again. So much for variety. We basically replayed every step we made last summer, and when his list was fulfilled he wanted to go back to the hotel to swim. He must not have understood that staying for only 4 hours was hardly worth the $378 we paid for admission. I complain, but I was ever so thankful that we didn’t have to stay for the parade.

Santa Monica beach was the setting for our Sunday. Lauren and I sat peacefully on the beach, while Larry and Luke jumped the waves. Luke absolutely loved getting his body caked with sand and then washing himself off in the ocean. By noon, he was ready to go back to the hotel and swim; but I thought we would never make it back to our car because we had to stop and pick up seashells every 5 feet. Lauren picked out a super good cafĂ© for lunch: Jack and Jill’s. We had the best cornbread I’ve ever had, and Luke had homemade macaroni and cheese. However, it didn’t come out of a Kraft box, so he refused to eat it. It apparently didn’t taste like mommy’s beloved recipe.

Sunday evening we were all caught on camera for Mario Lopez’s new reality show coming out in the fall. Apparently the show is about Mario's trek into fatherhood after his girlfriend (or not) got pregnant. I can just see the montage of Larry, Luke and me as Mario sees fatherhood and family life flash before his eyes. Hopefully, the mother will still be in that picture. If not - then there goes my television premiere. Regardless, I’m sure they’ll probably contact me in a week or so and offer me a show of my own. I think I would tell them instead that I prefer to be on Real Housewives.

All in all, the weekend was wonderfully memorable. We had such a great time with Lauren, who we don’t get to see nearly enough. And Luke’s favorite souvenir is a pillow pet: a cow that he named Lauren Dalke. I am not quite sure how Lauren feels about being likened to a cow; but Luke has bragged about his sister (and her namesake) to everyone he’s talked to since we’ve been home.

I will keep you posted on my new reality show shooting schedule. It's sure to be equivalent to something Young, Hip and Hollywood.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Decision is Life or Death

"But Ruth replied, "Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Ruth 1:16

This verse hit me between the eyes last night. My friend and I are in week one of Kelly Minter's Ruth bible study. When we picked this particular study, I was cynically thinking that I knew the book inside out; therefore I probably wouldn't learn anything new. It's funny that I'm always wrong when I think I know everything.

Although Ruth is saying these words to Naomi (her bitter mother-in-law) about their journey back to Bethelem, I realized that I was in the same situation....though on a spiritual rather than physical journey.

Naomi and her husband, along with their two daughters-in-law left Bethelem for Moab. Naomi's husband and sons eventually died, and Naomi decided to return to her home. I have heard and read this story 203 times since I was in Sunday School as a child. Yet I never grasped that Naomi and her family initially left Bethelem (their God-given land) for Moab, which was enemy territory. Moab was a country without God's favor, without His blessing. Therefore they were essentially leaving the place God had given them, for a land they thought would be better. Because, naturally, the grass is always greener and the land is more desirable on the other side.

Aren't I often tempted to leave "my land" when I think something else is better? Hasn't that been my situation for the last six months? Doesn't this all go back to Eve believing what the stupid serpent said was better than what God had provided already?

Without going off on Eve's tangent, Ruth's words struck me to the core. She committed in her heart to do the right thing - the "thing" that required devotion and faith. She emphatically told Naomi that she would go wherever she went....and would worship whomever she worshiped. This commitment resounded within me like that big gong on Let's Make a Deal. I had drifted into an unknown land, a land that I convinced myself was just a mini-vacation spot. Even though I knew this trip was altogether wrong, I was stubborn-headed and foolish enough to convince myself that my choices are sometimes better than God's.
And now, God has lovingly interrupted that journey because He wants me home. He knows that His joy and peace are mine only within the borders of His planned "land" for me. The enemy can tempt and taunt and deceive and make valiant efforts to make a very wrong situation look beautiful and enticing and thrilling. Then when you arrive in that place, the walls crumble; it's not what you thought; it's ugly, sinful, and just plain devastating. This place makes you weary, and it's void of peace and full of deceit. Home, you realize, is ripe with abundance, joy, love and truth.

So you make the decision to return. You grasp the gracious hand of God and allow Him to lead you back to His arms. And you cry out with the determination of Ruth and say, "I will go where you go...and I will stay where you stay." And you pray that God would trade your heart of stone for a heart of flesh...because you know that it's not sheer willpower that will keep you home. It's only His perfect love that drew you back, and it's only by absolute surrender to His love that makes you stay.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

I do have a purpose -- I really, really do!

You know I haven’t posted a normal post in a long time when the topic of this post alludes to the fact that I need to re-establish a purpose here. If that did not make sense, I’m sorry. It didn’t even make much sense to me, but I so love the word “alludes” and really needed to find a sentence in which to use it.

