Stop Believing the Lies of the Enemy. Tell the Devil, Get out of here with that mess! I’m too blessed to be stressed!

Too Blessed JoaynnHave you ever noticed when you take your eyes off your situation and look to God, how things begin to work out in your favor unexpectedly, and you are at peace?

There will be times when nothing is working as you expect. You change your mind in an instant. You become discouraged, frustrated to the point of desperation. You want to quit and give up, forgetting God is faithful and will do just as he promised.

You find yourself trying to work things out on your own, instead of trusting God’s Word, in his timing it will work for the greater good.

You start having doubts. You don’t feel like doing a thing, let alone put any effort into what you know God has already prepared you to do. You start looking to the right and to the left, focused on what is in front of you and not what’s above. God says it’s not over until he says it’s over.

See, the enemy plays tricks on your mind and wants you to change what you know about God and make you believe nothing He says is ever true or will work out as his Word promise. Don’t believe that mess. The devil is the father of lies! He a liar and the truth ain’t in him!

Be encouraged today. God will make a way out of no way. Your gift will make room for you. Don’t concern yourself with matters that do not concern you. If you are passionate about something, no matter how many obstacles you face or opposition that gets in your way, as long as you still have a passion for what you are passionate about, keep doing what you love to do. Persevere. Don’t give up. Whatever you are believing God for will manifest in the supernatural. Keep your eyes on God. Let him do his job!

When the devil starts talking trash in your ear tell him, “Get outta here with that mess. I ain’t hearing it. I’m too blessed to be stressed!”

Be Blessed! –JD

1 Thessalonians 3:7 for this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and suffering we have been comforted and greatly encouraged about you because of your faith [your unwavering trust in God—placing yourselves completely in His loving hands];” (AMP).

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Happy Thanksgiving! Give Thanks to the Lord. For He is Good. His Love Endures Forever!

God we give you thanks on this day and every day for everything you have done. God we remember. When there was not enough, you were more than enough. Your grace saved us. God we remember.

When our pockets were empty, there was more month than money. You met every need. There was no lack. Your grace was sufficient. God we remember.

When our burdens were heavy, you carried them for us. You delivered us. God we remember. We will never forget the wonderful marvelous things you’ve done for us. On this day, we say, Thank you for your faithfulness.

Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always (1 Chr 16:8-11).

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Be blesssed!

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the Lord. For he is good; his love endures forever. (NIV)

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October Breast Cancer Awareness MonthPlease forgive me for such a late post but I made it with two days to spare before October Breast Cancer Awareness Month ends. Many across the nation launched campaigns and walks where everyone was invited to participate and show support during the month of October to increase awareness. The National Race for the Cure and Susan G. Komen 3 Day “For the Cure” are to name a few. There a number of resources, referral agencies, and support groups available to provide emotional support in the journey.

About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). While breast cancer in males is rare, let’s not forget to honor and show support for them as well, who either have been diagnosed, are going through treatment, or have survived breast cancer.

There are also male breast cancer advocacy groups Out of the Shadow of Pink, A Man’s Pink, and the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer in men who join together globally to establish the third week of October as “Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week” (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month). Please show your support.

“If you learn that you have breast cancer, you may find it helpful to talk with someone who has already been through breast cancer. The American Cancer Society has a Reach To Recovery® Program,” which is “available in most communities, and is one of many programs that may help you. This program can put you in touch with a woman who has been diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer. To talk with or receive a visit from a Reach To Recovery volunteer, call your local American Cancer Society office or 1-800-227-2345” (You are not alone: Getting emotional support).”

With early detection, treatment advances, screening, and increased awareness the incidence of death rates have decreased since 1989 (U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics). Any woman at or over the age of 40, I strongly urge you to make an appointment to have a mammogram. Develop a plan. Get tested early with mammogram screenings. Early detection can help with early prevention. Regular checkups will also aid in early prevention. It can save a life.

Each of us either know someone who suffers from, lost the battle with, or is a survivor of breast cancer. Celebrate loved ones, relatives, and friends who have lost the fight as well as those who have survived. As well as those who are going through treatment. Show your support in honor of those who lost their lives in the fight and are no longer with us. Honor those who survived the fight and are living testimonies who have overcome and are still with us. Please know that you are not alone. We are here for you. You are more than conquerors. You won. You are a breast cancer survivor.

Donate your time. Volunteer. Simply wear pink or a pink ribbon during the month of October. Together we can make a difference.

As for me, I wear pink for someone special to inspire hope and love. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, join in the fight, be a source of support, empower, and inspire.

Be blessed! -JD

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October is National Domestic Violence Month. Join in, show your support, help end Domestic Violence.

October Domestic Violence Month-Forgive me for being so late in posting this. Late is better than never. Thankful October has not yet ended.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’m in! Join me and show your support and help raise awareness to end domestic violence. Take a stand. Be a voice. Send a strong message. Wear PURPLE. Abuse is NEVER OK! It will not be tolerated in our communities. *National Domestic Violence Awareness Month*

Because of my own personal struggle with domestic abuse, I am passionate about this cause and believe it is important we come together collectively as a nation to bring a greater awareness to issues surrounding domestic violence that need to be addressed to help end it and bring hope to those who have fallen prey to it. Be a voice for the voiceless. Silence the voices of those who either oppose or deny the seriousness of domestic abuse and violence. Take a stand. Make all things purple. Use a pen, drink from a purple cup. Or simply wear something purple.

If you suspect someone is being abused or you are the victim of abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) and don’t be afraid to speak up even if it may be uneasy for you. Seek help. It’s available. Someone is there to help. Someone will help get you or someone you know to safety.

