Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

adjective

Reckless:

to be reckless of danger.

characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

Hey guys,

So I was reminiscing with a friend the other day and they asked me, ” What was the most reckless thing you did as a child?” Automatically, my mind took me back to a crisp fall day in 1997 ( dang I’m aging myself here LOL)

I love to rollerblade, even to this day. But when I was in middle school and had to walk to a school that was a considerable distance away from my home, my mother absolutely forbade me from rollerblading to school. Being an adult now, I can understand why she encouraged me not to do it. However, being the stubborn child that I was, I went ahead and did it anyway.  The route that I chose to take to school on this particular day was out of the ordinary for me. It took me longer to get to school this way but the only friend crazy enough to join me on this great expedition, lived closer to this direction. So naturally, we met in the middle and off we went…. rollerblading down an extremely steep hill…. with oncoming traffic all around us. Not a care in the world.

Now I’m not sure  if you truly understand how steep this hill was. It was so steep that in order to stop myself from blading directly into oncoming traffic, I had to reach out and grab the stop sign pole that was to the right of me  to slow me down ( I am actually shuddering at the thought of this) After I successfully finished my ride, I looked to the left of me and BAM! My mothers good friend was stopped at the bottom of the hill I had just descended. It appeared at the time that she didn’t see me and so I thought I was in the clear!  I later learned upon getting home from school, that she did see me and had promptly called my mother at work. I was properly disciplined Jamaican style ( I’ll leave you to use your imagination lol) This experience was one of the most reckless things I did in my childhood.

Reminiscing about this experience, had me think about that word “RECKLESS”. Let’s look into it for a moment.

The word reckless as defined above means “utterly unconcerned about the consequences  of some action.

I began to look at the word reckless in correlation to our relationship with God. The song “Reckless Love” by Cory Ashbury really helped me put my thoughts together. Mind you, I absolutely HATED this song the first few times I heard it years ago because I didn’t take the time to decipher the message in the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics in particular that I want to take a look at today:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

I was speaking with another friend about how love by today’s standards are truly a gamble. You win some and you may lose some too.  But in order to really experience it you have to be willing to take that risk.

God truly took a risk on us and chose to love us recklessly, without another thought. Even  with Him being the creator and having the ability to see that we were going to hurt Him time and time again , He still CHOSE to love us recklessly! He loves us through our mess. He loves us even when we choose to walk away from Him over and over again.

There is nothing we can do to “earn” the love of God. God’s love is open and available to anyone who sets themselves in a place to receive it.

The part of the chorus that says “leaves the ninety nine,” brings me back to the Parable of the Lost Sheep, specifically the depiction detailed in Luke 15: 1-7 :

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

This parable brings to life an analogy of how God views us. We at some point have been that one sheep that has wandered astray, and God has dropped everything to go out and call out us and beckon to us. He rejoices when we are found and boasts about it!  Now common sense would say “Its just one! Leave it and cut your losses”.  But no, this is another example of How God’s reckless love abounds.  He honestly could have said oh well another one bites the dust, but he didn’t. He is openly distraught when one sheep (us) is missing from the flock. It feels unnatural, incomplete until the lost one is returned to the flock.

The bridge of this song has lyrics as follows:
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

To continue to love someone who continuously  walks away from you, turns their back on you, treats you with disregard is truly a reckless and careless move.  But as the aforementioned bridge says, there is absolutely NOTHING that can keep our God from loving us without limits!  Now this doesn’t mean that God is reckless. It simply means that the depth of His love is.. without thought or caution or rhyme and reason!

God’s love to the carnal eye of man is foolish. It makes no sense. In many ways His love is as pure and innocent as the love of a child. His love loves without barriers. His love is the type of love that never gives up. His love tears down walls. His love heals trauma! His love allows you to see the bright patch in a season of dark places…  His love in a nutshell is RECKLESS and I for one am eternally grateful for God’s Reckless Love! Oh to love and BE LOVED by God. Its truly a remarkable phenomenon.

 

Be blessed today and always!
Til Next Time,
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway2019

Monday Motivation: He Is Faithful…

Monday Motivation: He Is Faithful…

Hey y’all!

Have you ever had faith that something was going to work out your way, and then… it didn’t? I know I have on countless occasions. Especially right now, in the season of life, I currently am in.  I’m trying to navigate through, as best can with as much faith as I can that things are gonna “turn around” and “work out” and honestly… it’s been challenging to live my life with faith at the helm of my ship.

It’s very easy to get lost in doubt and have your faith dwindle when you can’t see an end to your situation in sight. I remember having a conversation with a friend and I was mentioning to them about how I was just feeling downright defeated; and yes many an encouraging word was shared ( which I really did appreciate) but I just wasn’t ready to receive them.