Now that you are completely lost, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the purpose of my blog. A normal, successful blogger would have thought about this before ever writing their first post. However I always like to do things backwards. And if you ask God, He will tell you I also do things stubbornly, pridefully, sinfully backwards. But that's altogether another topic. Thus far, I have used this blog to compose everything from toddler anecdotes to sermon summarizations to my own investigative findings in scripture. I have even shared excerpts from cooking disasters, and I have blogged about reading the Bible in 90 days...which I quit after 3 months (i'm doing that again, though...minus the blog thing at a time, please). With all that taken into consideration, I believe it’s time for a singular purpose here, and I know all three of you who read this have been wondering when I would draw this conclusion.

I originally started blogging because if I’m not writing something, I get overly explosive inside (no, not hormonally explosive). It’s like words must come out through my fingertips onto a keyboard or I will spontaneously combust. And of course, there is the part of me which loves for others to be encouraged by my mistakes or truths I have learned as a result of those mistakes. Frankly, I just always like an audience; and I’m not too proud to admit that. It’s a nice thing to know that people actually (on occasion) read what I write, and if in some way you are inspired by these humble words of mine, then praise God.

So without further adieu (another word I really like), the purpose of this blog will be to exemplify the lifestyle of a true heiress in Christ: rich in love, full of mercy and completely dependant on her benefactor.

I hope some one person in some way at some point in time will be blessed by the words written here.
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Friday, July 2, 2010

I fell off the face of the earth....

Hi Friends,

I am sheepishly writing this post....

The last few months in my life have not been full of shining moments. Needless to say, I retreated; talked to very few people; ceased any form of online communication unless it was work-related; and basically hid in a hole.

I won't discuss the reasons or issues or anything like that, simply because they are too fresh and too personal. I will say, however, that my mind has cleared and God's mercies are new every morning. I am so utterly thankful that He loves me even though I'm a mess. I'm super glad that He heals and loves and offers amazing, limitless grace. This girl is just a fool at times....a fool who needs Jesus.

SO, there you have it. I'm here. alive and well. and back to blogging. AND, get this: I'm doing the Bible in 90 Days again....this time, I'm not quitting in the second month. Take that, Devil.
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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

An update on the exciting life of Amy Dalke.

I have spent the last two months in a blur. It seems as though I have had barely enough time to read two rounds of the Little Critter books with Luke before bed. So that's why I haven't been writing lately.....not that I have less time in 24 hours than anyone else; blogging just hasn't been a priority (even though that was a New Year's resolution). Well, another one bites the dust. I'm used to it. (grin)

But this post isn't a whine session, although I'm pretty skilled at that. In all actuality, this post isn't about anything of substance. Oh yeah, except for that introductory update on my exciting life. I think I have already covered that when I mentioned the Little Critter books. That's about as eventful as it gets around here.

One thing I have learned since January 1, 2010, is that I constantly need God. I cannot make one decision without Him. I am absolutely convinced that He is IT. He is everything to me.
Without Him, I'm done. A waste. A fool.

Of course, I'm not just realizing that....but it has become blatantly clear to me over the last two and a half months that I am just a disaster waiting to happen when I step out of His light. When I try to convince myself that doing things my way "won't be so bad".....I'm brought directly to my knees in desperation. This enlightenment should not have to take on such regularity, except that I am as stubborn as they come. Pride rears its ugly head in me so quickly that I literally need the Word to be intravenously fed to me at times.

I am ever so thankful - increasingly grateful - for grace. As a 32-year old woman prone to wander, I am humbled by the fact that His grace is sufficient for even me.

I'm off now to have birthday cake with a sweet 11 year old girl. And yes, the exciting life continues....
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Walking Through Spider Webs

I haven't posted in a couple of weeks: so much for that resolution of writing 3 posts a week. :)

Although I have not been consistent thus far in the blogging portion of my resolution, I HAVE stayed on track with reading the Bible in 90 days. I'm patting myself on the back for that one, because this consistently inconsistent gal needs some sort of self-congratulation when relative success has been achieved.

That introductory prideful paragraph has nothing to do with the subject of this post, however. So pretend I have just written a beautiful transition paragraph [here].

I have recently been working closely with a client, who has (on the surface) an astounding ego and a confident presence in the world of economic consulting. His educational background is revered in his particular line of business; and at a young age, he has built for himself an empire which his competitors covet.
With multimillions in the bank and houses across the country, this man is what the world deems successful. He writes policy papers that stimulate new trends in one of our world's largest industries, and he testifies as an expert in high-profile lawsuits on behalf of his Fortune 10 clients.
This man, however, is empty. He is constantly searching for "more". The checks aren't big enough; the glamorous trips don't satisfy; and his mini kingdom doesn't fulfill the ache in his heart. Although he has certainly not communicated this information to me, it's obvious that he is insecure and unsatisfied.

