SEASONS OF adversity

When was the last time you had a season of adversity? Of hardship, of pain, of loss, of loneliness, the list goes on. What do you do in that particular season? It’s difficult for what I’m about to say but we need to not just go through them we are to grow through them.

2 Corinthians 12:10

10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In our own lives we to go through seasons. Seasons of fear, loneliness, doubt, heartache, despair, pain, depression. ALL OF THESE ARE Seasons of hardships. In these times we want to hide and run from those problems. 

Here are just a few examples who had seasons of adversity:

Saul chased David for some time, David hid in caves where he wrote most of the Psalms. 

Moses who wandered in the wilderness forty years

Joseph who was sold in slavery

Ruth lost her husband

Nehemiah had to fight off naysayers

Daniel was thrown into a lions den

Paul who while in prison wrote most of the New Testament

Each of these had adversity, but had the choice to let fear and doubt and depression hinder them.

What season are you going through? If you’re on the mountain top soaring high, then awesome. But remember that it’s in the valley of adversity where vegetation grows and where the flowers bloom. There is no growth on top of the mountain but only find rocks and boulders there. On top of the mountain is no place to put down roots, that happens in the valley below. Don’t rush the season you are in child, learn to rest in Him.

SEASONS WILL COME AND GO BUT HIS LOVE FOR US WILL NEVER CHANGE, HIS PROVISION, HIS PROTECTION, HIS CHARACTER OF WHO HE IS WILL NEVER CHANGE. AND HE MEETS US RIGHT WHERE WE ARE AT.

Why is it that we have to go through those tough times in life? If we always experienced the good times we would never be able to know what it means to say “… For when I am weak, then I am strong.

A TIME FOR EVERYTHING

From the time that we were knitted in the womb (psalm 139:13-16) to when our life is over, God will have orchestrated every move, every challenge, every part that we had faced. But the most assuring part is that He has a plan for everyone. Not just for salvation (2 Peter 3:9) but He has given us a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

He knows the plans for us, plans for welfare not of evil, to give us a future and a hope.

Solomon tells us that there is a time for everything. No matter what season that we are in, God has also given us provision for that time.

Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

WE ALL KNOW WHICH SEASONS WE WOULD LIKE TO BE IN. 

EVERYONE DESIRES TO BE IN THE GOOD AND COMFORTABLE SEASONS, PREFERRING LAUGHING TO MOURNING, LOVING TO HATING, GETTING TO LOSING; BUT WHATEVER SEASON GOD HAS PLACED US IN, WE MUST ALSO RESOLVE TO FAITHFULLY SERVE HIM THERE.

ARE YOU IN A SEASON OF FRUITFULNESS? A SEASON OF TRAGEDY OR GRIEF? KNOW THAT THE LORD IS WITH YOU TO GIVE YOU STRENGTH!

Growing in Christ Part 3 of All Things New Series

All Things New Series Part 3

God all made us for His Glory, we are His creation and He has made us with intricate intent. We may think at times and question God concerning the situation we are in. You may feel like you are at a dead end but God sometimes has to bring us to the end of ourselves for us to acknowledge the only One who can get us out of the mess that we have made ourselves to be at times. We were wired and designed to grow in Christ. But this World is constantly trying to persuade us to give, to grow not in God but in our passions, our own desires that are not of God.

Galatians 5:24 " Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" 

So what does it take to “Grow in Christ” Paul says it in Galatians 5:24 “Crucify the flesh” The only way that we can grow in Christ is when we are dead! Not physically speaking but to put off the flesh, Ephesians 4:22-24 says it better…

22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

To “put off our old self” meaning to not live that life anymore. 

To throw it out!

God is saying be Holy!

To be set apart from sin and evil.

The Road to Growth is Holiness

We have to make intentional choices in order to grow. There is no growth without change, there is no change without loss without pain. If we are going to grow, you will have to change, and change means you let go of some old things and grab hold of some new things.

