Wednesday, March 23, 2016

An Urgent Call To Intercessory Prayer

"Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. 
But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, 
and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay."
Jeremiah 20:9
(KJV)

Every time I ponder the possibility of taking a pause in sharing God's Word,
or even ceasing to write these devotions, I find that I cannot seem to stop.
Every time I feel a hesitancy or a temptation to hold back and am tempted to not proclaim the FULL, pure, unadulterated, straight-from-God's-heart TRUTH,
I find that a higher call compels me forward.
Every time I even remotely consider the possibility that maybe I am just too old-fashioned,
perhaps I should compromise just a bit,
and no one holds to a full Biblical standard anymore,
a vision flashes before my eyes.
It is SO hard to look at.
I cringe each time I see it.
It sends pain deep inside my spirit,
because it is HIM.
He hangs there...between earth and Heaven.
 His back is raw.
 Freshly-inflicted, deep wounds rub roughly against jagged, splintered wood,
each time He pushes up to draw in one more, labored breath.
He cries, "I thirst".
Blood oozes from lacerated skin and thorns embedded deep.
His eyes...they are pleading.
Hopeful.
Beckoning me to do the right thing.
To not let His death be in vain.
To keep His truth alive.
To uphold what He condescended from Heaven, lived as a human being,
and ultimately died for.
To not settle for less than what He died to preserve.

And when I see this...this amazing, dreadful image flash before my eyes,
I know that I cannot let Him down.
I can no longer forbear.
I must stand firm and fight for what meant enough to Him to cause Him to lay down His life.
Though it cost me, I must persevere.
At the expense of rejection, scorn, and yes, even persecution,
I must proclaim His Word.
His truth.
His burden.
Ever since I was a little girl, Mom and Dad taught me about Jesus.
They instilled a deep love and tenderness in my heart for and towards Him.
From my earliest recollections, I remember memorizing His Word and hiding it deep.
It is there...a living, thriving part of the fiber of who I am.
And to hold it in and not proclaim it feels like a burning fire shut up in my bones...
it burns within me all the time.
I think I understand, at least a little bit, how Jeremiah felt and what he meant.

31 days ago, on February 22nd, an unusually pressing call to prayer began to stir within me.
Not a normal, run-of-the-mill desire to pray, mind you, but something far beyond that.
As these 31 days have passed, the burden has not lessened.
Contrariwise, it has intensified...
to the point that every, single night,
I feel the same strong, compelling call to lay aside whatever I am doing
and retreat to the far end of the house to enter into God's presence for a time of intense intercession before His throne.

Dear Zachary!
On night one, I asked him if he would join me in praying.
I had no earthly idea that was the start of such a long-lasting endeavor.
I thought that night was just one of those "normal" times when I ask Zach to pray with me...
it is something we often do together.
I cherish those moments more than I could ever put into words.
Zach was so happy I asked, and, bless his dear, kind, loyal, dedicated heart,
 he has stuck with me every, single one of these nights....
interceding, agreeing in prayer, pouring out his heart, right alongside me,
with the same degree of intensity as his Mama.
Though Kevin works all night from home and is not always available,
he faithfully joins in with us every chance he gets.

I have been a prayer warrior for as far back as I can remember,
and, many times, throughout my Christian journey, I have felt such dire need for times of fervent prayer.
I can't even recall all of the times God has laid burdens upon my heart,
and their heaviness has forced me to earnestly pray and seek the face of God for help.

But, never, in all my years of serving the Lord, have I experienced this.
This is different.

This feels like utter desperation.
Spiritual anguish beyond what I have yet encountered.

Several years ago, I watched a sermon, preached by David Wilkerson called,
"A Call To Anguish".
I will never forget it.
I remember being so touched by hearing him talk about being "baptized in anguish".
It was one of the most stirring sermons I can ever remember hearing,
and, growing up with a Papaw who was a pastor and attending church regularly,
that is saying a lot.

The other day, it occurred to me that an experience such as David Wilkerson was preaching about is now occurring in my own life.
God has called me into a depth of spiritual anguish that is beyond anything I have ever before felt.
Why?