So what do I do when I feel defeated? I turn to God. But not always in the way I should. I often tend to turn to Him lamenting about my problems and not even acknowledging Him. I sometimes even go as far to question Him as to  “why He hates me?” (Ugh… even typing this makes me sound like a petulant, inconsolable toddler)

(Sidenote: At prayer/fasting service at my church on Saturday, the leader called me out to pray, and as the Holy Spirit does, He revealed to her the brunt of my lamenting. As she offered up a word through her Holy Spirit utterance, I was able to receive the message, “He loves you so… stay faithful… He loves you so”. Okay, God… I hear you loud and clear. Thank you Holy Spirit…)

Last week I decided to turn my prayers away from it’s non stop lamenting and began to honour God for His faithfulness. In my quiet time, I was drawn to the book of Hosea in the Bible.  I actually really love this book and over the course of the week, I dug in a little deeper into this text.

The book of Hosea is like a prophetic symbol of God’s relationship to Israel. Just like Hosea and his wife’s relationship was fractured due to her adulterous ways, such is Israel’s relationship with God.  (Hosea 1-3) But just as Hosea’s relationship was restored, God too promised to reconcile and restore His relationship with Israel.  Even when Israel didn’t deserve it, God remained faithful to His promise to them. ( Hosea 14)

This is the same way God is faithful to us. Even though we find it hard to have faith because we aren’t seeing the fruits of our faithfulness, God is STILL faithful.

I know I am totally undeserving of His faithfulness to me, but I am eternally grateful.  You see, God made us and he knows that our faith may waver. But that’s why He gave us a reminder of His faithfulness by sending His son as a redeemer! When mankind made the choice to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree, ( Genesis 3)  God had the power to have us permanently atone for our sins by actual physical sacrifice. Instead, He, Himself, made the ultimate sacrifice for us!

Even when we are faithLESS, God remains faithFUL!

There’s a song by Elevation Worship that has really helped me through the past few weeks. The lyrics are as follows:

When the whispers of worry
Overwhelmed my soul
You never left me alone
You were there all along
You are faithful
Why should my heart be afraid?
You are faithful
I know You’re not gonna change
You are faithful, faithful
I was down to the wire
Hoping You would come through
And You stepped in the fire
Like You always do
How I’m convinced of Your love
You are more than enough
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Whatever it is you are worrying about, leave it in the hands of Jesus! He will always stay the same! Faithful! All He asks in return is that we trust Him with our whole heart.. even when it doesn’t make sense!
Lamentations 3:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness…” 
I pray that our faithful God works out your situations in His perfect timing!
God Bless!
xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway

Don’t Cry…

Don’t Cry…

“Don’t cry… wipe your eyes! He’s not dead…”

Happy Easter folks! Quick post today! I hope today you are surrounded by friends or family and that you take a moment to reflect on the sacredness of today!

There are very few songs that can bring me to tears instantly. To name a few;  “Grace” by Tasha Cobbs, “Destiny” by Tina Campbell and the one this blog post is based on “Don’t Cry” by Kirk Franklin.

It’s not even a dramatically interesting arrangement, to be honest, but the lyrics in their simplicity really hit home. The lyrics read as follows:

Why do you cry? He has risen.
Why are you weeping? He’s not dead.

Why do you cry? he has risen.
Why are you weeping? He’s not dead.

He paid it all on that lonely highway
And his anointing I can feel.

He shed his blood
For my transgressions
And by his stripes, we are healed.

 

Why do you cry? He has risen.
Why are you weeping? He’s not dead.
So as you go through life’s journey
Don’t you worry lift up your head.
Don’t you cry  stop your weeping
He has risen He’s not dead.
Don’t cry
wipe your eyes
He’s not dead.
Don’t weep
He’s not asleep
Jehovah
He’s not dead

 

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We often go through life ( even as Christians) doubting the magnitude of who Jesus Christ is and the sacrifice He made for us on the cross so many years ago. Because of the choice, He made to give HIs life for ours, we have a hope that should surpass all doubt!  Although He died and was buried, three short days later, He rose again and in that event, left us with the hope that He will one day return for us- His people.

There is hope in Jesus Christ! Maybe you’ve tried things your way for a long time, and things just don’t seem to be working out. If you haven’t already made a choice to get to know Jesus, take a few moments and pray this prayer with me:

 

Dear God,
Thank you for sending your son Jesus. I stand in awe of the sacrifice made for someone like me. I have been trying things my way for a long time, and now I want to put my life in your hands. I know that I am a sinner only saved by your grace  Please come into my heart. Guide my thoughts and point my life in a direction that is pleasing to you! Amen

 

Don’t Cry!