“Put off your old self”

24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

LET IT GO

> Old habits

>Old hurts

>Old patterns

>Old sins

Throw them off and trust that God is working in you because without holiness we are unable to see God. We are made holy through the finished work of Christ. 

Holiness has to be continuously followed, put on and lived out in our daily lives. It is a work of God in us through the Holy Spirit that enables us to demonstrate holiness outwardly.


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Grace Makes Room for the New PART 2 of All Things New Series

All Things New Series Part 2

GRACE MAKES ROOM FOR THE NEW

Jesus says in Mark 2:21-22…

21 No one sews a piece of un-shrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. 22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.”

What is was He saying? “Christ was bringing something new to the table and it wasn’t going to fit into their old religious system of self-righteousness. The beauty of grace is that it doesn’t patch us up. Grace doesn’t patch our guilt our shame, it doesn’t patch up our mistakes our failures. Grace renews us, it transforms us, grace replaces!

The old is dingy, the new is fresh and bright. The old is done changing. The new moves and stretches. When you put a new shirt in the dryer, the heat causes it to shift in size. Jesus says “this new covenant of grace I bring…it moves. And you can’t expect to wear your old nasty dirty garments and expect to use the grace of God as a patch over your broken places. “Jesus ‘ grace is fresh for today. It won’t match up with that old garment. And when the heat comes on, you’ll find out grace is active. It’ll only continue to expose the rips and tears. In fact, Grace will make them bigger. Grace is destructive. Grace isn’t in the remodeling or refurbishing. It’s in the replacement business.   

WE CAN’T BRING THE OLD INTO THE NEW

WE CAN’T BRING OUR OLD WAYS INTO THE NEW

WE CAN’T PUT SOMETHING OLD INTO SOMETHING NEW

WE CAN’T BRING THE PAST INTO THE NEW

GOD IS SAYING MAKE ROOM FOR THE NEW!

2 Timothy 2:21

21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

Never will you empty out that God won’t pour in!

Do You Have Room For Him?

<p class="has-drop-cap" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">Say you're taking a trip last minute out of no where. Not a good idea, for some, it's a great idea. If you remember the important parts of the trip that is, the motel room. But hey, we all make mistakes like that, right? You've planned for everything else but the room, the most important part of the trip! You've realized that every motel and hotel you go to has a "no vacancy" sign on the outside. Have I made this mistake? Why of course not. Say you’re taking a trip last minute out of no where. Not a good idea, for some, it’s a great idea. If you remember the important parts of the trip that is, the motel room. But hey, we all make mistakes like that, right? You’ve planned for everything else but the room, the most important part of the trip! You’ve realized that every motel and hotel you go to has a “no vacancy” sign on the outside. Have I made this mistake? Why of course not.

You’re begging to the attendant at the service counter, “Please make room for me!” But every attempt goes unheard of. You go from hotel to hotel and motel to motel, still no room can be found.

She brought forth her firstborn Son…and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7 NKJV

In the gospel of Luke we read that Mary and Joseph having this same ordeal. Their trip was planned though, much anticipated and I’m sure Mary was anxious to get the child labor out of the way. But why couldn’t they find a room? Really? The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Messiah, The Chosen One, Son of God, the Creator, they were told to go away. Jesus, Mary and Joseph got rejected at every Inn (motel) they came across. They came to one Inn and all they had was a stable, a stable for animals. Not the best amenities but it worked.

  • Do we make the same mistake of the innkeeper? Do we tell Jesus that you have no time for Him today, ignore the prompting of the Spirit because its not convenient?
  • This Christmas, give to God your life, your time, and especially your heart. Listen for that urgent knock, and every time you hear it, move aside and make room for Him.

Hope Has a Name Part 2

THE INVITATION OF HOPE

THE CHRISTMAS STORY IS A BEAUTIFUL INVITATION. IT’S AN INVITATION FOR ALL TO COME AND SEE THE HOPE THAT HE HAS FOR ALL THOSE WHO COME TO HIM. IT’S AN INVITATION FOR ALL WHO ARE HURTING, WHO ARE HOPELESS, WHO HAS FEAR, WHO HAS SICKNESS AND WHO DOESN’T HAVE A SAVIOR.