Because my heart is broken...
over the fact that Jesus is surely coming soon, and there are many who are not ready to meet Him,
over the rapid progression of the downward spiritual spiral of the United States of America,
over the upcoming presidential election and all of its ramifications,
over the divided condition of God's people and the desperate need for a unified coming together to fight the real enemy of our souls,
over certain situations in the personal lives of my family and me,
over physical illnesses and afflictions,
to name just a few reasons.

Some of this burden is for me.

I want God to shake me out of any remaining apathy.
To open my spiritual eyes as never before.
To not allow my spirit to succumb to complacency.
To keep a continual stirring within me to pray and intercede.
To compel me to do all I can to make a positive difference in this steadily-declining-towards-evil world.

This anguish is not passing.
It lingers with me night and day.
I cannot say how long it will last,
and it really doesn't matter to me.
Because it is a small price to pay to see God answer prayer.

I care, dear friends.
I care enough to cast aside other things for the sake of nightly entering into an agonized fervency of prayer to Almighty God for mercy.
He is our only hope.

I mean no disrespect by anything I am saying, 
but if we do not get a hold of God and plead His mercy upon our nation, we are going to lose it all.
That is all there is to it.

You cannot pull the foundation out from under a standing building and expect any other outcome than utter ruination.

Photo and Design by Zach Smith

America was founded upon God's Word.
Period.
There are those who are trying to re-write history.
Those who insist upon removing certain pertinent details that absolutely prove
that our nation was founded upon Christian principles.

History cannot be rewritten.
What has been, has been, and it will not be altered.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; 
and the people whom he hath chosen for His own inheritance."
Psalm 33:12

Because we were established upon the principles contained in God's holy Word,
we have been a nation highly favored, blessed, exalted, and protected.
For years, He has richly and abundantly endowed us with prosperity.

"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people."
Proverbs 14:34

We now stand a nation who has turned their back on Almighty God.
We have removed prayer to the one and only true God from our public schools.
Students are forbidden to read God's Word, and references to the Bible have been removed from public school curriculum.
Our children are being taught that they evolved from apes, and to speak of the Biblical and accurate account that man was created in the image of God and formed by God's Own hand is prohibited.
Teachers are standing in classrooms and filling young minds with the lie that our world was suddenly brought about by a big bang, and their jobs are put in jeopardy if they dare speak of the fact that it was the voice of God Himself that spoke this world into existence,
and it is continually held in place by His command.
Babies are being slaughtered by the millions and denied the right to life,
simply because their conception is viewed as a "mistake" or their presence would be an unwanted intrusion.
Their little body parts are being "harvested" and sold to the highest bidder,
as their voices are forever silenced by the hands of those who have taken an oath to preserve life.

Did you know that in the original, classical version of the Hippocratic Oath,
these words were included?
"I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. 
Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. 
In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art."

No doubt, Hippocrates, called "the father of medicine", would turn over in his grave, 
if he saw the modern version of this famous oath that has, in most cases, removed any reference to euthanasia, abortion, and even the forbidding of sexual contact with patients.
I am basing these points on the research I came across in this article.

The God-given, God-ordained institution of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman is being legally overridden by Supreme Court Justices,
who think they know better than God, and have presumptuously and defiantly attempted to re-write the legal definition of marriage to include two members of the same gender. 
They may re-write the legal definition, but they will never re-write God's definition.

Christians are being persecuted, attacked, and demonized, are being fined and penalized,
and are losing their jobs and homes and businesses for taking a stand and not being willing to participate in and contribute to such events.

Do you know that there is now such a thing as sologamy,
which defines marriage as between one man OR one woman,
in which a person marries their own self?

Have you ever heard of such absurdity?
But, should we be surprised?

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
2 Timothy 3:1-5

How far will America go in the wrong direction?
I don't think I want to know the answer.

Why am I determined to continue this intercessory fervency in prayer?
Because the Word of God that is burning within me
lets me know where we are headed.

"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."
Psalm 9:17

And, I know how serious the upcoming presidential election is to the future of our country.
And, I realize and acknowledge that GOD is our only hope.

Every night, in my time of intercessory prayer, I pray hard,
and I plead with God to give us one more chance.

God is a forgiving God, and though we have spurned His law, 
disregarded His Word, and tried to abolish Him from our public square,
He would much prefer that we repent and turn our hearts back to Him,
rather than send forth the judgment that we deserve.

