Tag Archive | Jeremiah 29:11

Our Nation’s Peril and Our Nation’s Hope

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   First of all, may I ask you a few questions?

Do you condemn yourself or put yourself down?

Do you think others, especially close to you, don’t think well of you?

Do you over focus on your fears?

Do you find yourself doubting God?

Do you struggle with inconsistency in reading your Bible and praying?  

   Have you recognized questions such as these as the fiery darts Ephesians 6:16 identifies? Satan knows quite well, that these fiery darts will never permeate the Shield of Faith. Therefore, what do you think his first plan of action will be with individuals? Of course, tempt an individual to search everywhere but God’s Word for the answers to questions like the ones above. And if he can manipulate enough individuals to reject God and/or His Word, then his plan to destroy a nation falls easily into place.

   Our country’s leaders, some even calling themselves Christians, speak and act in ways that contradict God’s ways. For example, the Bible makes it quite clear how God feels about abortion. Yet, some of our most powerful leaders stand firm in their support of organizations that promote abortion! I just don’t get it. Why would anyone, claiming to be a Christian, support something God is against? But wait, I think I do!

   People who have rejected God and His word, are easily manipulated into seeing lies as truth and truth as lies. You recall those questions I started out with? Well, Satan’s plan is to get us so self absorbed that we loose sight of who God is and the good plans He has for us.(Jeremiah 29:11) We can’t believe that He can take the bad things we are experiencing in life and turn them into something good and thereby enrich our lives by them. (Romans 8:28)

   We look for solutions to the problems we encounter in our lives and Satan makes sure that our search for answers takes us no where near the Scriptures. Every idea we get from him may feel like an answer at the beginning but only serves to intensify our problems and complicate our lives even more. (Proverbs 14:12)

  As Christians, we must seek God’s will and wisdom and apply them to the problems we face. As we hold up our Shield of Faith, then we are protected from being manipulated and distracted by the fiery darts aimed at us by Satan.

   Here’s how it works!

    God’s light will shine forth for all to see and as God helps us, then we can help others. (2 Corinthians 1:4) As His light is experienced and shared then that light grows and the darkness is dispelled. (John 1:5) Eventually, as individuals turn back to God, then a nation has hope. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

  

 

Retirement and Choices

   As some of you know, my husband will be retiring June 28th from the wonderful church of which he has pastored for 27 years. After that we will be entering untried territory! There are already some questions that are attempting to weasel their way into our minds. A couple of “What If” questions. Such as:

What if you aren’t able to manage on your readjusted income?

What if your health begins to fail?

   These sound like sensible questions. Obviously our lifestyle will have to be adjusted to accommodate our change of income. But as we attempt to answers such questions, we are faced with the realization that many of our hopes and dreams for the future hinge on having adequate income coupled with good health. If either or both are taken away, then so goes our hopes and dreams.

   Of course, you and I both know these are nothing but fiery darts meant to evoke fear and worry into our thinking.  The idea that decisions would be made based on thoughts of fear and worry makes no sense for a Christian. I desire to make decisions based on the power, love, and sound mind that God has given me. Allowing our minds to be infiltrated by the poison of such thinking will certainly undermine the faith and trust we have in God.

   Therefore, when the thoughts of fear and doubt come knocking on the door of my mind, I will send the following Truth thoughts to answer:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (KJV)

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. Psalm 37:25 (NIV)

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! Luke 12:24 (KJV)

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Matthew 6:31-32 (KJV)

Now, as I see it, we have a choice to make. 

We can cooperate with Satan and succumb to the fiery darts of fear and worry!

OR

We can cooperate with God as He works out His plans for us day by day!

Our Choice!
The Obvious Choice!

Faith, Hope, and Love, (God’s plan to defeat fear, hopelessness, and hate)

Fear, Hopelessness, and Hate

   All across our land and beyond, seeds of fear, hopelessness, and hate (just to address only 3) are being sown. You do realize why I would label these as fiery darts, right? Because if the enemy can keep our focus on such negative thinking then he can manipulate us into creating our own destruction. The enemy will stop at nothing to create a climate designed to give rise to the fruits of such fiery darts. His diabolical efforts to maintain this climate are evidenced by the rise of persecution here and abroad.  People everywhere are living lives and making choices that have been poisoned by fear, by hopelessness, by hate!

BUT GOD HAS A PLAN!

 The enemy is counting on his victims being uninformed about who God is and the plan God has set in place to empower us to defeat evil. A personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ allows us access to all  we need to counter the attack of fiery darts and defeat our enemy. The Bible tells us what to do in every situation:
The Truth expressed in Ephesians 6:16 (HCSB) “In every situation take the shield of faith and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one,” took on new meaning. FD, p. 33
   Christians who are fervent in spending time with God in prayer and avail themselves to being taught by God as to how to identify fiery darts and how to replace them with Truth Thoughts, will overcome their enemy. And added to that, their witness will lead the way for others to follow in victory.
   In the face of fear, hopelessness, and hate, God offers us the direct opposite–Faith, Hope, and Love. The following are the Truth Thoughts of Faith, Hope, and Love.  Should we choose to use them, they will solidly defeat our enemy. 

FAITH

…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’Proverbs 24:20 

HOPE

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

LOVE

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 

Who’s Messing With Your Self Worth?

The Cognitive Triangle

The Cognitive Triangle

First we entertain a thought. That thought will cause certain related feelings. Thus, behavior is based on our thoughts and feelings.  p.16, FD

     Several years ago and over a two year period of time, I suffered from a serious bout of depression. I remember battling suicidal thoughts and deep sadness to the point that my prayers became a desperate cry for God to hold on to me because I had no strength left to hold on to Him.  I survived that dark time in my life but that’s about it. It wouldn’t be until several years later as God initiated my training in fiery dart recognition that I would be able to recognize the bondage that defined my existence during those two years. 

Here’s what happened to me and I see this same overused but deadly effective tactic of Satan’s still being used today!

     Refer to the diagram above. In my case I was a people pleaser. If I felt significant people in my life approved of me, then life was good and I felt good about myself. On the other hand, if there was strife or conflict in these relationships life was not good and I became convinced I had little reason to feel good about myself. Self approval you see was strongly connected to what others thought of me. (Or what I thought they thought!)

Do you see the pattern?

     First this negative thought (fiery dart remember) would plant itself into my head producing some very negative feelings or emotions. Never mind that these negative thoughts had no basis in Truth! The poison of these fiery darts seeped into my thinking producing destructive attitudes and behavior. 

     The purpose of these fiery darts, you see, was to diminish any sense of self worth that I might still possess. I was an easy target because it was way too important for me to have the good opinion of those significant people in my life. As relationships with these people deteriorated, so did my self worth.

I wonder if I have touched a nerve? 

     Are you sad seemingly all the time? Are you convinced you don’t measure up and that significant persons in your life don’t approve of you? Does the dangerous thought that your family would be better off without you ever sneak into your mind? Please hold on, for I have glorious news for you in my next post. In the meantime hold on to the following verse,

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. To give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Refusing Admittance!

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     In observing the effect fiery dart thinking has on people, I am drawing some disturbing conclusions. I have listened and observed as people (whose lives exhibit some semblance of Christianity) describe a lifestyle that is in direct contradiction to the one given to us by God. They attend church ( perhaps not regularly) and know all the familiar Christian lingo. But they live as if there is no contradiction in their lifestyle.

How can this be?

     Could it be that they have lost their sensitivity to sin? They seemingly are not bothered with conviction about their lifestyle. Even though their lives are marked with pain and unfulfilled dreams, the realization that their disobedience could be the source of their disillusionment never kicks in.
     I know that when we are first convicted about sin in our lives, the temptation is to ignore it, deny it, or to begin justifying it. And though this is where the Enemy is most easily conquered, this is where for many Satan gains full entry.
“Above all, we must be especially alert against the beginnings of temptation, for the enemy is more easily conquered if he is refused admittance to the mind and is met beyond the threshold when he knocks. . . .Thus, because he is not resisted in the beginning, Satan gains full entry. And the longer a man delays in resisting, so much the weaker does he become each day, while the strength of the enemy grows against him.” p. 46 FD (Thomas Kempis)
     This, I conclude, is how an individual can live contrary to God and in alliance with the world without apparent guilt! The fiery darts that justifies their sin, if not resisted, will eventually release so much poison into their thinking that they become blinded to God’s Truth. Therefore, they may be convinced they are something they are not! You know, right becomes wrong!