THE NIGHT JESUS WAS BORN, THE HEAVENLY HOSTS WENT TO THE OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN TO LET A GROUP OF SHEPHERDS KNOW “A SAVIOR HAS BEEN BORN.” THE ANGELS MARVELED THAT CHRIST HAD COME TO RESCUE AND REDEEM, AND THEY LIT UP THE SKIES WITH THE THUNDEROUS PRAISE OF GOD. THAT NIGHT AN INVITATION WENT OUT: GO INTO BETHLEHEM TO SEE THE ONE WHO WILL BRING PEACE TO THE WHOLE EARTH.

LUKE 2:8-20

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 

“Glory to God in the highest,

    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over too Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

THE INVITATION FOR US TODAY IS TO COME ADORE THE ONE WHO BROUGHT OUR HEALING, OUR WHOLENESS, AND OUR PEACE WITH GOD.

COME, ENCOUNTER THE COMPASSION, COMFORT AND KINDNESS OF OUR SAVIOR.

COME, APPROACH WITH HEARTACHE AND BROKENESS WITH OUR WOUNDS AND OUR SCARS.

Hope has a name

Peace has a name

Joy has a name

His name is Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">COME, JOYFUL AND TRIUMPHANT FOR OUR VICTOR OVER SIN, HURT, AND PAIN HAS ARRIVED!COME, JOYFUL AND TRIUMPHANT FOR OUR VICTOR OVER SIN, HURT, AND PAIN HAS ARRIVED!

Are You Acknowledging Him?

JOHN 1:1213

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

How great it is to be called a son or daughter of the Most High. Every season of Christmas I am reminded of not only the Promise of Jesus but the invitation that He gives freely to everyone to receive Him. It is an invitation for all. “That no one should perish”


I’d like to mention that we can receive many things in life and people without actually acknowledging them. We take everything for granted at times, I know I do. Anyone who is of God has already received Him, but are we acknowledging Him? In our everyday? Are we showing it with our actions, on how we treat others, show love and our lives presenting Christ?

Receive definition: be given, presented with, or paid (something).

Acknowledge definition: accept or admit the existence or truth of.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

When we received Him, we had said “God I can’t do life on my own, I need your help, forgive me of any wrong in my life and help me everyday to live a life for you.” That is acknowledging Him!

Our victory, hope, healing, peace and joy is in acknowledging him for what he done at the cross.

SO ARE WE DECLARING WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST EVERYDAY? ACKNOWLEDGING THE POWER THAT IS IN HIS NAME WHEN WE RECEIVED HIM AS LORD OVER OUR LIVES?

OR ARE WE DECLARING WHAT OUR PROBLEMS ARE INSTEAD OF WHO WE ARE.

WE ARE WHO HE SAYS WE ARE:

WE ARE: 

Victorious.

Righteous.

Holy.

Blameless.

We are royalty.

<p class="has-text-align-center" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">We are his.We are his.

Hope Has a Name Part 1

The Promise of Hope

Even in those moments of testing and trials there is still a hope that carries me through. When everything around me is against me, when I hear those words from the enemy, “Just give up” Theres always a push, there’s always a reminder of a “Cloud of witnesses” that are cheering us on to never give up, to run with endurance the race that is set before me. But without Hope — it wouldn’t be possible.

Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

EVER SINCE THE FALL OF MAN, GOD PROMISED THAT A SAVIOR WOULD COME TO BE THE GAP BETWEEN MAN AND GOD, AND “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Cor. 5:21

Hope Was Prophesied

680 YEARS BEFORE CHRIST WAS BORN, ISAIAH HAD PROPHESIED OF THE COMING KING. 

ISAIAH 7:14 

“THEREFORE THE LORD HIMSELF WILL GIVE YOU A SIGN: THE VIRGIN WILL CONCEIVE AND GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND WILL CALL HIM IMMANUEL.

