Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #81

#81 "Another Year Older, Another Year..."
January 30, 2007
"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath." (Psalm 39: 4-5)
I found myself wishing Linda, my best friend growing up, a Happy 50th Birthday last week. And that means that in three weeks she will be wishing me the same thing. Fifty? 50? 5-0? No matter how I write it, it doesn't look good to me. And it wasn't feeling very good either. I decided to just put it out of my mind and ignore it.
But on Saturday morning, God decided that we needed to have a little chat about my turning 50 and what that's all about. Oh, how I wish I could see my life's end and the number of my days, as the Psalmist asked to see. Just how much time is left? I know they are a mere handbreadth. A vapor in the wind. A breath. I know that because I can see how fast the first fifty have gone by. And because my Bible says so.
My Heavenly Father revealed to me that I have two choices. I can be depressed and live in the regrets of the past... I spent a little while in the regrets. All the years that I didn't want Christ in my life. The years after I had asked Him to be my Lord and Savior, but continued to live on the fence, not wholly committed and very immature. The rebellious years. The stubborn years. The prideful years. There are situations in my life today that are a direct result of bad choices I made in the past. The result of bad choices that others inflicted upon me. Regrets and if-onlies. I quickly realized that this was not a fun place to be. So I repented, and wiped my tears and went to my Bible for the truth that will lead me to the second choice that I have... 
Aren't you glad that we serve a God who is a restorer? And a repayer?  As far as the years that I consider wasted...God says, "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten--the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm.." (Joel 2:25) That's everything...big and small...my bad choices and someone else's abuse. All of it...God will restore and repay me those years.  The years those "locusts" of life stole from me. I have already seen the restoration of some of them. God will restore the rest. I choose to believe that today. 
I also choose to believe that I still have a whole lot of living to do. My children are older, one of them is married and one is out on her own. I have more time. I have more flexibility and more freedom. God has work for me to do here and each milestone shows that He chose to have me remain to give Him a helping hand. It's up to me to make that time count for Him. He has begun using me in brand new ways and He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion. (Philippians 1: 6)  I choose to believe that today. 

Henry W. Longfellow writes, "Shall we sit idly down and say,
The night hath come; it is no longer day'
The night hath not yet come; we are not quite
Cut off from labor by the failing light;
Something remains for us to do or dare;
Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear."

I'm going to bear fruit in these upcoming years. I will never be too old to serve God. Even if the "keepers of my house tremble" (my arms and hands grow weak) and the "strong men stoop" (bent and feeble legs). Even when my "grinders" (teeth) cease because they are few and "those looking through the windows grow dim" (my eyes). [See Ecclesiastes 12] Verse 12:1 tells me to "remember my Creator" before these things take place. So I'm going to remember Him now....continue to serve Him now and for as long as He decides to use me.

I'm going to grow in the wisdom of God's word. I'm going to learn from my mistakes. All of the advances of modern medicine can't slow my aging but nothing can stop me from growing spiritually. I am going to treasure the events of my past..good and bad. The good in great thankfulness to God. And the bad .. well.. I will seek to be shown how to use those bad things to minister to others. You know if you never go through anything, it is hard to relate to someone else in trials. I want to be able to put an arm around someone and say, "I know what you're going through". (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.")

I want to love like Jesus loves. No matter who it is..no matter what they've done to me...or how they treat me. I want to be like Jesus. Everyday, I want to follow Him. I want to see two of my four children that haven't done so, come to the Lord. I want to tell my grandbabies about Jesus. I want to grow old with my husband and be that cute couple still holding hands in their 70's or 80's or 90's. I have asked God to keep me around  for these things...to see them, "before I depart and am no more" (Psalm 39: 13b). I'm not afraid of death...I long to look into the eyes of my Jesus and see the one who has walked with me every step of the way. The one who has loved me like no one ever did. The one who has cared for me perfectly. But I long to stay here for awhile and serve Him and bring others to Him. That's what keeps me going!

Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, prayed for her son's conversion for years. We all know what a great man of God he became. Ruth Graham tells the story of how, one day, shortly after Augustine's conversion, Monica announced to him that she had nothing left to live for, now that she had achieved her lifelong quest of seeing him come to faith in Christ. Just nine days later, she died. I pray to see the results of my lifelong quests.

An old man was asked if he were not rejoicing to think that his time was near when he would be called Home. The old man answered bluntly that he had no wish about it. When pressed for something more definite, he added, ?I have nothing to do with death. My business is to live as long as I can, and as well as I can, and serve my Savior as faithfully as I can, until He thinks it?s time to call me Home."

That's what I'm talking about! That's my 50th birthday wish and prayer.

Donna Schultz                                                                             

See www.tuesdayswithjesus.blogspot.com for archives.        

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #80

#80 "Letter To A Broken Heart" 
January 23, 2007
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Psalm 34:18 NIV) "If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, He'll help you catch your breath." (The Message)
I saw you when you woke up this morning. I was there when you opened your eyes and saw the same problem staring right back at you again. The night didn't change anything. Neither did your tossing and turning and walking the floors. It's there...but so am I.
Did you happen to look out your window? You know, the heavens declare My glory and the skies proclaim the work of My hands! They are speaking to you. Did you see the sun coming forth like a bridegroom out of his pavilion to meet his bride? The sun's rising and setting each day is My gift to you, reminding you of My faithfulness. I am in control, and the world is still spinning around on its' axis, because I hold it in My hands. I hold you in My hands too. In fact your name is engraved in My palms. I haven't forgotten you.
Did you hear that bird singing outside your window? Another gift from me! That bird that you see is My reminder to you that I will provide for your every need. That bird doesn't sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet I feed him. And oh, my beloved, you are so much more valuable to Me than he is! Why worry? You can't add a single hour to your life doing that. That sparrow isn't worth a penny, yet he won't fall to the ground apart from My will. Don't be afraid...I have numbered the very hairs on your head and you are worth far more than many sparrows.
I wish that you could see what I see. You are so beautiful and precious in My sight. You are the apple of My eye and the center of My attention. You are My child. I chose you...yes, you! Just the way you are. You are no mistake. I knew everything about you before I even formed you in the womb. And it was then that I chose you to be Mine. I see every move that you make and hear every word that you speak before it is even on your tongue. I am all around you...look behind you, I am there to protect you...I've got your back. Look in front of you...I'm there, leading you. Look next to you...I am there at your right hand to walk this journey of life with you. You are never alone. Take my hand and never be afraid. We're in this together, you and I. Let's walk...
Oh, how I wish that you could've been there when I healed the blind man and the leper. I wish you could have seen Me feed the five thousand. Maybe if you had seen Me walk on the water and calm the raging storm...maybe then you would believe that I have the power to calm the storms of your life. Maybe if you could've seen Lazarus, my dear friend Lazarus, appear at the mouth of the cave, still wrapped in his grave clothes and his face wrapped with a cloth. You would've witnessed first hand My power over death. Maybe then, you would believe. But you are blessed!  I told my good friend Thomas, "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." 
I promised you that in this life you would have trouble. I did not leave you unaware. A righteous man may have many troubles, but I deliver you from them all. My angels encamp all around you. They guard you in all of your ways. They lift you up in their hands so that you don't dash your foot against a stone. You don't even know the many times my angels have gotten you out of harms way. Because of my mercies, which are new every morning. There are mercies that you have received that you aren't even aware of. Dwell with Me. Rest in Me. Trust Me. Don't fear the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. If I am for you, who can be against you? No one! No weapon forged against you will prosper...this is your heritage from Me.
We have an enemy, you and I. He hates Me, and because you believe in Me, he hates you too. Don't let him trick you with his schemes. Be one step ahead of him. Know My Word. Know the truth. What I tell you is true and perfect. Remember that he is the father of lies. He comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But I came to make sure that you have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows. Learn My Word, so that you know My voice. I am your Good Shepherd. He's a wolf and sometimes, he looks good in his sheep costume...but don't be fooled.  Never choose his way out of frustration or desperation. Wait on Me...you will renew your strength. You will mount on wings as eagles. You will walk and not grow weary; you will run and not grow faint. I will strengthen you and uphold you with My mighty right hand. And always remember that I have revealed to you the ending of the story. I defeated Satan. I have the keys to death, hell and the grave. He is a defeated foe. I made a spectacle of Satan and his minions on the Cross. He has been overcome by the blood of the Lamb. I have overcome your every problem, your sickness and disease, your poverty and your shame. I AM.
I am a father to the fatherless. I am the lifter of your head. I am the third strand in your marriage, holding it together. I am your source of all needed supply. I am your provider. I am your healer. I am a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I am your vision. I am your light in a dark place. I am your cloud by day and your pillar of fire by night. I am the rebuilder of everything that is broken. I am your wisdom. I am your beautiful bridegroom and your suffering servant. I am the fourth man in your fiery furnace. I am your love. I am your burden bearer, your Savior and your avenger. I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I am a miracle worker. I am the door through which you can enter. I am your justifier, your mediator and your sin bearer. I am your redeemer who ever liveth. I am the unsearchable riches. I am your soon coming King. I am your Blessed Hope. I am your Chief Shepherd. I am Love itself. I am King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  
If you look to me, your face will never be covered with shame. I'll never let you down. I hear you and I'll save you out of all your trouble. Seek me and you'll find me and you'll lack no good thing. My eyes are on you, my ears are attentive to your cry. 
Look at me for a minute..I see you. I know you. If your heart is breaking today, know that I am close. You are my child and I hold you in my sight. Catch your breath. Oh, how I long to hold you in My arms. I look forward to the day that I will do just that...everything is going to be okay...I promise! .....Jesus