 

There is hope because our saviour is NOT DEAD!
He already took care of the perils of today at the cross long ago!

Rejoice in the peace that the saviour has RISEN!

 

Be Blessed!

May your Easter season be filled with love, joy and peace!

xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway

 

It’s Your Breath In Our Lungs…

It’s Your Breath In Our Lungs…

“It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only….”

Hey y’all

I don’t know if anybody reading this know what it feels like to not be able to breathe. Like to the point where you see stars and the room around you starts to look dim…. Up until a week ago I would’ve able to confidently say that I didn’t know what it feels like either…. until it happened. I had been battling flu like symptoms for a few weeks and any time that the weather gets pretty cold my asthma starts to act up. So flu like symptoms+ asthma equalled a recipe for disaster.  I went to bed like any other night, but during the night I began having trouble breathing . I tried propping myself up on pillows , sipping water, essential oils… to no avail. Around 3 am I again woke up and tried to take a breath… and could not. My lungs were so restricted that the air was having an extremely hard time getting through. So naturally, reached to my bedside vanity for my inhaler… no inhaler. Crawled out of bed to my purse… could not find an inhaler. Somehow in the fog I remembered I left the inhaler in the family room… upstairs…. 

Long story short I was able to crawl ( yes literally crawl) up the stairs and get some assistance and my inhaler. But the few moments where air wasn’t getting through, I saw my life literally flash before me. In that moment I realized how much I took something as simple as breathing without restriction for granted. 

This past weekend I went to a Young Adults Retreat my church organization put on, which I sang on the worship team.  Flu like symptoms+asthma makes it pretty hard to sing as you can probably imagine. On the Saturday evening I began having the same reaction except this time my inhaler was giving me no relief. I didn’t share this with anyone but my roommates/ church sister friends knew something was up.  I kept getting up to go outside to get air into my lungs.  Rough night of sleep ( as my roommates could tell you ) but I woke up Sunday fed up with feeling crappy. 

The worship team sang a song that morning  where the lyrics of the chorus are ” It’s your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to you only..”  Coincidence? No I think not. I’d like to think it was a little nudge from God of what I needed to focus my prayers on that morning. As the speaker made an altar call, he called for us to anoint ourselves with oil and pray in earnest for what we needed.

Naturally, I began to cry out to God for my health issues and also the health issues of my parents.  Would you believe when I rose from prayer , and I went to go and sit beside my homegirl ( hey dreadie!) she said she had felt a desire to pray for me since Friday evening.  Keep in mind I had not shared any of my health struggles of late with her. Would you believe that her obedience to pray for me, led her to pray literally the exact prayer I prayed for myself!??!  She prayed out fears about myself that I had not shared with ANYBODY on earth. Nobody can tell me that God isn’t real and that He isn’t listening to prayer and the cries of your heart.  Almost instantly after she prayed for me I felt like a weight lifted off of my chest and I COULD BREATHE FREELY! I have never experienced anything like in my life. Who else but God? To top it off I have not used any inhaler since Sunday! God is good!

This is my praise report! I have felt God’s healing hands on my physical body. This entire experience served as a reminder that the air in my lungs are gifted from God. I will forever pour out praise to God for what He has done and will continue to do for me! 

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.”

Great are you LORD!

 

Take advantage of the breath in your lungs. Time is not promised to anyone young or old. Use it for its intended purpose. To worship. To speak life not death. To pour out love everywhere you go…  To Just Love Them Anyway! ❤

Be Blessed Y’all!
xoxo 
©justlovethemanyway

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God Has Not Forgotten You…

God Has Not Forgotten You…

Hey guys!

I was in a moment of quiet time with God this week and I was reminded of a song I hadn’t listened to in many many years; God Has Not 4Got by Tonex .  ( I know Tonex has made some life choices that no longer coincide with the word of God but this song of his speaks volumes still!)

The song led me to go back and look at the story of Noah and the Ark.  I’ve often wondered how Noah must have felt during this process.  Noah was living in a time where  the people God had created were at their utmost worst. God had had enough with them and was going to destroy them. However, Noah found favour with God because of his blameless behaviour. God established a covenant with Noah  and his family.

However, God had a few instructions for  Noah. First off, He was told by God to build this huge ark for this supposed flood that was going to happen one day. Although he was ridiculed and ostracized by the very people God was set to destroy , Noah persevered and did what he was told .  He was to bring his family, creatures of the earth, sea and sky aboard this ark and then await God’s instructions.