Hope Was Coming!

ISAIAH 9:2, 6-7

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.

IMMANUEL = GOD WITH US. WAS THE PROMISE OF HOPE TO COME AND THE PEACE FOREVERMORE.

THIS IS WHERE OUR HOPE IS FOUND, IS IN THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES, JESUS.

What ever promise that God has given you, remember the Hope that lies within Him, for without Him we have nothing and in Him we have our being.

Through it All

2020. From here on we will think of 2020 as a bad dream, a nightmare, a year of setbacks and unforeseen challenges, but it’s not over yet. For me it was a year of issues one after the other, especially my health. Looking back I couldn’t imagine not having the Lord by my side. The hope I had, the joy I’ve had after a fearful night. Through it all it has strengthened me.

The Israelites was in a similar situation – setbacks. In exodus 13:17 we read that God could’ve led the Israelites a different route, an easier route. But He chose a route that had an obstacle that would be placed between their enemies and the Promised land. the Red Sea.

We can only imagine the fear and uncertainty they were facing at that moment. Their enemy, the Egyptians, were closing in on them from behind. The Red Sea, an immovable obstacle, was before them. They had no other options.

But God.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, He split the Red Sea. He decimated their enemy before their very eyes. And on the other side they rejoiced. Moses wrote a song of celebration and God gave strength to His people.

Do you believe God can part the Sea that’s in front of you? All He is wanting you to do is just stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Wait and see what He is going to do next. He will get you through it, He will see you through it and He will guide you through!

Desperation

I believe there’s a difference between things that are given to us and things that are available to us in the unseen or the spiritual realm (2 Cor. 4:18). What’s given are the things that are just handed to us and we often become complacent in them.

It’s easy to settle for a simple, yet surface-level life, a job that just provides, the so-called American Dream, or a relationship with Jesus that has no depth. However, things that are available are true satisfaction, healing, miracles, purpose, breakthrough, power, closeness to God, and joy.

Desperation causes us to look beyond what’s given. Desperation takes what’s available. It says, “There has to be more and I need it.”

The woman with the issue of blood that we read in Luke 8:43-48 was to say the least very desperate. She had spent her life savings just to find a cure but nothing helped. She had heard of a man named Jesus who was in town. A man who some claimed was the Messiah, but she was willing to just touch the hem of His garment to be healed.

She didn’t let the crowd that was pressed around Him stop her. She didn’t let the naysayers along the way to doubt her. She didn’t care about her social status, she was desperate.

There are times when we need to get out of our box of what’s “normal.” It might require undignified prayer, praise, fasting, and devotion. If we want to experience a touch from Heaven badly enough, we’ll do whatever it takes. Desperation makes a move.

What is one move you could decide to make today?

WIDE OPEN

God desires relationship. He wants to be part of every aspect of our lives. He wants to come in and fill every void space in our minds, our hearts and soul. All He requires is for us to keep the doors to our hearts wide open.

Psalm 24:7

“Lift up your heads, O gates!
    And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.”

Prayer:

Lord I give you control over every area of my life. Every ancient door in my life, and stubborn entrance within my heart, my mind, my body and soul be lifted so that you can come in and have your way.

Outnumbered, Over Taken and Out of Options

Outnumbered. Over taken. Out of options. 

EXODUS 14:10-14

10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Sometimes we run out of options but we never run out of opportunities. We may feel:

  1. OUTNUMBERED – but not forgotten.

2. Overtaken – but not forsaken.

3. Out of options- opportunity for God to do something that He has never done before.

It takes us running out of options before we get to a Divine opportunity at times. It seems when you have no options thats when God can do what He does best — miracles.

In the book of Exodus, God ordained that place where they would be outnumbered, overtaken, but it gave divine opportunity for a miracle.