Donna Schultz                                                                             

See www.tuesdayswithjesus.blogspot.com for archives.        

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Addition to "Tuesday's with Jesus #79"

My sister-in-law, Barbara, sent me this after reading this week's "Tuesday's".  
I'd like to share with you the experience I had last year as the sixth grade catechist.  I had a very "lively" student who was an active participant in every activity.  While his classmates wanted to clobber him on more than one occasion, they did look up to him for his knowledge and understanding of the Word and always wanted him on their 'team' when we had inter-active exercises.  While he was very familiar with the Bible in its' entirety, his passion was the Old Testament, particularly the persecution of the Israelites.  It wasn't until we discussed our different cultures/backgrounds that I understood why.  Jonathon's parents and grandparents were immigrants from Iraq where there was (and still is) absolutely no religious freedom.  He and his family don't take for granted the freedom most Americans do to study and profess our Christian beliefs because they knew first-hand what religious persecution is.  His parents and grand-parents could never hold a discussion of their religious beliefs (unless it was the Koran) and profession of their faith and belief in Jesus was in secret.  They most likely would have been executed had they been found out.  He told his classmates he studies the Bible every day - just because he can.  He and his family are Christians - because they can..  When it comes to faith, they certainly don't take it for granted.  They know what it's like to have it taken away.
That totally tells it all. Aside from the benefits of God's Word to our lives, we often forget the privilege that we have to live in this country where we are free to be Christians, free to profess our faith and free to study the Bible.  God Bless America!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #79