So for years on end Noah built this ark always remembering the promise God made with him. He was mocked mercilessly  but one day….finally, the flood waters came down, raining non stop for 40 days and 40 nights. Now if I was Noah, I would have been starting to get a little stir crazy at this point.

Then, after that 40th day the rains stopped…. but the earth was still flooded and for an additional 150 days. 150 days is just about 5 months.  Personally,  5 months cooped up in a boat with my family and animals and creatures of the land, sky and the sea…. is frightening! (lol) Even though God had saved us, I would honestly be thinking, ” Has God forgotten about us in here?”

But Noah still had faith and he waited patiently to hear from God. However, after the initial  5 months there was still almost a year before the waters receded completely.

Still Noah waited.

He sent out a raven and the raven came back confirming that the earth was still flooded…. Noah sent out a dove several times…

The earth was still flooded…

Finally after over a year of patiently waiting on God, The earth was finally was dry and God commanded Noah and his family to come out of the ark.
In the end, is where we find the covenant that God made with Noah and His people that still stands today. It is here that we learn the significance of the rainbow

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.

The bible doesn’t specify if Noah and God had any communication during this time but what I love about  this whole story   ( and what ties this whole story into the song) is in the beginning of Genesis chapter 8 verse 1 which simply states:

“But God remembered Noah….”

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Through all of this, God remembered Noah.

No matter what you are going through or where God has placed you, He has not forgotten you!

Just like God made a covenant with Noah, He also made a promise with us . He promised to never leave us or forsake us. You may be going through some serious hardships, but remember  God has not forgotten you. As we see with Noah, It took what seemed like  a long time for God’s promise to come to fruition. But what did we see? God came through!  Everything that God has predestined and planned for your life will come to pass! Why? Simply because He is God and He has yet to break a promise.

Don’t give up.

Keep pushing.

Keep persevering.

You are not forgotten! Sometime promises take time to be fulfilled…

So just like Noah stay faithful, stay humble and be patient!

GOD

HAS

NOT

FORGOTTEN

YOU

Till next time,
xoxo

©justlovethemayway

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Monday Motivation: Life Is… A Rollercoaster

Monday Motivation: Life Is… A Rollercoaster

Hey y’all,

Finally the return of Monday Motivation!

I remember being the first time I rode a rollercoaster. I was at Disneyland in California on vacation with my cousins.  We were young, all between the ages of 6 and 14 (I was 12) Since we had my younger cousins with us, we stuck to some pretty tame rides, when suddenly we found ourselves in the line for the infamous Space Mountain Rollercoaster. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Space Mountain, it’s a rollercoaster that is actually inside of a constructed mountain. Inside, it is pretty much completely dark. This thing goes fast and has many unexpected twists and turns. Let me tell you and with all the twists and turns and the the added factor that I couldn’t see a thing… your girl was SCARED! I held on for dear life, looked over at my 8 year old cousin who was just as terrified as me and thought, “What on earth did I get myself into?”

My older cousin was behind me shouting “Faster! Faster!  with his hands up in the air while my youngest cousin Kimmy found a way to maneuver her way out of her safety harness and hide under the seat…. I literally thought she had fallen out the ride! (Please note, she has NEVER been on a rollercoaster since! LOL)

The ride did a couple of rounds and each time I found myself being less and less afraid and actually began to enjoy the ride. By the final go round , I too had my hands up in the air and was no longer afraid of the unknown.

Jonathan McReynolds has an interlude track on his “Make Room” album where he uses the analogy of rollercoaster as a metaphor for life. This particular analogy really resonated with me. Like me,  he painted the picture of holding on for dear life while the rollercoaster was in motion, whereas everyone around him had their hands up and were really able to let loose and enjoy!

Oftentimes when we hold on to control of our life, we tend to feel every single bump and blow and curveball that comes our way with intensity.  It’s almost as if we think  that if we hold on a little tighter, we’ll be able to manipulate the ride to do what we want it to do. Such as with life, sometimes we refuse to let go and let the ride of life do what it’s going to do.  We refuse to let the ride go through its predestined route without thinking we can help or change it along the way.  The engineers have already mapped out and constructed this ride , already knowing the outcome, so why would we in our right mind think  that anything we attempt to do could change what was already carefully orchestrated? It’s time to walk in the understanding that God has already mapped out life for you.

Now,  how much easier would life be  if we could be the other type of rider? Totally free and trusting God to bring us safely to the end of our ride. Now that’s not to say that this option isn’t scary. But in reality it’s actually the only option that makes sense!  Does holding on for dear life change the outcome? Nope! May as well let go and let God.