There is hope, dear friends.
There is a path back to God's favor.
It comes by the tried and tested way of the cross upon which His Son bled and gave His very life.
It comes through a humbling of our hearts, a pleading with Him for forgiveness and mercy,
through repentance and turning away from our sinfulness.

"If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

"At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, 
I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them."
Jeremiah 18:7-8

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9

"But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, 
and plenteous in mercy and truth."
Psalm 86:5

"But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to Thy commandments, and refused to obey, neither were mindful of Thy wonders that Thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsook them not."
Nehemiah 9:16-17

"And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil.
Joel 2:13

So, my dear friends, I present to you a challenge.
Will you join me?
Will you pray?
Will you make a commitment to intercede to God each night...
to repent for the sins of our nation, for our own sins,
and to plead with God for mercy?
As you pray, will you humble yourself, and seek God's face, and determine to turn away from anything His Word calls wicked?
Will you allow God to bathe your soul in anguish over the sins of our nation?
Will you make this sacrifice?

By God's grace, and Lord willing, I promise you that I will be doing this every, single night,
until GOD Himself tells me to stop.
It is just this important to me, and I cannot let Jesus down.
I just can't.

I have written this blog in tears.
My heart is so stirred.
We need God...as we have never needed Him before.

Prayer is the most powerful resource and weapon we have.
It absolutely touches the heart of God to hear His children pray.

"And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, 
though He bear long with them?
I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. 
Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"
Luke 18:7,8

Will you heed this call to intercede before His throne?

If you still aren't convinced,
will you take 56 minutes and 2 seconds to watch this video?

If video doesn't load, click here.

God bless you for reading this very long post,
and for sharing in the heavy burden that is upon my heart.

38 comments:

  1. Anguishing...yes! I feel the urgency of intercessory prayer on a national level and a personal level. I often read in Joel about the call to mourning and the call to repentance. The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the corn is wasted: the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth.Joel1:10. Our nation is full of sin. Satan seems to be working overtime to destroy. On a personal level, I know of someone going through a spiritual war like I've never seen before. Demonic attacks and lies bombard this person. My soul is in anguish! At times, my faith is strong and the word of God strengthens me. Then my souls is in anguish again. I wish we lived closer, Cheryl. I would love to join you and your family in prayer. Although we are miles apart, you are a comfort to me. I will try to email you soon. I have an urgent prayer request on my link up this week.
    Love you!

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    1. Dear Chris! I am so sorry to know that you all are going through so much. I want you to know that I am praying for you and your Daddy. I do trust God to bring you all through this trying time. He is a faithful God, so full of love and mercy. Thank you for sharing in the burden God has laid upon my heart. There is SO much to pray about, and I am so thankful God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or even think! Love you, dear friend.

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  2. Oh my goodness Cheryl. It is as though you have looked into my heart tonight. As I watch, read and hear of the things happening in our nation and in the world, I think in my heart, Lord Jesus, please come soon. This nation is turning into a disgusting heap of rot because people are turning away from God.

    I will join you nightly in prayer for our country and the world. I pray and study my Bible every morning and I will also pray then that God will bless you mightily for your fervency and groaning for Him.
    Blessings my friend,
    Betsy

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    1. Oh, Betsy, how I appreciate your dear words of encouragement! Yes, my heart echoes your cry for Jesus to come! Surely it won't be long until He comes for us and takes us away from this evil world. Until then, let us keep praying hard and interceding on behalf of our nation and for our dear families and for a spiritual awakening/revival. THANK YOU so much for joining into this burden. It means SO much to walk this path with you and to know that you are praying, too. Sending you much love and many blessings across the many miles!

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  3. I enjoyed the video sermon. I need to be more desperate before the Lord. I like how he said that we do not stay in anguish, but it is the womb where God is accomplishing something. We come up and we come out! He also said that there is a discipline to this type of anguishing prayer. I need to discipline myself more to be in this type of prayer and anguish. I tend to want to pray and let the anguish go. Anguish hurts, but how can anything worthwhile be birthed without it? Thanks for sharing.

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    1. YES, dear Chris! I keep thinking of that verse that talks about "when Zion travailed, she brought forth children"....surely GOD is birthing something from this anguished travail. Surely He is going to answer our cries for help! Thank you ever so much for having your spiritual eyes open and for the burden that you carry in these perilous times. Praying much for you!

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    1. Your prayers mean so much, Hannah!

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  5. Dear, dear Cheryl. I feel your burden, and I share your burden. Evil runs rampant in this world, and it's not always easy to be fearless and full of faith. I weep for my nation often and cry out to God in prayer. I know certain things have to happen in this world because they are prophesied, but I am praying for mercy and more time. Thank you for your post, and for taking time to reveal your heart. I will be joining you in prayer and fasting. Above all else, I must be saved.

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    1. Praise the dear Lord for you, sweet Gayle! It means SO much to know that you are praying and interceding to the dear Lord for mercy. And fasting, yes, I am seeing more and more how important it is to add fasting to our prayers. I am so grateful to you for your precious encouragement and support. Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  6. yes, yes, yes. bless you for pouring your heart out. I love you.

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    1. Dear, precious friend! How I love you, too, and praise God for your heart for Him and for the prayers you pray and your sweet encouragement. May God richly bless you, in return.

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  7. I hear the heart of a prophet. Your passion and heart are in the very place where our Father wants them. My heart too breaks and not a day goes by that I don't pray for this nation. May we confess our sins and may He heal our nation.

    It's an absolute miracle that this country is here. Loose every battle and yet win the war? Only God can do that! We still have that heart of perseverance and love of God and our countrymen.

    Thanks for the reminder and I pray blessings upon your ministry, sister.

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    1. Oh, dear brother! Thank you ever so much for your visit and words. They truly mean so much. I know you are faithfully praying hard, and it is such a comfort to know that. May the dear Lord hear our unified cries for mercy and forgiveness, and may He heal our nation, as you said. God bless you and your family in a special way!

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  8. Blessed Cheryl! Everything you said has been on my heart. But I will confess I still allow other things to consume my time in which I am frustrated by. Please pray for me to forsake the things of this world and be dependent on God alone. Everyone just needs Jesus. He is the answer to everything. I read an article lately that said that because the world cannot recognize evil as evil it is hard to see anything wrong and of course in return there is no need for a Savior. This makes me sad but also hopeful because God has still overcome the world despite how much evil is denied. Thank you for your heart and realness

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    1. Dear Kristina! Bless your heart...I am surely praying for you. I can just feel the keen desire you have to please God and to do all He asks you to do. Oh, that is SO sad about what you read in that article...our world is SO blinded by sin and the prince of the power of the air. Surely it will take GOD to open the eyes and make them see! I am so thankful for your prayers and sweet encouragement. Sending you much love and many blessings!

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  9. Oh dear Cheryl! If ever I read a modern day call to anguish, this would be it! You surely have shared a deep burden that the Lord has placed on your heart, and oh I feel it deep in my soul. Not many will answer this call to anguish... and the Lord has called you to a beautiful place in prayer that feels like agony now, but I do believe that this time spent in prayer with HIM will soon bring forth something far greater in your life than you could ever have imagined! I went through a year of "anguish in prayer" several years ago and I spent more time fasting than I did eating. It was in that time that the Lord did some miraculous things in my heart and life and I learned so much. My heart is rejoicing that the Lord has called you to this place, because you will arise from it changed, and enriched in the only way the Lord knows how to do. I will join you in this call to anguish... in this call to great prayer and to enter into the holy of Holies and His throne room to petition the King of all Kings. Bless dear Zac for praying with you... and Kevin too... this time of prayer has eternal weight my friend! I love and appreciate you and your friendship so much, and I do look forward with great anticipation to what the Lord is doing! His ways are above our ways, and He knows no limits! May the Lord bless you richly dear Cheryl, as only HE can!

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    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet friend! You are so right...not many will answer this call to anguish. It is not an easy path, and it requires a laying aside of self, and it seems that is SO hard for us to do. I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful, precious, edifying encouragement you have left here. Thank you for your kind words for Kevin and Zach...bless their hearts, they are so faithful to intercede and carry a burden. I love and appreciate you, dear friend, and I trust God will bless you abundantly!! :)

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  10. How wonderful your post are, my darling, so inspiring and touching, I love them so much, they're real sermons !
    Praying and sending blessings to you for these last days of Lent ...