Let’s join forces in honor and support of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and let the world know Domestic Violence will not be tolerated in our community, our schools, our homes, or workplaces.  We are in this fight together. Be encouraged! Thanks for your support!

Be blessed! – JD

#domesticviolenceawarenessmonth #showyoursupport

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I Am #MeToo. Are You?

I Am Me Too- JoaynnLet’s talk about this #MeToo hashtag viral sensation. First and foremost I would be remiss not to acknowledge the true person behind the ‘me too’ movement, Tarana Burke who planted the seeds for the movement in 1996 when working as a youth camp director. She is the Founder and Director of Just Be Inc. (http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml). As noted on the Just Be Inc. site, her organization “is a youth organization focused on the health, well being and wholeness of young women of color.” As then program director for Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity, the goal of Burke’s program was to empower young women of color.

After bonding with and hearing the story of a young girl who asked to speak with Burke privately after an all-girl bonding session event hosted by Just Be Inc. that left her horrified, Burke wrote on http://justbeinc.wixsite.com/justbeinc/the-me-too-movement-cmml, “I will never forget the look because I think about her all of the time. The shock of being rejected, the pain of opening a wound only to have it abruptly forced closed again – it was all on her face. And as much as I love children, as much as I cared about that child, I could not find the courage that she had found. I could not muster the energy to tell her that I understood, that I connected, that I could feel her pain.”

“I couldn’t help her release her shame, or impress upon her that nothing that happened to her was her fault. I could not find the strength to say out loud the words that were ringing in my head over and over again as she tried to tell me what she had endured… I watched her walk away from me as she tried to recapture her secrets and tuck them back into their hiding place. I watched her put her mask back on and go back into the world like she was all alone and I couldn’t even bring myself to whisper…me too.” Ms. Burke said she never forgot the look on the girl’s face after hearing her story. A heartbreaking, sad unforgettable moment…This for me was more than enough reason to start a movement. To read the full story go to the Just Be Inc. link mentioned above.

Essentially, this is what started the ‘me too’ movement – “to help young women of color who had survived sexual abuse, assault and exploitation.” It has now become an online hashtag viral sensation and every women who has been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted have joined in making a statement to let the world know, #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor. Ms. Burke I applaud your drive and tenacity to make a difference in the lives of young women of color. Kudos!

When I first stumbled upon the #MeToo hashtag on Twitter a few days ago, I was curious why I was seeing just these two words from so many people (men and women alike) without an origin or explanation behind its meaning. It was not until I clicked on the hashtag on Twitter and discovered Alyssa Milano’s tweet, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet – ‘Me too. Suggested by a friend: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.’”

As of October 19, 2017 ABC News reported Alyssa Milano’s ‘Me Too’ tweet has now garnered “1.4 million and counting tweets included the hashtag, along with more than 13 million posts, comments and reactions on Facebook” (http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/alyssa-milano-metoo-campaign-vocal-stops/story?id=50582023).

Being the person I am, before becoming a part of this sensation, I did some research and realized after taking a deep look inside myself and thinking of the countless times I too was a victim, I found #MeToo is who I am too.  It hit too close to home. It was personal. And now I desire change that goes far beyond what we see with the hashtag itself. My desire, ‘Me Too’ becomes more than a viral sensation but an entry point to healing at a deeper level than what we’ve seen in society with other movements that gain maximum exposure after going viral but we never see or hear anything about once the hoopla goes away.

Let’s have a discussion, critical dialogue and a real conversation about its effects, what we can do to end it, continue to increase awareness, and what programs we can develop on a larger scale to include collaborative efforts with Ms. Burke’s organization and others like hers to empower not only women of color but those who have been affected by sexual harassment or sexual assault and are afraid to come forth out of fear of retaliation.

Let’s build a community of safety in the creation of safe houses for survivors and non-survivors to go to for ongoing support. Let’s establish a platform with someone like Iyanla Vanzant and Ava DuVernay to reach the masses on a continuous basis and not drop the ball after getting the attention and exposure we desire only to “make a statement.” Let’s design programs to empower, inspire, and influence survivors and those that haven’t to encourage and motivate them to reach their fullest potential.

Let’s reach out to and join forces with Tarana Burke and her Just Be Inc. organization as well as similar organizations to create change. Let’s join forces with Alyssa Milano, and others, who wants to fix the problem and asks others to reach out to her for suggestions to help grow the #MeToo movement. Let’s flood their inboxes and social media outlets to make a difference. Let’s be a strong voice and not stop until we are heard. Let’s get involved and show the world how we will be the change we want to see. Let’s do this!

As for me, I am #MeToo – I am not ashamed, I am not alone, I am a victor, I am a survivor!

Be blessed!

Signed,

#MeToo

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The Next Time You Decide To Complain To God, Be a Faithful Complainer and Not A Grumbler!

Faithful Complainer JoaynnWhat do you do when God has given you everything you asked for and after you received it now you wish you had never asked for it? He took your little and made it much and now you are complaining it is too much to handle.

You prayed and asked God to enlarge your territory that you may have a greater INFLUENCE in the world, INCREASE your area of influence to reach the masses to share your message, and INCLINE your heart toward his statues and not toward selfish gain (Psalm 119:36), according to his will, that you are content with what you have. Look at God! He answered your prayers.

God gave you a platform to share your message with the world. He gave you gifts to inspire, influence, and serve others. You are sought after by many across the nation to share your gift of speaking at various events. Then something happens. In the process you find your time is stretched beyond what you can imagine. You become overwhelmed and start grumbling and complaining.

