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Friday, October 13, 2017

Whatever He Did The Lord Made it Succeed. These Are The Results.

Whatever He did God made it succeed. I love to read the story of Joseph life. I know his story like the back of my hand, I have read it so often, I could probably write a book on it. Everything he did or touched was a blessing. In the Pit He prospered, the Prison and the Palace he Prospered. 

Genesis 39:2-6, “…the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house because of Joseph; so the Lord’s blessing was on everything that Potiphar owned, in the house and in the field.  So Potiphar left all that he owned in Joseph’s charge; and with Joseph there he did not [need to] pay attention to anything except the food he ate…” (AMP); Genesis 39:23, “The warden paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s care because the Lord was with him; whatever Joseph did, the Lord made it prosper.” (AMP)

HIGHLY FAVORED: Joseph’s family history had a big impact on the direction of his life. This journey from favored son to slave, prisoner to Egypt’s second-in-command, ultimately led to provisions for all of Israel during seven years of famine when the nation otherwise would have perished. Jacob’s life is a story of how God can take the worst possible circumstances and turn them into a positive outcome for His people.

BOTH WERE HIGHLY FAVORED BY THEIR FATHERS: (Genesis 37:3, “Now as it happened, Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other children, because Joseph was born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob gave him a special gift – a brightly colored coat” (TLB); Matthew 3:17, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, and I am wonderfully pleased with him” (TLB);
  BOTH WERE SHEPHERDS TO THEIR FATHER’S SHEEP: (Genesis 37:2, “Jacob’s son Joseph was now seventeen years old. His job, along with his half brothers, the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah, was to shepherd his father’s flock…” (TLB); John 10:11, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” TLB);
BOTH EXPERIENCED EXTREME TEMPTATION: (Genesis 39:7, “One day at about this time Potiphar’s wife began making eyes at Joseph, and suggested that he come and sleep with her” (TLB); Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, to be tempted there by Satan” TLB);
BOTH WERE SOLD FOR THE PRICE OF A SLAVE: (Genesis 37:28, “So when the traders came by, his brothers pulled Joseph out of the well and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver, and they took him along to Egypt” TLB; Matthew 26:15, “and asked, “How much will you pay me to get Jesus into your hands?” And they gave him thirty coins” TLB);
  BOTH WERE BOUND WITH CHAINS: (Genesis 39:20, “He threw Joseph into prison, where the king’s prisoners were kept in chains” TLB; Matthew 27:2, “Then they sent him in chains to Pilate, the Roman governor” TLB);
BOTH FORGAVE THOSE WHO HARMED THEM: (Genesis 45:14-15, “Weeping with joy, he embraced Benjamin, and Benjamin did the same. Then Joseph kissed each of his brothers and wept over them, and after that they began talking freely with him” (NLT); Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive these people,” Jesus said, “for they don’t know what they are doing…” TLB); and
BOTH SAVED THEIR NATION WHEN GOD TURNED WHAT WAS EVIL TO GOOD:(Genesis 50:20, “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil, for he brought me to this high position I have today so that I could save the lives of many people” TLB; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8, “Our words are wise because they are from God, telling of God’s wise plan to bring us into the glories of heaven. This plan was hidden in former times, though it was made for our benefit before the world began. But the great men of the world have not understood it; if they had, they never would have crucified the Lord of Glory” TLB).

May you as people of God, and Disciples of Christ, likewise, live lifestyles that Parallel that of your Savior! Now, to learn some leadership lessons from Joseph’s Journey!

LEADERSHIP LESSON #1 FROM JOSEPH’S JOURNEY: POSSESS THE POWER OF FORGIVENESS! (Genesis 50:18-21, All those years that Joseph languished as an Egyptian slave could have been spent plotting revenge on his brothers. He could have easily let his anger turn to hatred, but instead, he chose to forgive them. When he later found himself second-in-command over all of Egypt, his brothers stood before him and he spoke to them kindly, assuring them of his forgiveness. True Leaders know that Forgiveness frees them from the bondage of past wrongs. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:26-32 MSG).