The enemy delights in shutting down all of our options so that we reach a point that we can compromise or quit.

But Moses says this…”“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.”

When you run out of options somewhere hidden in that situation is a divine opportunity for God to move in a way that you would not get if you still had alternatives that you could turn to other than God.

When you run out of options it gives an opportunity for God to do a miracle!

When you run out of options it is God that is saying, “Stand firm and see the Salvation of the Lord.”

Do you feel Outnumbered? Overtaken or Out of Options?

Take God at His Word… Stand firm and see the Salvation of the Lord!

With Ashes Comes Beauty

To grant those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called the oaks of righteousness… 

–Isaiah 61:3 ESV

There was a man whose livelihood was in the wine industry. He was asked by a friend if the drought they were having in California was negatively impacting him.

He said no and that actually grapevines are amazing plants because the harsher the weather and the rougher the vines are treated, the better grapes they eventually produce. Their roots are forced to dig deep to get what they need to survive, thus producing healthier plants. This farmer had no idea how true what he said was for life in general.

We will always have an immovable mountain before us, we will always have another wilderness that we are going into or walking out of. However, these are the things that make us dig deep, to find our identity in Him. And to have a sturdy foundation for what comes next, we know in whom we put our trust in and dig even deeper. Let those strange times shape you for the better. We will eventually see fruit coming from them.

God is the vine; we are the branches; and united in Him, we shall flourish. God wastes nothing, and from these ashes, beauty will arise.

weep no more, God can use the ashes of your life. He breathes into the dust just as He breathed into Adam. Dust doesn’t mean the end it has to be present for the new to begin.

Who Will You Choose?

IN THIS CHAPTER, BEFORE JOSHUA’S PASSING, HE CALLS FOR ALL THE ELDERS, JUDGES, & LEADERS. HE BEGINS TO REMIND THEM OF THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD. HE REMINDS THEM OF EGYPT,  PAST BATTLES THAT GOD GAVE THEM VICTORY OVER. THE MANNA THAT WAS GIVEN EVERYDAY IN THE WILDERNESS. 


14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” — Joshua 24:14-15

We have choices everyday. What to wear, what to eat that day. But everyday we make a conscience decision to choose Him in everything.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

ii. Joshua could make this statement because he had lived a life that continuously chose to serve the LORD.

· Joshua chose to fight against the Amalekites – choosing when it might cost everything.

· Joshua chose to reject the golden calf – choosing when the flesh might be satisfied.

· Joshua chose to serve the Lord by serving Moses – choosing a humble place.

· Joshua chose to believe God’s promise about the Promised Land – choosing against the majority.

· Joshua chose to recognize the leadership of the Captain of the LORD’s army – choosing surrender to God.

· Joshua chose to take leadership of Israel and lead them into the land – choosing faith instead of unbelief.

iii. God gives us choice. God is a choosing God; we are made in His image. He wants us to also choose.

————————————————————————————————————–

So who will you choose?

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. — Matthew 6:24

Obstacles

Isaiah 40:3-5

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”


In everything we do there is always preparation. Preparation to start a new job, preparation to getting married, preparation to having kids. You get the picture. And there is also another kind of preparation that God is calling us to do. This kind of prep is ongoing, it’s not only for a season of our lives but everyday.

There are obstacles that we can put before God, and those obstacles can be a hinderance to our relationship. What we might think is good for us on the other hand isn’t pleasant in the eyes of God. God can do anything, right? His power is limitless, we all know that. But it’s up to us, as obedient children of God to surrender those obstacles to Him. I like the prayer that David prayed in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me”

I don’t need to give examples of the obstacles that can get in the way, we all know those obstacles that we need to make flat. It’s all in the prep work to make every “mountain and hill low; the uneven ground shall become level…”

Right now, where you’re at ask the Lord to reveal those obstacles in your life, ask Him to make a way in the wilderness. Ask for help in preparing your heart for His soon return.