So today, I encourage you to let go of anxiety and fear of the future ( or even the present) to stop holding on to the past  and to throw your hands up in the air and trust that God has it all in control.

Life is a rollercoaster. We are going to encounter some ups and some downs , some unexpected loops. Life won’t always be smooth sailing on straight paths. But we need to hold on to the promise that through it all God will never let us fall!

Take a listen to Jonathan’s interlude called L.R.F( Rollercoasters) down below:

Have a blessed Monday! God Bless You All!
Til Next Time…
xoxo

©justlovethemanyway

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Make Room

Make Room

Jonathan McReynolds has a beautiful song called “Make Room” that really speaks about making room for God in your life. About preparing your heart for God to dwell there. This is the song that really inspired this post. During my summer travels, as my friend and I drove through the lush greenery that is the state of Tennessee, God dropped this song right into our laps and for 3+ hours from Chattanooga to Memphis this song was on repeat. We worshipped, we meditated on the goodness of God and for me… I felt convicted…  I need to make even more room for God.

I am a LOVER of schedules. I have a planner that each week is updated with my plans and commitments for the week. Colour coded so its easy to see what things are a priority and what things can be shuffled around and done on another day.

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It seems that time is something that we never have enough of. Somebody will mention that they need help with something at the church, or your neighbour may need a hand moving and out comes the classic line, “Oh I don’t have any time to do that.”  Yet oddly enough if its something that we feel like doing or are super intrigued by, magically the hours for productivity suddenly appear? Funny how that happens!

Recently, an acquaintance of mine and I were making plans to hit up the gym together, I suggested we meet up in the evening after work and she wanted to meet up in the early morning . While I’m not particularly fond of getting up early, my body wakes me up at 6 am rain or shine, sleet or snow, vacation or work day. So naturally, knowing this , she thought that  going to the gym in the early morning would seem to be of no problem to me right? Wrong. It’s in that early part of the morning that I like to spend my quiet time with God in prayer and bible study as it’s the time of day that I feel that I can give God my  undivided attention and frankly I’m the most alert. When I explained this her she responded,  “Well can’t you just do that later?” Ok I thought, just this once I’ll move things around  and spend time with God later. And you know what happened, Later on came… and so did the sleep….  a day of sweet commune with God missed, never to be regained.

In that moment it dawned me; it shouldn’t be so easy for me to rearrange my schedule when it means bumping God out of the priority spot.  We often rearrange our time with God for something as trivial as a television program.  I can vividly remember in junior high and high school being so mad at my parents for making me go back to church on a Sunday evening when all I wanted to do was stay home and watch the Grammy’s or the BET awards ( remember this was in a time where live streaming and PVR weren’t an option, so if you missed it you missed it!) where as now I could care less!

What if God rearranged His schedule to only be available for us when He felt like it? This society would be even more in shambles than it already is ( hard to imagine!)  We oftentimes take for granted the gift that is Jesus. Someone who is always available morning, noon or night to hear our EVERY need. All He wants from us is for us to make room for Him in our heart and in our lives.

How many times have we prayed this prayer: ” God if you just give me one more day, I promise to  be better to You than  I was today. To give you all of me not just the leftovers?” Then tomorrow comes and again out of mouth comes the exact same words? I don’t know about you, but there are only so many times I can eat leftovers before getting sick of them and before they get stale. In the same way we don’t want to eat leftovers everyday, we need to stop giving God our leftover worship and our reheated praise! Come guys we have to give Him something new to eat once in awhile! There is nothing better than fresh food!

How do you make room for God in your life? Here are 4 ways to make room for God in your everyday life :

Make time for Him:
Make God a priority. The new Netflix series will wait. The phone call will go to voicemail. Give God your undivided attention.

Get rid of and negativity:
Make your heart comfortable for God to enter in. It will be hard for Him to navigate through negative space.  Release and let go of anything that is holding your heart and a prisoner to anger or resentment.

Physically create space for Him:
Find a room or a closet; perhaps your bathroom. Create a space where you will not be surrounded by any distractions, where you can have some personal alone time with God.

Meditate on His word:
Seeking out and studying the word of God is a good way to get to know Him, to learn from Him and to hear from Him.

Where I live, the children are heading back to school today. I am an Educator so this means back to work as regularly scheduled for me as well. ( farewell leisurely summer days 😦 lol )  This is a challenge and reminder to me ( and you) that no matter how hectic life gets, how busy our schedules may seem, make room for God FIRST!

 

 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. ( Matthew 6:33)

Have a blessed day!
Til next time…
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway