god will fulfill

GOD’S PURPOSE  – God taking what we deem to be impossible and turning it into something miraculous.

For many years I lived with the notion that life should be happy all the time.  Then reality struck.  Hardship arrived.  Suffering barged in uninvited.  But unbeknownst to me it would evolve into one of the greatest gifts I had ever received.

Yes, I do believe that hardship is a gift to human nature.  Hardship provides substance to our life.  Walking through difficulty takes us into a dimension in our character that will provide deep transformation – if we allow it.  And right in the middle of  the hardship there is GOD’S PURPOSE.  However quite often GOD’S PURPOSE is drowned out by the pain and suffering that hardship brings with it.  But be assured GOD’S PURPOSE is there.   In many ways GOD’S PURPOSE is shouting I’m here, and in other ways GOD”S PURPOSE is quiet and requires stillness to find it.

We were all created with powerful heavenly purpose.  But we were also created with free will.  Those two elements quite often collide because we want our way and we think we know what is best for our life.   And right in the middle of all of that there is a God who has a marvelous plan for our life.

There I believe is where hardship often comes in and plays a divine part in the making and shaping of our character.  Because it is when the LARGENESS OF LIFE hits us that we can really begin to see that we are just mere humans with extreme limitations but HE IS GOD WITH NO LIMITATIONS.

Whether we are dealing with a terrible disease, a loss, divorce, financial hardship, painful situations, we will at some point come  face to face with the reality that we don’t have the answer.  We can’t fix this. Or we don’t know what to do.  This is where the treasure is found.   Right in the center of anything you may be facing God is at work.  And His purpose is being divinely woven.

No matter what you may be facing;  whether your situation seems impossible or makes no sense to you – in the hands of a powerful all-knowing God there will arise great purpose.

If you are going through a difficult season I encourage you to go straight to Romans chapter 8 and into chapter 9.  There you will find truths that will help you along, reassure you, and provide hope.


“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…” Roman 8:28

We can live with the assurance that GOD’S PURPOSE  is at work in our lives.  And at some point…at some time…good will come from whatever we are facing and persevering through.  Trials are not God’s punishment in our life, but rather His means to drive us deeper into His love and grace.  They are instruments that teach us to trust in a faithful God.

No matter what you may be facing today rest assured that Your Creator sees what you are going through and He is at work.  And your hardship is producing bountiful blessings inside of you that will be revealed in due season.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

GOD’S PURPOSE  –  God taking what we deem to be impossible and turning it into something miraculous.

God has a purpose for you and your life!

“Dear Jesus…help us to trust you with our whole heart.  Provide us the strength we need to persevere through the trials we are facing.  And to trust that you are working all things out for our good.”


God’s strength and blessings to you…



Trusting An Unseen God


For many a life yielded to God appears weak, boring, restrictive and too religious.

I had the privilege of growing up in Culver City, California.  A city filled with great enchantment for a child.  My backyard for several years was attached to the Desilu Studios.  At that time I didn’t realize just how very unique my surroundings were.  From daily seeing the Batmobile, Lassie,  Bruce Lee and his son living two houses from me, to sneaking into the studios to see such shows as Andy Griffith, Gomer Pile, and F Troup being filmed.  This was the era where children played outside until dark, and neighbors talked with each other for hours.   And it was in the center of that backdrop where I first saw them.

Theirs was a feat not many could withstand, and yet they seemed to do it with such grace and joy.  I was around ten years old the first time I spotted them. Instantly my heart was drawn to their plight and mesmerized by the beauty of their harmony.  They walked simultaneously, synchronized like a beautiful orchestra, guided only by what they held in their hands.  This extraordinary couple was blind, and their walking stick was their only means of experiencing freedom in their world.  I had the opportunity of watching this amazing couple walk the streets countless times during my childhood.

I found it difficult to comprehend such an enduring hardship.  For a moment, my little world seemed insignificant compared to what I was witnessing.  I looked with wonder at the confidence they placed on the instrument they each held. It led them. It guided them.  And protected them.  And yet I wondered how they could put so much trust in this stick with all the danger, obstacles and challenges surrounding them.  Their blind faith captured my heart.

They depended unreservedly on their instrument to direct them every step of the way. They held the walking stick in front of them, and with complete trust surrendered to the instrument leading them and protecting them from what was ahead.  Trusting that it would guide them in the unseen avenues of their world.  I would watch as they approached a crosswalk,  tap the stick to feel the street and listen intently for traffic.  Then when they sensed the road was clear they crossed the street completely trusting their walking stick.

Little did I know the impact those repeated scenes, etched in my memory, would have on my life; how the memory would draw a parallel to my learning to trust in an unseen God for everything in my life.  It is one thing to say “I trust God” and then another thing to really live that out in life.  Just as this blind couple totally relied on their walking stick to experience freedom in their world, I have had to learn how to totally rely on the Lord to experience freedom in my world. 

For many a life yielded to God appears weak, boring, limited, restrictive and too religious.  And yet what I have discovered first hand is that real freedom comes by way of letting go and trusting God.  Yet, as humans we strive and stumble trying to do it our way.  Convinced that we know what is best for our life.  Trying everything under the sun to mask the emptiness and dissatisfaction we feel.  All the while God is  lovingly and passionately pursuing us waiting for us to open our hearts door to His AMAZING GRACE. 

At this very moment God issues invitations by the millions.  He says, “Come, enjoy me forever.”  Yet many people have no desire to do so.  He speaks; they cover their ears.  He commands; they scoff.  They don’t want him telling them how to live.  They regard his son as a joke and the cross as utter folly.  They spend their lives telling God to leave them alone.   Max Lucado

 Jesus offers the invitation in Matthew 11:28:  “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

What about you?  Are you depending on the things of this world to satisfy the longing in your heart?  GOD LOVES YOU!!!  And while you may not know it yet – The unseen God is really clearer and nearer than anything else in this world.  Take the step today to trust the Lord and watch and see the miracles He performs in your life.  

God’s blessings……….I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS….


By Marta VanGerwen © 2012

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God seemed untouchable to me.  Detached from His creation.

I remember as a teenager my thoughts of God were filled with both fear and astonishment.  Who created God, I wondered?  What do you mean He always existed?    Watching the movie, “The Ten Commandments” left me with a confirming sense of just how small I am – in comparison to how big and gigantic God is.  I would picture His thundering voice resounding with a deep penetrating energy that could shake the ground.  God seemed untouchable to me.  Detached from His creation.   Like looking through a telescope and seeing that very far away dazzling bright star.  It’s unreachable; distant and beyond our human grip.

But at the age of 19 that perceived distance broke through my doubting heart.  I made the greatest decision of my lifetime, and discovered that with the Lord it’s the opposite of that distant star… we don’t need a telescope to find God.   He is as close as our heart.   But just how can the Great and Mighty God even relate to us?   It can be a bit overwhelming to consider how the God who created it all can bridge the gap and enter into our world.  But that is exactly what He did by sending His Son Jesus Christ.

The decision involved inviting Jesus Christ into my heart into my life.  And it was that choice that bridged the gap between me and what I thought was a distant God.  When I said “Yes” to Jesus – He entered into His rightful place as King of my heart.    He was now my dear Heavenly Father who lives not in some distant place but in my heart.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelations 3:20

How about you?  Where is the God who created you seated in your life?  Is He distant?  Are you keeping Him at bay as you  live your life your way.    I sure kept the Lord at a distance.   I was under the great assumption that I could handle this life without Him.