I have spent time with him, in which he is constantly trying to impress me with his achievements: both financial and intellectual. He talks of his ability to do anything and go anywhere that money can afford.

As I was reading my Day 38 today, this man came to mind as I read one of Jobs' friend's monologues. I found such truth in Bildad's words:

"What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider's web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold." -Job 8:14

Though my client has "the world at his fingertips," he holds on to emptiness.

We can trust in our status, but it does not hold against the weight of disaster.
We can trust in our ability to do business, but it does not hold when the economy takes a downward spiral.
We can trust in our intellect, but it does not hold when no one else listens.
We can trust in our athletic ability, but it does not hold when we suffer a season-ending injury.
We can trust in our appearance, but when natural aging takes place, physical beauty fades.
We can trust in our health, but the doctor's words remind us this body wasn't built to last forever.
We can trust in our bank account as security against disaster, but this, too, is temporary.

Our only hope is to trust in God's unfailing love. God has promised that, "He will never leave us, nor forsake us." (Hebrews 13:5); He has given us the unbreakable assurance that, "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 38-39)

So for my client who trusts in his spider webs, I pray for his eyes to be opened. For me, I pray for constant awareness of the frailty of worldly security. I pray for the ability to recognize the deceitfulness of riches and to flee from it's clutches.

The Lord is good, and His lovingkindness endures forever. He is the ONE thing, the ONLY thing, that endures forever. AMEN.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

18 days straight

I'm on Day 18 of Reading the Bible in 90 Days. Can I even tell you how much I'm patting myself on the back because I have consistently done something for the last 18 days??

Actually, doing something consistently for the last 18 days is not the big shocker. The fact that I have consistently done something that is not self destructive for the last 18 days is the big deal.

Oh please, you know what I mean. It's not like I have a drug habit or anything like that. Although as prone to sin as I am, it's only by the grace of God that I'm not begging and stealing for my next drug fix.

Can we skip that entire introduction? Because I don't want my mom to get a whiff of this post and think I need to be in therapy for drug related issues. No, mom; I'm just being relative here.

Back to this post's original intent (well, if it had one). I'm quite all over the board today, so pardon me if you're getting annoyed.

Over the course of the last 18 days, I have fallen in some love with Moses. How awesome that he got to meet with God face to face. How cool to be called God's friend!! And I just hate it that he didn't get to go into the Promised Land. For crying out LOUD, he dealt with those whiny Israelites for 40 years just to get them there.....and then all he got to do was look at the view from a mountaintop?

Although Moses and I have developed a bond, I am far more enthralled with Moses' God. Over and over He shows love to the Israelites...and over and over they reject Him. As I always do when I'm reading, I put myself in the Israelite's shoes (or sandals?). I get so frustrated with them, but I'm certain I would be right along with them, fashioning my own handmade idols and worshiping all sorts of false gods. I'm just amazed at the persistence God exhibits on their behalf. His love is relentless!

And as cool as it is that Moses had such an intimate relationship with God..we are invited to an even closer relationship. WE ARE GOD's DWELLING PLACE.

Moses et al had to cart around the tabernacle from place to place....and offer up all kinds of sacrifices before they could be in God's presence. Yet Emmanuel....God with us. Christ came to this earth and lived among us, so that He could be THE one and only sacrifice for our sins. He died on that cruel cross and rose again victoriously so that the veil was torn and we could intimately fellowship with God every single moment of our lives. No priest stands between us. No curtain that we cannot cross. No more sacrifices. Only Jesus...

And speaking of Jesus: He is the only reason I can do ANYTHING non-self-destructive for 18 days straight and counting.....Praise the Lord.

By the way - I think this post could win a "most random award.."
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Bible in 90 Days updates and such

I'm on Day 11 of the Bible in 90 days.....and still plugging along. I have been excited to wake up each morning to spend time in God's Word (with The Word), and I've found that the Lord has spoken to me daily.....even in the book of Numbers. Go figure. Who knew he doesn't just appear in Psalms and the New Testament!?

So here is today's SOAP on my reading:

Scripture: Numbers 16:37-38a

"Tell Eleazar, son of Aaron, the priest, to take the censers out of the smoldering remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy -
the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives......"


Korah and his companions sinned at the cost of their lives! God opened up the earth to literally swallow them whole because they insisted on "having their own way". Isn't that the root of all our sin......the persistance to just have things done...or do things...our own way?
Although we may not die an earthly death when we commit sin, we can be assured that a little piece of our abundant life shrivels up and dies. It is reality: sin = death. Spending enough time wallowing in our own self-willed flesh kills us every time.
My heart aches and my stomach hurts as I am convicted of this fact in my own life. Our choices can be deadly if they aren't founded in the wisdom of God's living word.


Note to self: do not take things into my own hands.....
Note to self: Trust that God's way is better than mine: every single time. There is not that "one time" that I have it right all on my own.
Note to self: Revere God as the Author of Life; the Creator - the MasterMind of the Universe. He deserves our utmost respect. ("The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." - Proverbs 9:10
Note to self: Don't act like Korah.


Lord, I look up to the heavens, and I acknowledge Who created this universe. If I cannot trust Your ways above my own, then I am in sad shape.....because who better to listen to than the One who knows all things? Forgive me for asserting my own will so deliberately and foolishly. Thank You for Jesus....because without Him, I would surely suffer the same fate as Korah.
Thank You for providing the perfect sacrifice. It pains me to even imagine how small I make You in my mind. Open my eyes so that I can see You everywhere....hear You everywhere....and follow You everywhere.
In Jesus' name,
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Bible in 90 Days - Post #2

So I am on Day 5 in my Bible in 90 Days reading. For this Type A girl who loves structure, I am in love with this new adventure. I especially love checking the box each day after I have completed my reading.

However, completing the task is not the only thing I am enjoying about this. Each morning, I am spending time with the God of Creation....the Author of the Word...and that is the coolest. I have done bible studies for the last 15+ years, but this is truly the first time that I have read scripture in a structure set up to take me through the whole bible. Needless to say, I have looked forward to hearing what God has to say to me each morning!

It's virtually impossible for me to post every day, so although I won't have a post for what I have learned in each reading, I will blog about my observations at least 3 times a week.

This morning's stand out scripture was Exodus 3:7-8:

"The LORD said, 'I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.
So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.'"


The Lord cares. He cared about the misery of the Israelites' slavery, and He cares today about our own imprisonments. Whether they be physical or emotional.....externally or interally afflicted - the Lord cares. And just as He came down to rescue the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians, He sent Jesus in the form of a man to rescue us from our slave drivers.
The promised land of the Israelites was physical land; whereas our promised lands are spiritual.....but oh, the joys of walking with the Lord in our good and spacious land: land that flows with milk and honey, peace and joy, comfort and love.
As we trust in the Lord daily and learn from Him.....we little by little drive out the Canaanites, the Hittites and the Amorites from living on our inherited promised lands. These "-ites" are different for all of us...but they are enemies, soul-terrorists, anything that stands on our souls to keep us from taking hold of the best God has for us.


Today, I will curl up on the lap of Jesus, and rest in His care. I will trust that the promised land He holds out to me is better than living in slavery to my sin.


Father God, You are an All-consuming fire. Set my heart ablaze for Your Truth. God of Heaven, You heard the cry of the Israelites and You had great compassion for them. Help me to see and believe with all my heart that You rise up to show compassion for me. Go before me today and destroy the enemy. Get them off of my land and lead me on into Truth. Thank You, Jesus!
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Bible in 90 Days: Post #1

I cannot even tell you how excited I am for the next 90 days. I am praying that God just pours out His blessing over us as we journey through His Word!

I am adopting the SOAP method of bible study for the next three months, and if you are wondering what that is.....I've stolen the idea from Amy at Mom'sToolBox.

Scripture: Genesis 21:1

"Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised."


The Lord is faithful to His promises. His promises to me (and you!) are too numerous to recount every single one. He promises us a way out of temptation; He promises to never leave us or forsake us; He promises that our minds cannot even conceive what He'll do with a life surrendered to Him; and He promises to supply every last one of our needs.
May I victoriously proclaim, "Now the Lord was gracious to Amy as He had said, and the Lord did for Amy what He had promised."


I shall BELIEVE! I will believe Him for His promised escape from temptation. I will believe that He is the only true satisfaction. I will believe that obedience to Him is rewarding, and I will believe that life under His Lordship is the greatest adventure. I will lean on His understanding as opposed to my own, and I will believe that He loves me unconditionally. I will believe that His blood was enough to cleanse me of sin, and I will believe that I don't have to work for righteousness. It is our right as God's children to know Him intimately and believe Him.


Gracious Father, fill my heart with faith in You. In the hollow, empty places of my soul, fill me up with Your satisfying presence. Swell my heart with belief in You. Let it be true of me when I say, "I'm BELIEVING God!!" I want to know the joy and peace found in believing You. Thank You for your faithfulness. You are so trustworthy, Jesus.
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