LEADERSHIP LESSON #2 FROM JOSEPH’S JOURNEY: PROVE LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY! (Genesis 39:2-6, His Egyptian Master became very fond of Joseph and made him his personal aide. He put him in charge of all his personal affairs, turning everything over to him. From that moment on, God blessed the home of the Egyptian—all because of Joseph. Like an Effective Leader, Joseph demonstrated that every task – no matter how big or small – should be done in God’s Honor. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.” (Colossians 3:22-25 MSG).

LEADERSHIP LESSON #3 FROM JOSEPH’S JOURNEY: LEARN TO TOLERATE TEMPORARY TOUGH TIMES! (Genesis 40:23, Truth is, Joseph could have tried to make things happen on his own (Example: Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael); but instead he waited on God to position him in the right place. God reminded the cupbearer of his interaction with Joseph when the king dreamed a dream, and the cupbearer secured him an audience with the king, which quickly led to a lucrative advisory position in the palace. Which is why, you should always heed this Scriptural Admonishment: 

LEADERSHIP LESSON #4 FROM JOSEPH’S JOURNEY: YOUR GIFT WILL GET YOU THROUGH! (Genesis 41:39-43, Joseph had an amazing gift that God used to save Egypt and the nation of Israel from famine. Joseph’s journey from the day of his brothers’ betrayal to the day he stood before Pharaoh to interpret his dream, ultimately resulted in salvation for Joseph’s family.

LEADERSHIP LESSON #5 FROM JOSEPH’S JOURNEY: MAINTAIN A GODLY REPUTATION! (Genesis 39:6-10, Joseph was unwilling to compromise his relationship with God. Even though Potiphar’s wife tempted Joseph with assurances that her husband would be none the wiser, he knew dishonoring Potiphar was a break in trust with his master and, even more important, a sin against God. Joseph weighed her proposition and made a decision that kept him in right standing with God.

LEADERSHIP LESSON #6 FROM JOSEPH’S JOURNEY: ALWAYS BE A BLESSING!(Genesis 17:3-8, Like Joseph, when we live our lives according to God’s design, we, too, can be blessed to be a blessing. “And now that we are Christ’s we are the true descendants of Abraham, and all of God’s promises to him belong to us” (Galatians 3:29 TLB)

I admonish you to follow along the Journey of Joseph and glean from his nuggets of Effective Leadership. Parallel the Life of Jesus; Possess the Power of Forgiveness; Prove Loyal and Trustworthy; Learn to Tolerate Temporary Tough Times; Use Your Gift to Get You Through; Maintain a Godly Reputation; and Always Be a Blessing to Others. Then, You Will Enjoy Favor Even in Unfavorable Times, Just Like Joseph!

J.P. Olson

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What’s Happening In Your Life Now; It Doesn’t Feel Good, God Is Lovingly Removing Things & People You Think You Need.

 “I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and REPEATEDLY PRUNES every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.” (John 15:1-2 AMP).

 “Better to be pruned to grow than cut up to burn.” (John Trapp).

We all really need to understand this pruning process, especially since it’s one of God’s Most Important Methods In Growing Us! In fact, some of the difficulty and loss that you’re experiencing right now May Actually Be Your Heavenly Father Cutting You Back to Help You Grow Up! And the results are going to be far greater than they ever could have been if He left what He has been taking away!  In short, HE LEAVES YOU WITH LESS, SO YOU CAN BE AVAILABLE FOR MORE!

Jesus went on to explain that all the things we do for Him have to flow from our deep relationship with Him – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man REMAINS in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; APART from Me you can do nothing…If you REMAIN in Me and My words REMAIN in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.” If you keep loading up on Jesus and getting ever closer to Him, your life is going to be Abundantly Fruitful! You’re going to make a Greater Difference with your life than you’ve ever made before! You’re going to be More Spiritually Magnetic, and having you around is going to be more and more like actually having Jesus around! You are going to attract more people into the Fruitful Kingdom of God!