You say to yourself, “I have all these things to do I asked for and not enough time to do it in. I have a meeting at 9, two clients at 10, notes to put together for my next speaking engagement. There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done.” But…you have everything you prayed for. God gave you the desires of your heart and now you feel it’s too much.

So what do you do in the midst of grumbling about that new job you were blessed with, discontent in spite of favor bestowed upon you to grow your ministry, complaining about serving and the amount of travel you have to do to spread the gospel and you hear from God and he ask you one question, “So what do you want me to take away?” How will you answer God? Will you doubt his power, declare he’s not able, faithful, or good by telling him what you want him to take away? Or will you rejoice in all that he has given you and trust he has counted you worthy of his calling or believe he knows exactly what he’s doing?

Remember Adam? He was the first complainer. And had the nerve to blame God when asked about his sin. God commanded him, …”you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16). When God asked him if he had eaten from the tree of the knowledge, he never said “yes.” Instead he complained and blamed God and Eve for what he did. He told God, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (3:12). He blamed God and Eve for his failure.

Moses had complaints when he met God at the burning bush (Exodus 3-4). And what about Job? He didn’t do anything wrong. If anybody had a right to complain, he did. Job lost everything, was anguished, and had no problem telling God how he felt. He didn’t mince words. He was honest and wasn’t afraid to take his complaints to Him. Job suffered because of his righteousness. He complained to God but he never sinned against him or charged him with wrong. Follow Job’s example. Be a faithful and not a faithless complainer.

Stop questioning the goodness of God. Stop grumbling and complaining when he grants you the very things he knows you are capable of handling. Be a faithful complainer and not a grumbler. Rejoice. Thank God for all that you have. And the next time you decide to complain to God, do it in a way that honors him.

Be blessed! –JD

Philippians 2:14-15 “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine pas lights in the world,” (ESV)

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When You’re In a Season of Waiting, Don’t Question God. Do You Trust Him, Even When It Feels Like Your Prayers Are Not Being Answered?

Greatness JoaynnHave you ever noticed how when God takes you to the next level, in the beginning and sometimes even during the test all is going well. But as soon as the season is over and you’re on your way to the next level, you meet with adversity that is even greater.

The enemy comes in like a flood, trying to confuse you and make you lose your witness. He’s a liar and the truth ain’t in him! It’s a test. God wants to know if you trust him. He wants to know if he gives you little can he trust you with much. If you are faithful over little matters, he will give you more matters to manage. God is faithful. He will do exactly as he promised.

Every prayer may not have been answered. You may not have all you want. Thank God for what you have. He’s all you need. He’s more than enough. Your faith will be tested. God already knows what he’s going to do. He predestined it. He wants to see what you are going to do. Don’t miss it. Have the gift of discernment in everything no matter how great your breakthrough because you never know who’s watching you.

In order to get to the next level you must pass the test or you can’t go to the next level if you don’t pass it. Study to show yourself approved by God (2 Tim 2:15). Be the light at all times. Don’t fall prey to the tricks of the enemy. Don’t look to the right or to the left. Look to God. He got this!

Be blessed! – JD

Ephesians 1:11 “In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny—we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will,” (AMP)

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I’m On My Way Up. My New Website is Up and Running! Here’s To New Beginnings. Thank God for My Village!

Me 9-2017It takes a village to raise a child. I also say, “It takes a village to help you reach your destiny.” With the help of an amazing web graphic designer Adrian Bostic of @Bosgraphdesign who also designed my cover for my book, my website www.JoyThomasDarden.org is finally up and running along with my Facebook page www.facebook.com/JoyTDarden!

Adrian did an excellent job on both designs and I am forever grateful. Praise God!

Boy, I tell you, when you know God has placed something inside you and you follow his order, taking one step at time, persevering and never giving up no matter what obstacles you may face, you will see the manifestation of his power and his glory.

Once the web designer finished building my website on the back end, I had to take full rein. After going in make additions on the back end, of which I clearly am not qualified to do or have ever done since my other blog is totally front end work, I was totally overwhelmed, exhausted, and extremely frustrated.

When I managed to complete the daunting tasks necessary to present the site as it is now, all I could do over and over was quietly send up a few “breath” thank you to Adrian for a job well done! But God! It took me every bit of three days to finish. I researched and researched and found every answer I needed to make it a success. 

My website and Facebook page are still in the beginning stages and there is still much more to go. Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will be my website. But I will take my time and move as God lead me.

When I began this season, I remember I asked God to stretch me. Be careful what you ask God for because you just might get it. Well, he did, and it wasn’t pretty. I thank God for the village of family, friend, and my dear sister friend Johanna for encouraging me and inspiring me to not give up when it seemed too hard.

Thank you Johanna for a profound statement you made the other day that stuck with me and helped me realize how God was stretching me, pulling me towards my destiny one way and I kept pulling myself the other way because I wanted to stay where I am, comfortable and complacent.

I’m getting out my own way and will allow him to elevate me. Sisterhood and family are two of the most precious gifts a woman can ever want, have, or ask for. I thank God for my village! And while I am not sure where he is taking me with this ministry, what I am assured of, he will equip me with all that I need to fulfill his purpose that I may glorify him.

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 43:19 “Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (ESV)

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So You Say You Know About God, but Do You Really Know Him?

Especially For You JoaynnTo say you know God, know his Word, know what he desires from you to please him, and not do what he desires is to not know him but only know about him when you choose not to walk in obedience and enter into a relationship with him.

It’s easy to profess “I know God” “I love God”, “I know the Word of God” “God is good” when things go the way YOU expect. But do you really know him or only know about him because of what you profess? Genuine love reflects God’s love. Your life will reflect the love of God in your heart when you choose to keep his commandments and live by His Word.