#79 "The Call of the Word"
January 16, 2007
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Long ago I learned from your statutes that you established them to last forever." (excerpts from Psalm 119)
The Pastor's Weekly Briefing cites that memorizing & studying the Bible are low priorities. George Barna Research reports, "Our most recent surveys indicate that about half of all adult Americans listen to preaching or Bible teaching in a typical week." Although 1 out of 3 read the Bible during the week, only 1 out of 10 claim to study the Bible weekly and fewer than 1 out of 25 devote themselves to memorizing at least one new Bible verse per week.
I'm not sure if this research was gathered from among general "Americans" or if it included Christians. I do know that in talking to believers, I would dare to say that the statistics are not much better. The phrases, "I can't memorize Scripture...I'm just so busy....I'm not in the Word enough", are all too common. 
I'm not suggesting that you become a "Word Nut" like me (although it sure won't hurt). I must confess that I would rather be reading the Word, studying the Word, reading about the Word and hearing messages preached and taught on the Word, than just about anything else. I'm like a sponge. Give me Word and I soak it up...every last drop of it. What I AM suggesting is that the Word of God is calling. Like the Call of the Wild...this is the Call of the Word ...for you...in 2007.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross for the forgiveness of your sins, then you're on your way to Heaven. I must submit to you, however, that you probably have a lot of livin' to do here on earth first. God didn't save you and then send Elijah's chariot to whisk you away. He left you here. And He didn't leave you alone...He left you His Holy Spirit and His Word. He left His "Creator's Instruction Manual" for you, so that you would have the directions for navigating this thing called Life. 
This manual, your Bible, isn't for the coffee table, the bookshelf, your car or your basement. It's for your heart, your soul, your mind and your very existence. It is for here and now, today and everyday. I found a quote that said, "The Bible is like a telescope. If a man looks through his telescope he sees worlds beyond; but if he looks at his telescope, he does not see anything but that. The Bible is a thing to be looked through to see that which is beyond; but most people only look at it and so they see only the dead letter." (Phillip Brooks) Is your Bible alive to you...or just a dead letter?
God's Word, Your Bible, Is A Source of Wise Counsel.  Just the normal vicissitudes of life...those daily events beyond your control...can send you reeling in uncertainty and confusion. We need someone or something to guide us wisely. Psalm 119:24 says, "Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." When you don't know what to do, who do you turn to? Do you get on the phone and seek the advice of your friends? Your family? Dr. Phil or Oprah? Whose advice is your lamp in those dark places of life? Don't get me wrong..I'm not dissing godly counsel. The Bible even advises it in certain circumstances. But we don't need the pastor or the counseling center on our speed dial for every situation in life. We have the counsel of  El De'ot, the God of Knowledge Himself, to guide us and show us what to do in every situation of our life. I believe that there is not a thing that we face in daily living that isn't addressed in some way in the Bible.
God's Word, Your Bible, Is A Roadmap. When you're preparing for a vacation or a journey to somewhere you've never been before, don't you hit Mapquest? Each and every day is a journey for you to a place you've never been before. Life is a trip! A trip unlike every day before it and unlike any other day to come. Do you want a safe journey? One free of hazardous roadblocks and detours? Generally speaking it can be a smooth trip...if you follow the map. The Bible holds a map for your marriage. A map for how to raise your children. A map that is like a good employee handbook. A money management map. Turn the pages and find maps for friendship, service, attitudes, emotions and just about anything you can think of. The way is already marked out for you. Just like when you would go to AAA and the woman at the counter would highlight your way on the map, from start to finish...pointing out the construction and the detours for the quickest, safest arrival at your destination. God says, "In all your ways acknowledge me [Him], and I [He] will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3: 6) Elsewhere in Proverbs we are told that seeking out and accepting God's Word will give knowledge, wisdom, understanding, victory and protection. Do you want to have a safe journey and arrive well at your destination? Follow the Roadmap!
God's Word, Your Bible, Is A Weapon. This is my personal favorite. It is also the hardest to incorporate into your life. Ephesians 6: 17 says that we are to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and do battle with it. We are in a war. Spiritual warfare is all around and in case you haven't noticed, it's warring against you! I know that I say this a lot, to anyone who will listen...but I'll say it again...you can't use it, you can't fight with it...if you don't know it! Jesus, Mighty Warrior, knew this principle well and gives us examples of how to use it against the devil in Matthew, Chapter 4. With each enemy attack, Jesus answered, "It is written.." followed by Scripture. Verse 11 says, "then the devil left Him." James 4: 7 tells us to "resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Well, you can't resist him by saying, "Oh, please, Mr. Devil, leave me alone." Or by saying to your friends, "I wish the devil would just leave me alone." He's laughing at you. Your words don't scare him. But God's Word scares the life out of him!  But you have to know it to use it. And you can't know it if you never take the time to learn it. Maybe you can't memorize well. But I guarantee you that if you spend daily time in the Word...day after day, year after year...you're going to remember it. It will become a part of who you are.
When the enemy attacks your life, that is not the time to run for the Bible and look up your Scriptures. I've heard someone say that you prepare for war in times of peace. When the rockets and mortars are flying you must be armed right then and there to counterattack. And from years of personal experience, I can tell you that not only does the devil flee, but you will be so built up in your faith and you won't give way to panic, depression or defeat. You are armed with the weapon God has given you in His word. The Commander in Chief has equipped you for battle. He has given you everything you need....Learn how to use your weapon and for goodness sake...Use It!
As you begin this new year, 2007, can you admit that you are tired of the same old problems? Are you tired of your responses to those problems? Are you tired of being defeated, depressed and stressed? Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? I invite you to make a commitment right now, at the start of this year to read and study God's Word. Weekly service attendance and going to a Bible study for an hour each week don't count. I'm talking about personal time spent reading and meditating on the Bible. Asking the Holy Spirit to take the "Logos" word and make it a "Rhema" word of God that speaks directly to you and your situations of life. I can't even begin to describe for you what a transformation you will have. Romans 12:2 says to, "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Renew your mind with the Word. Ephesians 4:23 says, to be "made new in the attitude of your minds." Again...renew your mind with the Word.  

Noted Bible teacher E. Schuyler English told of Michael Billester, a Bible distributor who visited a small hamlet in Poland shortly before World War II. Billester gave a Bible to a villager, who was converted by reading it. The new believer then passed the Book on to others. The cycle of conversions and sharing continued until 200 people had become believers through that one Bible.

When Billeser returned in 1940, this group of Christians met together for a worship service in which he was to preach the Word. He normally asked for testimonies, but this time he suggested that several in the audience recite verses of Scripture. One man stood and said, ?Perhaps we have misunderstood. Did you mean verses or chapters??

These villagers had not memorized a few select verses of the Bible but whole chapters and books. Thirteen people knew Matthew, Luke, and half of Genesis. Another person had committed to memory the Psalms. That single copy of the Bible given by Billester had done its work. Transformed lives bore witness to the power of the Word. (Bible.org)

Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." The knowledge is within your grasp. Right in your hands. Pick up your Bible. Make it a priority. Daily. Transform your mind.....Transform your life....Transform your world.  Go ahead... I dare you! The Word is calling!! Here's praying for a transforming 2007 for you and for me!

Donna Schultz                                                                             

See www.tuesdayswithjesus.blogspot.com for archives.        

If you would prefer to not receive these e-mails, please let
me know at
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Lord leads you and if others would like to receive it, e-
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

#78 "No More Sleepless Nights"

January 9, 2007
"That night the king could not sleep." (Esther 6:1)
"..He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121: 3b-4)

The National Sleep Foundation reports that forty-eight percent of Americans report insomnia occasionally, while 22 percent experience insomnia every or almost every night. Another report that I found said that one in every five people suffer with stress-related insomnia. That's not just being unable to sleep for some reason. That's one in five people not sleeping because of worry, anxiety or stress factors in their lives. I have to admit that I don't really get it, because I have been blessed with the amazing ability to sleep through anything and despite anything. But if the stats are true, some of you may have this problem.

I would like to take you back in time for a few moments to Susa. All hell was about to break loose. One of the earliest examples of anti-Semitism was about to take place. A madman named Haman had convinced the King to carry out a total destruction of the Jews living in Susa. Haman also had an individual hatred for one particular Jew named Mordecai. Because this Mordecai wouldn't bow down to Haman, he, his wife and his friends decided to build a gallows and have Mordecai hanged on it in the morning. Don't you know that the devil loves to plot your demise in the dark?

But...."That night the king could not sleep.." (Esther 6:1) A day of divine reversal was about to dawn. The sound of sawing and hammers pounding could be heard throughout the kingdom as Haman's plot was unfolding. But the king was also awake. Asking that the book of the chronicles and record of his reign be brought to him and read, the king probably figured that the boredom would lull him to sleep. But he sat straight up when he heard that there was a man named Mordecai who had previously exposed an assassination plot to kill the king. And nothing had been done to honor this man. So at the same time that the gallows were being built, the plan to honor Mordecai was being set in motion as well. The entire course of Jewish history was changed because..."That night the king could not sleep." (for the rest of this amazing story, read the Book of Esther)

There is a quote from "Finding Favor with the King" by Tommy Tenney, that I have never forgotten. "The same night that Satan plans your demise, your King is planning your reward!" God is the King who never sleeps. Satan is quite an idiot, if you'll excuse my words! He thinks that if he plans and plots your destruction in the dark, if he can hide in the shadows of the night and if he can keep you up worrying about it, that he'll be sure to succeed. I guess he forgot some of his Bible knowledge. Satan does know the Scriptures, you know (look at Matthew 4: 6). What Scriptures did he forget, you may ask? Let's take a look...

How about Psalm 121: 3b-4 that says, "He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep?" "Indeed" in the Hebrew means "surely" in an emphatic tone. Emphatically the Word tells us that God does not sleep or slumber. One Hebrew use of "slumber" means "drowsy". God doesn't even get drowsy! He's up all night. So that you don't have to be!

How about Psalm 143: 8, "Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love." Good news will come in the morning after the King has been at work in the middle of the night. Lamentations 3: 23 says that God's mercies are "new every morning". While the hammers are pounding the nails in the gallows for your destruction, God is putting the finishing touches on new mercies for you to receive in the morning. And always remember Psalm 30: 5b: "weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
The King is always awake. Preparing His best for you. Preparing to honor you, just like Mordecai.

Don't be afraid of the dark. I know that it seems fierce. Pain seems to intensify in the dark hours of the night. So does fear. But the Bible says that "even the darkness will not be dark to you [God]; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you [God}." (Psalm 139: 12) God is up, awake and it is not dark to Him. Jesus is the Light of the World.

I have had to learn this lesson in an interesting way. Someone very dear to me has gotten themselves on an "up all night, sleep all day" schedule. When I'm sleeping, this person is out and about, somewhere, who knows where? My Heavenly Father has brought all of these Words to my remembrance and I pray them back to Him each night, entrusting my loved one into His care before I retire for the night. I can't do anything about it. I can't change anything by staying up all night and worrying. But He can! He's up. He's awake. He doesn't even get drowsy. And His eyes are on the one that I love. So why should I lose sleep? I can trust Him. You can too.

Tonight, get into your bed and feel the coolness of your pillow on your face and the warmth of your covers on your body. You may still be able to hear the nails being pounded on the gallows of Satan's destructive plan off in the distance. But remember, your King is walking the floors of Heaven. On this very night, the King won't sleep. And while Satan may be planning your demise, The King is planning the answer to your prayers and the honor that He will give you. You will awaken tomorrow to all of His new mercies. This one night, the night that the King can't sleep....could change the course of your history forever. Tonight, the King won't sleep, so why don't you?

Donna Schultz
See www.tuesdayswithjesus.blogspot.com for archives.
If you would prefer to not receive these e-mails, please letme know at savemom@aol.com. Feel free to forward them as theLord leads you and if others would like to receive it, e-mail savemom@aol.com to be added to the list.

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