It is clearly the most reassuring truth to know that GOD IS NOT SOME DISTANT GOD who sits on His throne looking down and watching all of us trip over ourselves, as we try and figure out this thing called life.  Instead He is our greatest cheerleader.  An adoring fan.  Who has our back.  Who holds our destiny.  Who carries us during the most difficult times of our lives.  Who above all is the strength of our life…the wind beneath our wings…He is God!  The great I AM.  Who chose (instead) of relating with us from a distance –  to dwell within the human heart.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  Galations 2:20

Blessings to you…….more to come from Risendreams…

By Marta VanGerwen © 2012

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The richness of adversity…

” I have been driven many times to my knees by the
overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.
My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed
insufficient for the day.”
Abraham Lincoln

Do you ever feel like life is just a bit overwhelming?  Like your hanging by a thread.  The challenges and problems that coexist with every day life seem to scream for all of our attention.  Yet our hearts cry out for peace, stillness, reflection and answers.  And mixed in with all the  mysterious of life  there is a beckoning.  A call” Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30   The love of God is lavishly poured out as it were from heavens gates right into the frailty of our human condition.  Jesus doesn’t just tell us it will all be alright  – but assures us that He will provide the strength we need to go through the trials and storms of life.

For the last few months I have been going through a very challenging time in my life.  One that has brought me to a deeper understanding of what it is to Praise God when things are quite imperfect in our life.  I remember as a child I had so many notions of how life would be for me.  I dreamed of happiness and longed for the day when everything would be okay.  But what I have discovered along the way is that life is one gigantic learning curve.  And God’s imprint upon a life comes with great complexity, as His refining and purifying process is worked out in us.  And quite frankly that work often appears to be messy.  Yes, in a society where appearance is so important and control trumps humility,  God has a wonderful way of bringing us to the end of ourselves.

What is our story today?  What are we walking through that is so much larger than us and demands the intervention of an all knowing God to see us through?  How are we facing what is before us?  Are we trusting  Him or are we wanting to fix it our way?  Are we experiencing joy in the storm or holding out for happiness and relief?  If we could but for a moment have a peak at the undertakings, the behind the scenes of what God is up to in our lives I can only imagine that we would be blown away.

Trials come to prove and improve us.  St. Augustine

It is in those places of crisis that we can truly discover the manifold riches that are unleashed when we are solely dependent on God.   Like sustaining joy, continuous peace, grace, love, direction, revelation, hope, purpose, and destiny.  How about healing, restoration, and redemption.  God’s ways are so much higher than ours.

I have to be honest I used to really not appreciate the following Scripture.  I just could not understand how God could allow adversity. I surely appreciated the good things of life…..but I didnt want to share in the sufferings.    “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”  Job 2:10  But I can tell you that the richest times in my relationship with the Lord have come during my most desperate moments in life.  And while right now it may seem like we are holding on by a thread…that thread is Christ and He never lets go of us.

Our suffering is not worthy the name of
suffering. When I consider my crosses,
tribulations, and temptations, I shame myself
almost to death, thinking what are they in
comparison of the sufferings of my blessed
Savior Christ Jesus.
Martin Luther

By Marta VanGerwen © 2011

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  Are we satisfied with our relationship with Christ?  Do we long to know Him more, but caught up by the busyness of  life? How do we make time for something so important?                                      

© By Marta VanGerwen

My sweet daughter just turned 18.   I began to recall memories of when she was a little girl.   I would watch her play in her room.  She would bounce back and forth between her little kitchenette and her dolls enjoying her make belief world.

“Can we talk Cece?”  I would ask.

 “In a minute mommy I am very busy right now!” 

 I would then ask again.  “Can we spend some time together?”

 “Maybe later Mommy, I have to feed the dolls and clean my house.”

With a chuckle I just kept watching.  My desire was just to sit and chat with her.  But even at such a young  age she had already begun the spin of lifeShe was caught up in her world.   In many ways she was just modeling my behavior – that of the daily ritual of keeping as many things going as possible.  Going from one thing to another making sure nothing is left undone.   Like the spinning plates routine.

I liken that scenario to my relationship with the Lord.  I imagine there have been countless missed opportunities where the Lord desired to connect with me.   But I was caught up in my own world.  The spin of my life did not make room for the pause…the stillness…the awareness needed to experience a God connection.   That unique place where Heaven and hearts unite.   Where we miraculously experience His gentle yet penetrating presence,  and His quiet yet powerful  voice.

Jesus desires to communicate with us!  In a world where noise, activity, and accomplishment is primary,  God’s world represents  the complete opposite.   His call is to come away, rest, be still and know that He is God.  He longs for us.  We see this all throughout Scripture. A loving and merciful  God going to extreme measures to reach out to His creation.   And yet, the human will continues to spin trying to figure out this thing called life- by itself.  All the while God just wants to come inside and take His rightful place in the human heart.  Revealing His love and establishing connection.        

           “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Brother Lawrence

  “Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalms 46:10

From the moment we get up we are caught up in the whirlwind of our fast –paced lives.  And if we really look closely, it’s like God is competing with our schedules.  Everything seems to take priority over the most needed thing in our life – connecting with the Lord.   God wants to share Heavens Secrets with us.  And yet how easily we can disregard, pass by, not make time, or live without the awareness of God’s presence in our life.

“The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant.  My eyes are continually toward the Lord,  for He will pluck my feet out of the net.”  Psalm 25:14-15

Experiencing God is not just limited to a church service, but rather it is a day by day, moment by moment awareness.   It is a realization that Christ is not distant, but rather lives in us and desires relationship.   In the book,  “Practice of the Presence of God”, by Brother Lawrence  he addressed his ongoing relationship with the Lord in the following way…

“I occupy myself solely with keeping myself in God’s holy presence.  I do this simply by keeping my attention on God and by being generally and lovingly aware of Him.  This could be called practicing the presence of God moment by moment, or to put it better, a silent, secret and nearly unbroken conversation of the soul with God.”

Practicing the presence of God !  But how is this done?  How do we stop all the plates from spinning long enough for us to become acquainted with our Lord,  who is calling us by name to an abiding, loving,  and engaging relationship.   How can we make time for the pause…stillness…and awareness needed to connect with God amidst the busyness of our life?

Below are some suggestions, I would love to hear from you with your ideas.  Ways that have helped you find time for the pause…  

  • Acknowledge the reality of His presence in your life throughout the day.  It’s  not like we leave Jesus at home.  He is always with us.
  • Talk with Him.  Be real.   He knows everything about us already so why not just be honest with Him about what is going on in our life.  Prayer is not some perfect expression but rather a heartfelt cry!
  • Look for moments, places that you can pause and reflect ….invite Him into your world each day….
  • Think about Him.  I have had to face the reality of how much my mind can be occupied with everything else but God in a given day.    This is an area that I am learning with God’s help to change in my life.
  • Meditate on Scripture every day I try and have a Scripture for the day that I can reflect on.  Write out Scriptures on sticky notes and put them up in your car, office, kitchen, and bathroom wherever you can be reminded.  God’s Word strengthens, encourages, guide us, and sets our hearts free….
  • Praise and thank Him.  “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18.    We are so blessed to have so many choices of worship music to choose from.  Take time each day to express your gratitude for everything He is in your life.

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work;  prayer is the greater work.”     Oswald Chambers

As always your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Will you join me in allowing the Lord to have His rightful place in our hearts and lives?  

More to come from Risendreams…


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Be the ONE!

© 2011 Marta VanGerwen

“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”  St. Augustine

 It was a fabulous summer day!  And having my granddaughter visiting from New York City was the bonus.  I took her to a local park that has a beautiful man-made lake filled with ducks.  With a bag of bread in hand we began feeding a few early arrivals.  And before I could get the next piece out we were inundated by a swarm.  Big ones, little ones, yellow and brown ones, and mean ones that nipped at you.  Emma was quickly showing signs of wishing she were elsewhere. I found myself planning our escape.  What I envisioned to be a memory making moment with Emma, was quickly turning into – what not to do when feeding ducks.

“Um Nana can we go now?”

“Oh! But Emma this is so much fun,” I proclaimed with hopes that my positive affirming words could change the situation.  And then I noticed the ONE!  Isn’t interesting how one little moment can become so significant by just pausing to observe.

Its shiny white feather coat stood out among the variety of ducks.   And I was unexpectedly captured by its predicament.   By now there were at least 30 ducks that had encircled us.  Fighting for every crumb we threw out.  It was each duck for his own.   Like a stampede. “Look out or you will die, if you get it before me” – mentality.  And there she stood in the midst of this aggression – trying to survive. I began to throw the pieces right in front of her, but the others would quickly snag them up.  By this time the sad white duck had me wrapped around its web feet.  Let me explain my fixation with this particular duck.  One of its feet was turned sideways causing it to walk very slowly.     It was helpless, lost, and isolated.

After numerous attempts to get the crumbs the special duck had given up trying.  Every attempt was a failure.   And without even looking back my new duck friend turned and purposefully walked away defeated by its scenario.

“Emma, come with me,” I yelled across the chorus of quacking.   Happily she found her way to me and held on as we made our way through the crowd.  I was now on a mission.  Out of all the ducks I wanted to reach the ONE.  I looked around to see where it had gone.  And there it lay on a bed of grass looking exhausted.

“What are we doing Nana?”

“We are going after the ONE that needs us the most. See that ONE over there” as I pointed.   “It’s hurt Emma.  It needs special attention.”

My quest now became Emma’s.  She was fully on board with our new mission.  Her circumstantial fear turned into courage for the ONE.  Just moments ago she was ready to go, but now seeing the need  – her heart shifted.  It is truly amazing what happens to us when we are taken up by the needs of others.  It’s like we were created to shine the most when our attention is on someone else.

So we slowly approached my duck.  Yes, she was now my duck.  With carefulness and tenderness we entered her world.   She stood up amidst her difficulty and welcomed the special attention.  She took bread right out of my hand.  Emma and I spent the next moments just feeding the ONE duck. No more throwing the food from a distance.  We were no longer on the outside looking in, we were now in the inside looking out.  That place in our lives where empathy and compassion overrides our human selfishness. 

It was evident that our special duck was quite hungry because it could not get enough.  After a while it stopped eating and delicately made its way down to the lake and drank water for a few minutes.  We then approached it again and fed it the remaining pieces of bread.    My heart was apprehended by this scene. The Lord would use a hurt and weary duck to paint a picture in my mind of His deep compassion and love for us.  How He leaves the crowd to go after the ONE.  How he loves us not from a distance but enters into our world.  He sees our pain.  He is acquainted with every need we have in our life.  He understands our struggles.  God’s love and compassion is HIS resounding signature upon mankind. 

For God so loved the world….that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16 

I continued to think about why this scene had impacted me so much.  And then I realized I was  like that duck.  In the crowd.   Lost.  Trying to survive.  Hurt.  Lonely.  Isolated.  Needing special attention.  I too was trying to keep up with the crowd.  Reaching for whatever morsel was thrown out by the world.  But it always fell short of reaching my need.  And then one day Jesus left the crowd, entered my world and saved me.  I was the ONE.

” What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost ONE of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the ONE which is lost until he finds it? ”  Jesus

But wait!    YOU are the ONE too!  Maybe you have your story as to how He left the crowd to come after you.  Or maybe you are in the crowd and are struggling.  Whatever our scenario may be God is looking out for the ONE.  Will we accept His unconditional love, or will we continue to rely on the emptiness the world offers.

When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.  Matthew 14:14

Where does the Lord fit into your journey?  Have you given everything else in this world a chance  but Him?  God’s love supersedes anything we could ever experience in this world.  Be the ONE!!!

Grace to you…and peace from God…

More to come from Risen Dreams…as always I welcome your comments…


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Don’t worry…I GOT IT!!!


© 2011 By Marta VanGerwen

I can’t make it through another day!  The pain is unbearable!  I feel like my life is over!  I have no hope!  I can’t keep up this façade.  Why did this happen?   It’s so unfair!  These statements have been uncovered during many coffee times with precious women that are going through difficult times in their lives.  And some represent the cry of my own heart.   The older I get the more I realize that life is mostly hard, but…..God is good.   There are days when I am so saddened by the burdens that family and friends are walking through that all I can do is –  cry out to Jesus for a miracle.  Some may wonder where God is, and why does He allow so much pain?  Does He really care?   It seems the hardships appear to be escalating whether it be financial, physical or emotional.   So what are we to do with so much pain?  What do we say to one another as we face the daily challenges that come our way?  Can we trust that God’s got it?   Or is it easier to worry and wonder?  Is there comfort found in resting in the goodness and faithfulness of God, or is it more assuring to try and figure it all out?

I remember the day that I found out my daughter was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Waiting for the MRI results had proven to be agonizing.   I spent hours online looking up the possibilities of what it could be based on her very abnormal eye activity.  The doctor suspected a brain tumor.  And while the wealth of information afforded us online is truly amazing, in moments like these it can be overwhelming.  At my fingertips I found every imaginable thing it could be.  By the time we went to the doctor to get the results I was convinced my daughter had a brain tumor. 

“Well,” said the doctor, “I have good news.  It is not a brain tumor.”  “Yes!”  I was overjoyed.  But I have other news.” continued the doctor.  “ Your daughter has MS.”   What?   It was like someone punched my stomach and knocked the air out of me.  More like the life out of me.  I wanted to scream.  Amidst the turmoil quickly brewing in my heart I thought,  No this is my daughter!  It can’t be!  I just brought her in because her eyes were doing strange things.  She will be fine.  She does not have MS.  This is just like the other visits where she has a virus and she will be better in a few days.  But the stark reality of the moment seized my attention, and I was forced to face what was unfolding.   I was overtaken with crippling fear.  What did this unexpected turn mean for my daughter?  How would we face this trial?

The doctor waited while I gained my composure and my sweet daughter sat there staring at the wall wondering what in the world just happened.  Thinking, “ Im 12 years old and you are telling me that I have an adult disease.”   I always knew she was an extraordinary girl but it was completely confirmed on that day.  She sat there with the poise of a champion listening to her doctor explain what her future held with this invasive disease.   Only 2% to 5% of children have MS.  And my daughter was now calculated in that small percentage.  Like an arrow striking her out of millions of children.

I am thankful the trials that come into our lives don’t come with complete enlightenment, but only with what is needed for the moment.  For if on that day the window to the future would have been opened,  unveiling what was ahead for my daughter it would have been seemingly too much to handle.  But that is the gift of grace provided by our Lord, that He only gives us the strength we need for each day to get through whatever may come   – moment by moment.

And while it is often hard to understand why the hardships come, I am moving into a deeper understanding that the storms of life truly do point us to a loving God who holds our lives strategically in His care.  Nothing goes unnoticed by Him.  And while the doubts shout with potency throughout our minds,  there is a calm in the storm that can be counted on.  There is a peace that settles in our hearts like a trusted friend.  While our situation may seem to be coming undone God is anchoring every broken piece with certainty.   A surety that no matter what… “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall ABIDE  under the shadow of the almighty.  Psalm 91:1

My darkest moments have been drenched with the radiance of a nurturing and loving God who not only holds us,  but guides us through the unexpected storms of life.

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;  but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”  1 Peter 4:12-13

Most of life is sprinkled with uncertainty and lacking the WHY answers.  We are not to know everything.  And I imagine there are profound reasons why our view on this side of eternity is limited.    “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face;  now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”    1 Corinthians 13:12      And so while we may not have the answers we do have the assurance that the God who fashioned this world can and will most certainly bring us through anything that comes our way.    One thing is for sure and you can bank on this  – “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all…Psalm 34:17-19a

Somehow I can visualize God declaring from heaven….Don’t worry…I GOT IT!!!     

More to come on RisenDreams…as always I welcome your comments….


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