For every occasion in life, many of us have an agenda we wish to accomplish. There’s something we want to do and we will make plans to do it. But we must always be reminded God’s agenda is not our agenda. Yes, sometimes things will work out as we plan and some things will not. In reality, it’s not supposed to. If it did when would we need God? I’m inclined to think never.

When faced with situations that are beyond our control yet are resolved because of decisions we made without God, don’t think it was because of you it worked out. It was all God. His grace was sufficient, in spite of. Don’t let your circumstances call for desperate measures in desperate times, or cloud your judgment and cause you to make decisions outside of God’s will, without God. Let him do what he knows best.

If you were to sit down and think about why that thing didn’t work out as you hoped, do you suppose it was because God allowed it to show you who is in control? Do you ever think maybe it was to get your attention to something he needs you to know about him to show his power?

Remember this, God is in control; not us. It is grace that works in and through us, not in spite of our weaknesses, but in and through it. God is working things out in our favor. It is a testament of our faith. Wait on God and let him do his work.

Wake every day with great expectancy from God. Allow His will, and not your will, be done. Get out of your own way and make room for God to do what he knows best. Don’t get it twisted. When things go right and you say, “That was God.” Yes it was but it was not by your agenda. It was his!

Be blessed! – JD

Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (KJV)

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You Are an Unlikely One, Chosen by God. Stop Trying to Walk in Someone Else’s Anointing and Walk in Your Own!

Not Their Anointing JoaynnGod uses the most unlikely people and circumstances to accomplish His purpose. You can be used by God. Follow your calling. He will get the glory. Trust in Him.

If you were to reflect on your life and think about how God used a broken vessel like you to accomplish his purpose no matter what you were going through, would you believe you are called and anointed by God? Would you believe your calling is your calling, your anointing is your anointing, you are an unlikely one to be used by God?

Get this, your gifting is your gifting. You have been chosen by God, to do a work in a special area that is not meant for anyone else. What God made specifically for someone else will not fit you. Stop running after gifts that are not yours. Walk in your own anointing. No one can lead in the specific area God has called you to lead. No one can do what God has called you to do. Stop trying to fit in with the rest of the world only to be like them.

Remember David? He was chosen by God to fight Goliath with the gifting God gave him. Saul tried to give him his armor, dressed him in his own tunic, put on a coat of armor on him, and a bronze helmet on his head (1 Samuel 17:38-39), but it didn’t fit. Why? Because it was tailored to fit him and not David.

After David fastened his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, he said, “I cannot go in these because I’m not used to them (17:39).” So David took it off. He took the very things he was familiar with to fight the way he knew how; a staff, five smooth stones, and his sling in his hand (17:40). With his sling and one stone he killed Goliath.

God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called. David used the things God equipped him with for the battle. David was not Saul. Therefore, he could not use the armor Saul gave him to fight the battle. It was not the right fit. He was not called to be a soldier. He was God’s chosen shepherd. He was anointed as the new king over Israel.

In order to fight like who he was called to be, he had to wear the clothing God gave him to complete what he was called to do. He was also an unlikely one. He was a murderer, betrayer, liar, and an adulterer. Ahh…he was not perfect. He was an unlikely 15-year old shepherd boy, chosen and anointed by God. He was a man after God’s own heart.

God doesn’t want your skills, or need to know how many degrees you have, or is looking for what you have done. He’s looking for an ordinary person to make a difference for His Kingdom. He chooses, not the best ones but broken ones to do his will. Don’t compare yourself to others. He anointed you for a special purpose. Be the person whom God has called you to be. Be used by God, just as David the unlikely one.

Be blessed! – JD

1 Samuel 16:11-13 “So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.” (NIV)

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September Pain Awareness Month has arrived! Be a Voice. Get Involved. Make a Difference!

Fibromyalgia Friends Chronic Pain Warriors-.pngIn case you don’t already know, September is Pain Awareness Month. Join me for the next 30 days and show your support. Wear or do something PURPLE. Be a voice. Get involved. Make a difference.

Through the month of September many across the nation are joining in to help raise awareness for the need of effective pain treatment and pain management for millions of Americans around the world who suffer with pain.

As a behind the scene pain advocate and one who is truly passionate about the cause, I try my best to do what I can when I can to make a difference. Before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a host of other conditions that cause me to suffer daily with chronic pain, I could not imagine what it would be like to be in pain indefinitely. Or knew of anyone who experienced what I find myself experiencing every day for over the past 14 years. Even so, I cannot imagine one individual that does not know someone who suffers with pain.

What I have learned throughout this pain journey, it does not discriminate. It can affect anyone at any given time without any warning. You never know when it can happen to you. And sadly, I find it is not until someone experiences pain at a level beyond comprehension that will last past infinity, they may never understand the significance of the need for effective treatment and care. It is my hope one day, new treatment and new research develops that will help other American pain sufferers find some form of normalcy and have a better quality of life as a result of their findings.

There are a number of ways you can get involved. It can be something as simple as calling a friend or love one you know who suffers with pain and letting them know they can count on you for support just by checking on them from time to time. Love and compassion can go a long way. Let them know you love them and are there for them.

Lastly, find an organization that offer information and resources to consider during the month of September. You can visit various pain organization websites like U.S. Pain Foundation, National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA), or Power of Pain to get involved with planned events and activities. And by all means don’t just get involved during the month of September but show your support throughout the year. You don’t know how much your support, no matter how big or small, can change a life.