    May your Easter be Happy as ever, sweetie, I wish you it with all my heart !
    With sincere gratitude

    Dany

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    1. Thank you, dear Dany! And your visits here are such a dear blessing and encouragement to me. I appreciate you and your support so very much! May God bless you, sweet friend, and grant you a blessed Easter, too!!

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  11. It is God's love for His creation that puts this burden on any man. He does not desire for any man to perish but that all should come to the knowledge of His dear son...
    Let's keep praying Cheryl. He wants us to pray so He can answer.
    Have a super blessed resurrection weekend!
    Love

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    1. Amen, and amen, sweet sister! Thank you for your dear visit and your kind words of encouragement. May the God of all comfort bless you and hold you close today. Sending you much love across the miles!

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  12. Such an important call to prayer!
    Thank you!

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Michele! God bless you with a Happy Easter!

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  13. I was just at church for prayer and we were all crying out for this same thing. YES this is so spot on and clearly He is stirring in everyones Spirit. Thanks Cheryl

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    1. Wow, Caroline. What a blessing that you all are crying out and praying for the same thing. I believe you are right...there is a general stirring among God's people all over this land. I am believing for great results! Thank you so much for praying and for your visit! Happy Easter to you and Colby. :)

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  14. Cheryl, Your sweet, precious, tender heart for our dear Savior, His Word, His Kingdom and the lost moves me so much.

    I rejoice in the blessing of the relationship you have with your precious Zachary, who prays with you and shares in your tenderness for the things of the Lord.

    But most especially, I appreciate your heartfelt blog posts that convict and edify, and bring Glory to the living God.

    I say Amen to your entire post. Thank you for ALWAYS standing in the gap. You are a beautiful testimony of a Christ-follower who storms the gates for the cause of our Great God, and lives in humble submission and obedience to Christ the King.

    Many blessings to you dear Cheryl.

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    1. Dear, precious friend! Your dear words just meant the world to me! Your encouragement and kind words of support make such a difference and encourage me to keep pressing on. May the dear Lord bless you with Easter day and always! Sending you much love!

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  15. I am praying Cheryl. You've stirred me more to the urgency.
    Hugs!
    Laura

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    1. Praise the Lord, Laura! I am so thankful to know you are praying, and I know you will continue to. God bless you abundantly, sweet friend. :)

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  16. I am going through this very experience. No one understands. Even my own family is concerned that I am going too far in my understanding of what I am seeing as I fast and pray. I have no choice but to keep fasting and praying yet it reveals things I am having difficulty dealing with as I keep going. I am trying to be cheerful and upbeat and encouraging. Yet my heart is shattered, and I have no peace about what I am seeing in my heart. I will join you in prayer and fasting and prayer.
    Shirley

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    1. Dear Shirley, How blessed I am to meet you today and to know that you are already sharing in this burden. It seems that God is laying this upon the hearts of certain individuals who are rising to the occasion and carrying this burden with faithfulness. May God bless you abundantly, my friend, and keep you strong, even in the face of being misunderstood and without support. I am coming over to visit you now. Much love to you, new friend!

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  17. I hold such respect for David Wilkerson. My husband once heard him in person and said, "Kristi, it was like I was hearing directly from God." Maybe Honey, maybe.... Oh, that we all have a faith that draws so close, an anguish for our families, our communities, and our nation. It makes me wonder what David would say if he were alive today. Perhaps the same as your "call" here. My heart wants to look steadfastly at the Lord - call righteous for righteous, sin for sin - to glorify His name. Lord, cause us to see those in our paths who need you. Let us stay under You, let us live and reach with Your strength. Amen, Cheryl. Thank you for sharing this, putting a fire under all of us. #testimonyTuesday

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    1. Wow, that is the neatest thing that your husband felt God's presence like that. I, too, wonder what David would say if he were here. If he thought it was what it was back there after 9/11, just imagine how much more evil things are now, and the spiritual burden that would be upon his anguished heart! So thankful for you and your precious visit, Kristi. God bless you abundantly, sweet friend. :)

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  18. Prayer is such a profound gift. For Lent, I prayed through my FB friends list. So so good. Blessed to be your neighbor at Tell His Story today.

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet visit, Tara. So thankful you are praying and seeking the Lord. I am so blessed by your visit!

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  19. May our hearts be broken with the things that break the heart of God. Lovely post and thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Hazel. God bless you!

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