BUT before the fruit, COMES THE PRUNING!


I actually learned that there are a few types of pruning methods:

FIRST, THERE’S “THINNING”: This is a drastic form of pruning, a thinning out cut is the removal of an entire shoot, limb, or branch AT ITS POINT OF ORIGIN! When performed correctly, thinning encourages the formation of new growth that will more readily bear fruit and flowers!

NOW FOR THE SPIRITUAL APPLICATION OF “THINNING”: in order for many of us to grow properly, we have to be pruned to the extent that we remove, entirely, people, places and things that helped us get to this damaged place we’re in now! Remember: thinning removes the entire shoot, limb or branch at its origin! In other words, where it all started! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to thin some folks and some stuff out! Remove him, her or them, if they dare to compromise your potential to prosper! If you do, you’ll then be in the position to formulate (healthy people, places and things) so that new growth can transpire, more readily for bearing fruit!

SECOND, THERE’S “TOPPING”: Topping is a very severe form of pruning which involves removing all branches and growths down to a few large branches or to the trunk of the tree. When performed correctly IT IS USED ON VERY YOUNG TREES TO TRAIN THEM TO GROW INTO SPECIFIC SHAPES!

NOW FOR THE SPIRITUAL APPLICATION OF “TOPPING”:  When used correctly, topping is used on young trees to train them to grow in specific shapes or in specific directions! When you see those beautiful trees, with all their unique twists and turns to them in various shapes and designs, THEY ARE THE RESULT OF TOPPING! But in order for that to take place IT HAS TO START YOUNG! Now it would be very easy for me to pick on our YOUNG PEOPLE (Which the Church Does Far Too Often), but instead we’re going to go in a different direction, and speak of “YOUNG” in terms of “immaturity!” people of God, if you’re ever going to finally grow up, and come to full maturity, you’ve got to surrender yourself to topping! It means bringing all your immature issues before the gardener for him to prune, so you can finally grow up into the specific shape and design that he had in mind long before your birth! The good news is that you can’t do this for old trees, they’re already set in their ways and hardened, so if you’re still an “immature saint”, there’s help and hope for you yet! You’re in the best possible position to be re-directed for the destiny you’ve been designed for!

THIRD, THERE’S “RAISING”: This removes the lower branches from a tree in order to provide clearance for buildings, vehicles, pedestrians, and vistas!

Now for the spiritual application of “Raising”: this type of pruning is of a necessity, not for you, but for those around you! “Raising” is a form of pruning that moves you out of the way, so others can get by and get through! I hate to say it like this, but this level of pruning is often for those who have been doing something so long that they’ve perfected it and can’t nobody else on planet earth do it like them or better than them as long as they’re still alive! You have to be pruned to make room for others! After 30 years, you shouldn’t see all the same preachers in the same pulpit; the same choir members, the same musicians, the same deacons, the same members! Moses is dead and so is Joshua…but there is a new generation! Let us not block them with our old set ways!

FOURTH AND FINAL, THERE’S “REDUCTION”: this reduces the size of a tree, often for clearance for utility lines! Reducing the height or spread of a tree is best accomplished by pruning back the leaders and branch terminals to lateral branches that are large enough to assume the terminal roles! Compared to ‘topping’, ‘reduction’ helps maintain the form and structural integrity of the tree!

Now for the spiritual application of “Reduction”: this type of pruning hurts leadership! Because reduction removes branches that are high up by the power lines, cuts them back so that room for those underneath them can assume their role!  In actuality, this shouldn’t be all that hard at all, since the leader branch that is being cut back, is only making room for the lateral branch to come up and take its place!

“Every Living Thing Needs to be Pruned, So It Can Reach Its Fullest Potential – Including You and Me.” (Author Unknown)

“God Prunes Us When He is About to Take Us Into a New Season of Growth and Expansion.” (Christine Caine)

“Every Experience is Part of God’s Pruning Process. You’ve Been Picked Out to be Picked On. He Cuts Off Fruitless Branches and Prunes Fruitful Ones.” (Author Unknown)

 “For Me, Slowing Down Was Simply Another Way to Prune the Bush. To Force Myself Into Cutting Away Certain Parts of My Life So That I Don’t Wake Up Next February, Blooming Roses I Don’t Like.” (Erin Loechner)

“Pruning is a Necessary Part of Life. In Order to Move Forward, You Must Let Go.” (Cheryl Richardson)

“When God Has You in a Place of Waiting, He’s Preparing You For Greater. He’s Sifting, Pruning, Refining, and Shaping You For the Best That is to Come.” (Author Unknown)


J.P. Olson

Friday, October 6, 2017

More God Is Our Maker, So Be Careful How You Label People And Never Settle For Wearing A Label He Didn’t Design For You! Today, Remember Who You Represent, And Whose Name You Represent, And Live Up To It!

"Joseph, a Levite and native of Cyprus, who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement.)" (Acts 4:36 AMP)

Just as you deserved a second chance, don’t they deserve the same? What if people locked you into the person you used to be? What if they kept throwing in your face your drug and alcohol abuse; your adultery; your stealing; your gossiping; your repossessions; your foreclosure; your unemployment; your 3rd marriage…would that be acceptable?

Acts chapter 4, verse 36, the Bible identifies a man who will become a trusted and important leader of the early Christian church. It calls him "Joseph, a Levite and native of Cyprus, who was surnamed Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement.)" (AMP) Well, later we see Barnabas go into action when the Christians are trying to decide how to handle the most notorious convert they had - Saul of Tarsus; the man who until recently had been the number one persecutor of the followers of Christ. But that was until he had an encounter with Him for himself.

Acts 9:26-27, "When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus." (NIV). Barnabas introduces Saul and opens the door for him to the apostles. Here's the Son of Encouragement putting an arm around a new believer and giving him a chance when no one else would.

I wonder how much better our homes, churches, jobs, communities would be, if only we were more like Barnabas? If we encouraged, included, supported, defended and helped others. Instead of joining the critical clan in competing, comparing, and criticizing. And truth is, Saul had a lot against him, and he was the one who put all of it against himself. No one made him do the things he did. He was a horrible man. Yes, that was his truth. But Jesus changed him, therefore who had the right to judge his change? I believe we spend so much time talking about who and what someone was, that we miss out on all the great things they’ve become and accomplished since. I mean if your daughter was a straight D student, and then sought out help with tutors, and put in extra hard work, to now become a straight A student…would you continue to throw her past D’s in her face? If your spouse wasn’t as attentive the first 5 years of your marriage, but has been the last 5 years of your marriage, do you hold the first 5 years over their head forever? If they weren’t growing, but now they are, do you keep watering their past weeds, or celebrate that they’ve gotten rid of them? They’re better this year than they were last year, but do you keep them mentally imprisoned in 2017?

That’s why I love Barnabas’ response to Saul. Knowing who he was, what he did and where he came from, still when he brought him before the people, he spoke of who he is now. Why not allow today to be the day you treat others likewise. Stop speaking of their Then, and speak of their Now, because you have no idea what great things God can still do for them in their Later.

That's the story of Barnabas's life. In chapter 11 we're told that the believers (who were almost all Jewish at this point) weren't sure how to respond to the news that Gentiles were coming to Christ in Antioch. Guess who they sent to check it out? "They sent Barnabas," it says. "When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord." What did he do? "Encouraged them all," what else would you expect from Mr. Encouragement?

Let’s read the text in full: “Those who had been scattered by the persecution triggered by Stephen’s death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, but they were still only speaking and dealing with their fellow Jews. Then some of the men from Cyprus and Cyrene who had come to Antioch started talking to Greeks, giving them the Message of the Master Jesus. God was pleased with what they were doing and put his stamp of approval on it—quite a number of the Greeks believed and turned to the Master. When the church in Jerusalem got wind of this, THEY SENT BARNABAS TO ANTIOCH TO CHECK ON THINGS. As soon as he arrived, he saw that God was behind and in it all. He threw himself in with them, got behind them, urging them to stay with it the rest of their lives. He was a good man that way, enthusiastic and confident in the Holy Spirit’s ways. The community grew large and strong in the Master. Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul. He found him and brought him back to Antioch. They were there a whole year, meeting with the church and teaching a lot of people. It was in Antioch that the disciples were for the first time called Christians.” (MSG)

How phenomenal of a leader and believer is Barnabas? Not only does he exemplify leadership, but also character, integrity, credibility, accountability, and encouragement. And does he take any credit for himself? Absolutely not. In fact, he goes looking for Saul (the one no one wanted to include, encourage, support and help), and he had him to join him in the work of strengthening the church. In a place of persecution, their work for the Lord prospered for the people. It’s in this setting in which disciples are first called Christians, in the midst of one man who simply encouraged all. One man who simply lived up to his name.

Then to take it a step further, later, when Barnabas and Paul have a disagreement on a young missionary named Mark, it's Barnabas who takes a chance on this young man who actually flunked out once as a missionary and he disciples him into leadership. The point's obvious., Barnabas became what he was called; he did what his name indicated he would do. Barnabas encouraged. What are you supposed to be doing? Are you doing it?

Daniel means ‘God is my judge’; David means ‘beloved’; Ruth means ‘friend’. And each lived up to their names. What name are you living up to?

Do the people around you remember and probably act out the names that they've been called? You know as parents I think we forget the power of our words sometimes to make our children feel very big or very small. We call them lazy, or stupid, or rebel, or uncaring. And chances are, that will imprint the tape in their heart and it'll play back their whole life!

In counseling, there are so many terms that come up that I absolutely detest. Things like, “you’ll never be nothing because your daddy wasn’t nothing”; “you act just like your no good mama”; “his daddy went to jail and he’s on his way just like him”; “her mama got pregnant at 16, just wait and see, the way she act and dress, she’s gonna be just like her”. Those kinds of words, names and labeling are easy to attach, but never are they so easy to detach from. Which Is Why We Should Be Ever So Careful How We Label People. Stop Calling Them “Mean, Rude, Nasty”, Don’t Label Them With What You Wouldn’t Want To Wear On Your Own Back.

That's why it's so important to consistently call people what we want them to become; caring, unselfish, helper, listener, creative, smart, accomplished, better, changed. Even when you see just a flash of a great trait, tell them how much that means to you. Celebrate their every improvement, no matter the size of it.

Now, as for all of us as believer: We Are Called Christians. But Are We Living Up To That Name? And if someone were to ask if YOU live your CHRISTIAN LIFE, CHRIST-LIKE, what would be your HONEST response?

After all, Jesus was:
“Loving” (John 13:1, “It was before the special religious gathering to remember how the Jews left Egypt. Jesus knew the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. He had loved His own who were in the world. He loved them to the end.” (NLV);  

If you were accused of being a Christian (Christ-Like), would you be found guilty…or innocent of all charges?

You know in preparing this, I thought of Benjamin, when his mother birthed him and what she called him: Genesis 35:18, says “With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune).” (MSG) Can you imagine what people can turn out to be if we call them (not by the past, not by the hurt, not by their failures or mistakes, not by their sin or short-comings, not by their experience, not by our mood or attitude), but by what they can become!
Benjamin went from being the son of pain, to the son of good fortune, and all because one person refused to allow him to wear a label he was not to be called by! You have the power to change what someone’s been called the same way! Just speak well of them and what they will become!

Don’t get stuck on how they behave, conduct themselves, what they say and do. Don’t get stuck on their past, their failures and mistakes. Don’t even get stuck in their personality flaws. Because truth is, we ALL have issues, flaws, mistakes and a past.

With that said, let’s start today by behaving by the name in which we are called, Christians, who live Christ-Like. God is your Maker, so never settle for wearing a Label He didn’t Design for you! You have been called Christian. You have been called to be Christ-Like. Today, Remember Who you represent, and Whose Name you represent, and Live Up to It! And while You do so, make sure you give that same opportunity and grace to Others as well!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What Is Prayer? What Prayer Is Not. We Are Indeed Living In Some Of The Scariest Of Times;So, Who Wouldn’t Talk To Him More Often? Let’s Determine Today To Make Prayer Our Lifestyle, Not Our Lifeline.

Throughout the Bible, believers are called to pray. But what is prayer? What does it mean to "pray without ceasing?" And does prayer really make a difference?
In order to develop a clear idea of prayer, we must first have a clear idea of God. Biblically speaking, God is a personal being. This is critical to prayer because it means that God is a person we can interact with, that He has a will and that we are able to relate to Him on a meaningful level. If He were impersonal, then prayer would not be meaningful. If He were personal, but uncaring and distant, prayer wouldn't serve a purpose.

Not only is God personal, He is also loving (1 John 4:8, 16; John 3:16). This is also important in relation to prayer. If God were personal, but uncaring or unkind, then prayer might do us more harm than good! God is not only loving He is all loving (omnibenevolent). In relation to prayer, this means that God always desires the best for us because He loves us.

God is also wise and holy. He knows what is best for us, as well as what will lead us to holiness rather than sin. He is also immanent, meaning that God is active in His creation in a personal way, not only directing greater matters of history, but also involved in the life of everyone. This means that no prayer is too great for Him, but also that no prayer is too small for Him.

What Prayer Is Not
Prayer is not magic. We cannot summon God as though He were a genie, waiting to grant our wishes without regard for our circumstances or the consequences.
Prayer does not make demands. While we can make requests of God in prayer, we dare not make demands. God is the Creator of the universe and does not take orders from us.
Prayer is for our benefit, not God's. We need a relationship with God, available to us through Jesus Christ and engaged primarily through prayer, because we were made to function best when we are in a proper relationship with our Creator.
Prayer is not a guarantee against suffering. "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33); "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Prayer is not an opportunity for us to show off. "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men" (Matthew 6:5).

What Is Prayer?
"So what is prayer? Prayer is a relationship, wherein we humbly communicate, worship, and sincerely seek God's face, knowing that He hears us, loves us and will respond, though not always in a manner we may expect or desire. Prayer can encompass confession, praise, adoration, supplication, intercession and more."

In addition, our attitude in prayer is important. We must not be haughty, but humble (Ephesians 4:2; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6, etc.). Seen in this light, to "pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17) means, in one sense, that we must always strive to have a prayerful attitude. Our prayers must come often and regularly, not from legalistic duty, but from a humble heart, realizing our dependence on God in every aspect of our lives.

Now, I haven't got this whole praying without ceasing thing mastered yet, but I'm certainly getting it more and more! I’m learning the benefit of "Praying in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests."

And truth is with all that’s going on in the world, do we really need anyone to encourage us to pray more? The loss of life, attacks, cruelty and the likes. Do we really need someone to say never stop praying? Our children are dying more frequently, younger and more violently, do we really need someone to call us and remind us to pray?

We Are Indeed Living In Some Of The Scariest Of Times, YET, We Have The Advantage Of Constant Communication With Our Creator Who Is In Control Of All Things. So, Who Wouldn’t Talk To Him More Often?!

Let’s Determine Today To Make Prayer Our Lifestyle, Not Just Our Lifeline!