As for me, I may have Fibromyalgia and suffer in silence with chronic pain every day but you wouldn’t know it when you see me. When you say, “But you don’t look sick” you’re right I don’t. But I am sick. I don’t need to look like it for you to know.

I am a chronic pain warrior. I’m a victor and not a victim. I’m taking back my voice to raise awareness. I have a condition but my condition doesn’t have me. I may have been diagnosed with a disease but this disease does not define me. I may suffer with symptoms of fatigue, chronic pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, loss of concentration, and memory loss to name a few. Make a declaration today,

To My Fellow Fibromyalgia Friends, Chronic Pain Warriors, and Love Ones: Here’s to more pain-free days filled with laughter, joy, and praise! Proudly Wear Purple!

Be blessed! – JD

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Stop Wrestling With God. Your Arms Are Too Short to Box With Him. When He’s Trying to Take You to the Next Level, Stop Resisting. Be Intentional. Let Him!

Every Blessing JoaynnGod will break us to bless us before he makes us great. Don’t resent preparation before elevation. It’s required. Trust God. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

Have you ever noticed what happens when God is about to elevate you and take you places you’ve never been before? How things change in your life unexpectedly when He has you in transition while in a place of waiting and you feel uncomfortable?

You begin to lose friends, valued possessions, haters and the opinion of others are at an all-time high, and relationships become a lost memory as a result of the change. Yet it doesn’t have a thing to do with you, even though your mind will try and convince you that it does. You begin to think you’ve done something wrong and think it’s all your fault when you begin to lose things and people who leave without warning. Trust God. It’s all for a good reason.

Everybody can’t go with you where God is taking you nor can they see what God is about to show you. While there will be some people who can’t stand to see you blessed, some will not be able to handle the blessing God is about to provide you when you pass the test. Some people will have to fall off. Don’t regret the process. Count it all joy.

And if that doesn’t help, remember Moses, Jacob, and Job who all found themselves alone wrestling with God in unfamiliar territory as God led them to the “other side.” He had to take them to a place where the crowd could not follow. He was positioning them for what he was about to do in their lives. He was preparing them for the next level. Revelation before elevation is a not a myth, it is a fact. Pay attention.

Moses tried everything he could and made all kind of excuses to get out of going to Egypt to deliver God’s people from bondage. Jacob was full of fear, anxieties when faced with meeting his brother Esau who vowed to kill him and found himself alone in the desert where he wrestled with God, and won. Job wrestled with God as he sought answers to why all the afflictions had come upon him. But they never lost their faith in God. Nor did they give up. They stood on God’s Word and fulfilled His promises.

Here’s a thought, God has set you apart for his purpose. It will be uncomfortable. You may even be confused when others are not happy for you, especially those you thought were close to you. It’s just a test. This means war! And the devil knows this. The devil knows what God is about to do and will do everything in his power to distract, destroy, and discourage you from reaching your destiny that you may never get to experience the manifestation of God’s glory. Do not be dismayed. Don’t give up. Be encouraged. God’s up to something.

When you begin to notice the very things you become complacent with that will change for reasons you may never understand and can be frustrating when faced with a fear of the unknown, know that God is changing things in your life for a greater purpose. You may not know what to expect without knowing what’s ahead. Have faith it will work out for the greater good.

You may find yourself having trouble with adapting to change, wanting to stay with what’s familiar, and keep things as they are because it’s easier to accept or settle where you are because you’re so used to things working out as they have been. Change your mindset. God desires you grow and with that will come tests, trials, and struggles. God wants to bless you and bless you more abundantly, if you allow him. Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will elevate you. Be ready.

Some of the best of the best men like Abraham, Moses, Jacob, and Job wrestled with God and His will for their lives and they made it through. Many couldn’t and didn’t go with them to their next level of destiny because they weren’t meant to. You are no different. You are on assignment for God. Be bold. Embrace preparation before elevation. Be fearless. Be intentional. Walk into your next level of destiny!

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 40:28-29 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (NIV)

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No Matter The Situation, Praise God. He Will Do It, Won’t He!

Crooked Places Straight JoaynnIf you were to look back over your life and reflect on everything you’ve been through that God has brought you through, and count your blessings one by one, your arms wouldn’t be long enough to carry them.

For every tear you’ve cried, every obstacle you’ve faced, God wiped the tears from your eyes and made a way out of no way.

For every person that has hurt you and talked about you behind your back, God took care of it. He made the crooked places straight. He placed the enemy under your feet. He turned it around in your favor and blessed you more abundantly.

For all the fiery trials you’ve met with, God took care of that too. His grace and mercy saved you. So when you find yourself complaining about anything, change your mindset. Give thanks to God. Count your blessings. Look at God! He did that!

When we pray and ask God for what we want, unanswered prayers is God saving us from what he knows we don’t need. Thank God for answered prayers for what we need and not for what we want. Thank him for unanswered prayers of what we wanted because he knew what was best for us.

Because we know what it is to be in need and not want, we know what it is to have plenty, even when it looks like we don’t have enough. We may have more month than money, but God! He will supply all our needs. His grace is sufficient. He already worked that thing out. Praise God. He provided. He will do it won’t he!

Philippians 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (NIV)

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Don’t Rush God. Be Patient. Wait on Him. He Knows Exactly What He’s Doing!

Promise With Provision JoaynnThe vision is yet for the appointed time. Don’t rush God. Be patient. Though it may tarry, it will surely come. Everything you’re believing God for will happen in his timing. Be careful what you ask God for. Because you just might get what you are not ready for.

When you ask God to stretch you beyond what you can imagine that you may grow in him, He will pull some things out of you that you didn’t know you had in you to fulfill his purpose. He will stretch you beyond the unthinkable. To do what he put inside you and knows you are capable of. And not what you think you know you are not made of. When he stretches you, it ain’t gone be pretty. Be ready.

Sometimes God has to set us up to bring out some things in us before he elevates us. It may seem like it’s taking too long but don’t get discouraged. Believe it or not, negativity can be a blessing in disguise. It’s calling your attention to something. Transform your mind. Pay attention.

Trials tests our character. Circumstances tempt us. We believe the opposite of what God promises us. We struggle with our identity and are tempted to find our purpose. When in fact, oftentimes it will expose flaws in our character and reveal our true identity.

Struggles do not define us. It’s all in our perception. We’re victors and not victims. God builds character through our trials to mold and mature us. He has to break us before he make us while we are in transition. Some things will need to change in your life for the better that you may grow, become more like Christ, and become a better person.

When our identity is tested we find out what we’re made of and who we truly are when faced with obstacles and situations that make us uncomfortable. Especially when we reach a point in life where we are uncertain what we should be doing to reach our destiny or fulfill our purpose.

We arrive at a place where our job no longer fulfill us, but we know deep inside there’s something greater inside us. With determination, we keep pressing on to do what we are created to do and change the world.

Remember, it takes time to build character. It doesn’t happen overnight. The wait is for a greater purpose. To ensure you are not only prepared when God elevates you but ready to do the work you are called to do. Don’t regret change. It’s required.

What seems difficult will not defeat you. It will make you stronger. Don’t regret the process. When the storm is over you’ll be wiser, better. You will come out stronger. Thank God for every trial, every setback, and every difficulty. He was preparing you for your destiny. Be encouraged. Don’t give up. You made it. Look at God. He did that!

 

Be Blessed! – JD

Habukkak 2:2-3 Then the LORD answered me and said, “Record the vision And inscribe it on tablets, That the one who reads it may run. 3″For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay. (NASB)

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You Can’t Trace God. Yet Trust Him!

Side Of You JoaynnThere are some things that happen to us in life we question that do not have answers. We may never understand why some things happen. Yet will we trust God in spite of unanswered questions.

When we suffer we look for reasons to explain the “what” and “whys” and we ask God” why is this happening to me?” When really, sometimes there are no answers.

We must learn to accept it as such. But oftentimes we will blame God or better yet give the devil too much credit. It is not for us to understand everything that happens in life. Nor is it for us to understand reasons why we suffer. Some things are not meant for us to figure out but keep our faith and trust in God.

There are three things we can be assured of. Sometimes suffering happens and God allows it, in order to shape us, to be used for a special purpose by God for special service to others. Sometimes suffering is an attack by Satan on our lives we may never understand. And sometimes there are no answers to why we suffer. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15).

Hold on to your faith even when you can’t see God. We can’t trace him. Trust him. Satan will use the very moment of our suffering when we are weak and vulnerable to stir doubt in God and wants to cause us to lose faith in Him. But if we were to ask ourselves these questions, can we ever know.

If we didn’t suffer how then would our faith grow? If we didn’t go through trials whether temporary or enduring, there would be no room for growth. For every attack the enemy attempts on us, the greater our faith should become. When the attack is deeper than we’ve ever seen before, our faith should increase more.

How can we grow if we’re never tested? How can we grow if we never have troubles? How then will we know God if we never go through trials or tribulations? Don’t stagnate your growth. Consider it all joy when trouble comes. Faith produces perseverance. And here’s the good news! We have two choices, (1) we can curse God and give up or (2) we can trust God and draw from his strength to keep going.

God doesn’t make any mistakes. Testing is for a greater purpose. Glory in your suffering. Perseverance helps your faith grow, even in suffering. Remember, when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3, 4).

No matter what situation you may find yourself in today, declare “Yet will I trust him. God I can’t trace you. I may never understand why things happen as they do because some things are not for me to understand. In spite of, yet will I trust him.”

Be Blessed! – JD

Job 23:8-10 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (AMP)

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Dear Absent Father from The Mother of A Daddyless Daughter….I Just Want To Say “Thank You And You’re Welcome!”

Dear Absent Father,

To My Daughter JoaynnI penned this letter to you, with my deepest regards, to surprisingly thank you for selfishly choosing to be an absent father.

When I look at my daughter every day and delight in how much she’s grown, I can’t help but thank God for the life she has successfully achieved being raised by a single parent. I made one of the best decisions ever. To nurture, guide, be there for her, and always love her.

As I think of the very moment I laid eyes on this precious human being, fell in love with her, saw so many parts of you in her reflection, there’s no denying she’s yours, I couldn’t imagine how great her life would be impacted when you chose not to be a part of, or truly acknowledged her existence. Thank you for leaving an innocent child that didn’t ask to come here, emancipating yourself from her life before and after she was born, to take care of your other children and freely live your life as a single man.

I prayed I could raise her to be an honorable, responsible, respectable, strong-willed, independent adult. Thanks to you I did, in spite of some tough challenges I faced without your help. And most of all, you don’t know what you did for me. Each and every challenge brought out the best in me. I found strength I didn’t realize I had enough of, to raise my daughter all by myself. Cheers to you! I’m grateful.

Thank you for contributing to what could have been a disaster to your “no father figure daddyless” daughter’s struggles with feelings of low self-esteem, self-worth, identity, and value. Good news! Thank God! It didn’t break her nor will it ultimately affect her life-long relationship choice in her future husband. Long talks, loving family support will continue to help her with that. She’s beautiful, confident, strong, and intelligent.

For times she would have looked up to and admired you for being a great father who set the example of what to look for in a man but had abandonment, trust, and betrayal issues, thank you for helping her learn what it took to persevere. She’s wiser, better. She chose not to look for love, acceptance, or validation in all the wrong places or searched for the identity the world thinks she lost, because of her absent father. Thank you. She’s an amazingly strong woman.

She decided on her own what not to look for in another man what she never saw in you, because of the example you didn’t set. She chose not to settle. She never ran into the arms of a man in search of a lack of affection to fill an empty void in her heart, because of one of the most precious gifts you decided not to give her; unconditional love. No worries. I took care of that for you.

Thank you for the times you didn’t call, write, or be there for her on special occasions or remembered her birthday, that could have burned a hole through her heart. You cannot even imagine how it may have negatively defined who she would become. No worries. I helped you out with that too, stepped in on your behalf, made up for your absence, and set the right example as best as I could as a mother. I am, and you too would be proud of her. No need to thank me for it. It’s on me. You can have this proud moment for free.

Hats off to you for the small, sporadic monthly child support checks each year you thought was enough to raise a child that could never cover the costs for food, shelter, medical expenses, or pay for one outfit or a pair of shoes each year she grew out of, but managed to walk a mile in to reach the place she is now.

Words cannot express how grateful we are to you for contributing to a debt that can never be repaid for anything I’ve done, because my unconditional love was free, and it didn’t cost a thing. Nor do you owe me or this precious being back pay for the gift of life, so don’t ever feel guilty. The glory belongs to God. We have God to thank for the free gift of life he gave her!

Thank you absent father, for making me one of the richest persons in the world for a debt you could never repay. Nurture, guidance, advice, forgiveness, structure, discipline, value, self-worth were all free.

And let me leave one last tip for you before I go, to show my gratitude of how much I appreciate you for not being that “involved, loving, caring father.” Pat yourself on the back for your biological contribution, but don’t wait until she become successful and accomplish all she dream or hope for, and try to claim your “undeserved” back pay for something you chose all your life to not be a part of. Just send a thoughtful card wishing her the best and tell her, “Thank You.” You’re welcome!

With love,

Signed ME, a proud single parent

-JD

Ruth 3:10 ‘And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.” (ESV)

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If You Know Your Vision Is From God Walk in It, Even If You Didn’t Ask For It.

Vision of Promise JoaynnWhat do you do when one of the most difficult challenges you face is keeping the faith when God gives you a vision you clearly did not ask for that completely agrees with his Word, and no matter how much you do your best to honor his request, nothing works out as you would like?

Do you persevere and press on until something happens or do you give in to the lies of the enemy and give up? What do you do? If you had to answer this question, what would be your answer?

Well, when I asked myself this question at a time I was going through what seemed like an endless journey of defeat, I wanted to give up. I thought of the many times when nothing work out as I plan and it felt like I failed to glorify God even though I clearly know the vision is from Him. Because this feeling I have loving what I do that I feel I’ve been called to do won’t go away, no matter how hard I fight against it and want to give up when nothing is happening as I would like on any given day. I can’t sleep and I’m always thinking about doing something when it concerns the vision God gave me for my business.

I’m very passionate about what I do when designing products with godly advice that instruct, inspire, and influence others. And for the most part I feel in my heart it’s not something that needs to be done but is something I need to do because I’ve been called to do it! I didn’t ask God for this vision, he gave it to me. I find myself praying every day asking him what is it I am to do in response to the vision when I’m confused and don’t have any answers. He sends the answer, not what I’m looking for but what he knows and already promised shall be done.

I never try to make things happen on my own. With every step I take, I seek God’s guidance and advice before moving to the next level. But I must be honest with you. I can get so frustrated when I see the many ideas and organizations offering advice, help, or webinars to help grow your business and feel it clearly is not for me. It’s overwhelming. Yet will I trust God through it all, even when it doesn’t feel right.

It can be so easy to give up, especially when the devil begins to play tricks on your mind trying to make you believe you are unworthy and can’t be used by God. Every day he comes at us with the same old tricks, same old stuff, on different days to destroy our hopes and dreams we know God has already given us. Nothing he does should surprise us and should never be a reason why we let him steal a thing from us. If God brought us to it, you best believe he will bring us through it. Believe. Won’t he do it!

Oftentimes we can be so busy looking for the right answers we believe are in alignment with what “we want” to find success and will miss the answer God already sent confirming his promise of what he already knows we will have. Faith is the key that unlocks the door to God’s power and paves the way to miracles and blessings! Walk in it. Go get your blessing!

Busyness is a lifestyle and a choice. Be careful to not be so busy you don’t have time to slow down and enjoy the life God promised you. Yes, delayed is never denied but in our busyness we can sometimes delay our own destiny to the point we miss our final destination. Many times answers can be right in front of you.

There will come times in our lives when we cannot see God in anything and feel as though he is not there, especially when our circumstances are at a crossroad when filled with hopelessness and despair. We mustn’t give up or give in to the enemy because God is always with us, and will never leave us or forsake us.

Although it is easier said than done to not give up and at times can be so difficult to do when looking to the right and to the left at our circumstances, if we were to change our mindset, renew our hearts, and redirect our thoughts to the Word of God, we will possess enough in all things through what God has already given us; abounding grace. “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

And remember, he always keeps his promises. He is a promise keeper, a heart fixer, a mind regulator, a way maker. He will make a way out of no way. Trust him. Keep the faith. We cannot do what we think needs to be done with things that are not in our control. We must give it to God. Leave it there. He will work it out for the greater good.

God is in control. He can do anything but fail. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think. Stay prayed up. Read and meditate on the word every day, without ceasing. Because as soon as God opens the door we know no man can shut, the devil will seize the moment to put his best first foot forward in the crack only to be stomped on, rebuked, bound, and placed under our footstool! His mission aborted and canceled! No weapon formed against us shall prosper.

God gave you a vision of promise. Don’t ever give up on your dreams. One phone call, one idea, one divine connection can be life changing. The vision is yet for the appointed time. Wait on God. Believe. It will surely come.

God is the God of impossible. No matter what we are going through or how impossible our situation looks on any given day, trust God believing he can and will make a way out of no way. Believe. It shall be done. God said it, I believe it that settles it!

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 55:11 “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (ESV)

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Walk in Humility and Watch the Power of God. Have An Attitude of Gratitude. Do Good for Others!

Their Heart JoaynnOur attitude can be our greatest asset the moment we open our eyes, and will determine our destiny, today. Count it all joy. Think positive.

To operate in humility is to bow down to the will of God and put the needs of others first before yourself, with no hidden agenda to exalt yourself. Pride or arrogance doesn’t get in the way of being a blessing to others. You seek God’s wisdom, listen to His Word, and seek to do what it says. It is then you will see the glory of God operate in your life when you least expect it.

Your works are not based on your own merit or what you’ve done to accomplish your will or find success. It doesn’t take cliques or clichés to be accepted. You don’t focus on making impressions on people that you may receive honor and glory. In all you do, God gets the glory.

We may never understand the workings of God but what we are assured of, He can do anything but fail. There is a reason God keeps you hidden for his purpose. Your work will not be in vain. He is working things out in your favor. The manifestation will be so great you will know it was God and God alone who worked out the situation on your behalf, met every need, and showed himself strong.

Walk in truth, honor, and humility and watch the power of God. Forgo your own desires and don’t be afraid to inconvenience yourself to do good for others. God will reward your faithfulness. Don’t look for people to accept, acknowledge or approve of you. You don’t need to be part of a certain group to feel worthy and do the work of the Lord you are called to do.

Regardless of what others think of you, be worthy of the calling God has given you. He ordained it. You have a choice. Humble yourself or a life-changing experience will do it for you.

Be Blessed! – JD

Philippines 2:3-113 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (ESV)

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Welcome Wisdom Wednesday! Your Valley is Taking You Somewhere. Don’t Give Up. Run! Head Towards Your Future!

Wisdom Wednesday JoaynnWhat happens when you give it your all and even that isn’t good enough? One minute you’re rejoicing because something good just happened and in a split second bad news traveled faster. Only to leave you discouraged.

Your hope comes crashing down and you feel defeated. You think to yourself, everything you try doesn’t work out and you’re hoping a door would at least open wide enough to propel you on your way; in search of your destiny.

You know without a doubt you have a purpose and continue to search to find it, but the answers don’t come easily. You know you’ve been given a vision by God and you did your best to follow his leading.

It’s easy to say, “When you’ve done all you can do, stand.” But in the back of your mind you feel worthless because you’re doing nothing. You go to God, and it feels like He is not answering your prayers. Should you give up? Or push until something happens? Or keep the faith, no matter what?

Well, think about this. Yes, it can be truly difficult to believe God at a time when your troubles outweigh your circumstances, your faith is deeply tested, and you’re stuck deep in the valley with no hope in sight. You’re waiting for God to send a rope to pull you out. You will have trials. Your trust in God will be shaken. The valley is not meant to break you but to make you stronger.

There is a divine purpose for your being in the valley. God has to take you through a walk in the valley one step at a time, to bring you out better than you went in. God is faithful. If he can trust you with little he will make you a ruler over many. Stop looking behind, in front of, around you or to the right or to the left. God will make everything all right. Trust him.

Don’t allow failure to be a crutch that cripple you and cause you to give in to fear and allow Satan to stop your anointing. Don’t worry. God gave it to you. No one, not even Satan can stop your anointing.

Delayed is never denied. Whatever it is you are believing God for may not come when you want but it will manifest in his timing. Don’t give up. Keep trying. Be still in the Lord. Your valley will take you to the next level God has prepared for you. Your future is waiting.

Your future is not your past. It’s in front of you. Don’t look back on what was left behind you. Run. Move forward. Head towards your future.

Be blessed! – JD

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” (ESV)

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Marvelous Monday Motivation! Thank You God. I Remember!

God I Remember JoaynnRepeat after me, “God I won’t forget what you’ve done. I thank you for everything. I remember!” When I’m going through what may seem like the impossible, or even in times when things are going great, I will make “God I Remember,” my declaration.

God I remember when there was lack, insufficient funds, no food to eat or clothes on my back or shoes on my feet. You supplied all my needs. I remember infirmities in my body, sick, riveting with pain. By your stripes I am healed.

God I remember when the enemy came to destroy me you vindicated me. No weapon formed against me. God I remember when my burdens were heavy, my yoke was not easy, and my cares were cast upon you you gave me rest. For your yoke is easy and your burden is light. You rescued me in distress.

God I remember when I was in trouble, you saved me. You thought enough of me to send your only Son to die for me. God I remember you and all you’ve done and are doing because you love me.

God, I will never forget you. By faith, I will always remember you.

Think about all the things God has done for you. Remember the things he brought you through. Praise God. He remembers you. He will never forget you. Today is a brand new day. His mercies are brand new every day. No matter what happens, forget the negative and focus on the positive.

Say to yourself, “God I remember!”

Be blessed! – JD

Isaiah 46:9 “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me,” (ESV)

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