But there’s good news!

These poisonous thoughts (fiery darts) CAN BE conquered dear reader! Not overnight, but by attacking one thought at a time, as directed by the prayer and Bible study I refer to in Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice! It will take some longer than others depending on the amount of poison that has infected their thinking, but there is a future for them that is free of this bondage! It’s God’s plan:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (NIV) Jeremiah 29:11

Negative Thoughts creates Negative Feelings creates Negative Behavior!

OR

If You Want to Feel Better, You’ve Got to Think Better!

    It wasn’t until after writing Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice that the truth of the above statement began ringing true for me.  My bondage of negative thinking (taking root in my young adult years) became clearer the more I studied and wrote about this spiritual phenomenon of fiery darts. By the grace of God, I wasn’t in total bondage all of those years for in some areas of my life I behaved rather normally, experiencing great joy.  But there were some problem areas where defeat was the norm for me.  

     I’ve wondered in recent years why my bondage was so lengthy.  Surely couldn’t have God brought those lessons that proved to be the keys to my release sooner and spare me all that anguish?  Only one answer to that question has given me any comfort or made sense, 

I do know that while my struggles were lengthy so were the lessons I learned. FD p. 3

     So today when I encounter someone in emotional pain, as I have known, because of what God has tenderly taught me through the years, I can offer hope and healing to them.  What follows is one of the most dramatic and most healing of those lessons of my study in fiery darts.

    Negative thinking creates negative feelings, which create negative behavior: 

The Cognitive Triangle

The Cognitive Triangle

First we entertain a thought. That thought will cause certain related feelings.  Thus, behavior is based on our thoughts and feelings.  The psychologist will say that if behavior is to be changed, then the flow must be interrupted either at the thought or feeling point. (FD p. 16)

So how is the above applied?

There is a sharp contrast in my life of how I deal with emotional pain now and how I dealt with it prior to being schooled in fiery darts.  A couple of years ago, my one and only son, along with his wife, moved clear across the big pond to live and work in a land that knew little about God.  While I was indeed proud of him, the thought of being disconnected by thousands of miles was at times unbearable. Add to that the thought that any children he and my daughter in law might have would be growing up without the memories I would love to make with them.  (And sure enough, I have a 1 yr. old grandson now)  If you read my blog:

http://missionarysmom.wordpress.com (January 2012)

you will read that while the fiery darts tempted me to despair, God’s love and mercy prevailed and after a period of time,  slowly I began by the power of God’s grace to rise above my pain and accept the comfort God had prepared for me.  Because my thinking became positive, my attitudes and actions followed suite. 

But as a young adult, I recall a dark period of time in my life when that same temptation to despair almost overwhelmed me.  I didn’t know then how to combat the negative thoughts that plagued me with words from Scripture that were “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.”

 (Refer to FD blog post , February 17, 2014)

Instead, negative thoughts were allowed to take root and the resulting behavior was characterized by bouts with depression.  About all that I can say of that dark time was that I survived it. But by God’s loving grace I was prevented from settling upon a path that would have brought certain ruination. 

So, if you are going through what seems to be a time of overwhelming pain, be alert to the fact that  Satan is standing poised to fire fiery darts designed for your destruction. This weapon will approach you in the disguise of negative thoughts.  You will be tempted,

like Peter  in Matthew 14:22-33,

to focus on the storm.  Satan’s plan is to keep you focused on your pain in order to trap you into living a life of defeat.  He will manipulate negative behavior this way.  But that’s not God’s plan (read Jeremiah 29:11).  

Again, refer to FD blog post, 2/17/14 for instruction on how to counter Satan’s attack. 

Once you have learned the 3 R’s of Fighting Fiery Darts then your experience will be that:  

 POSITIVE THOUGHTS CREATES POSITIVE FEELINGS CREATES POSITIVE BEHAVIOR!

And, oh, how much better you are going to feel!

 

Truth vs Lies!

Lies, Truth

The lies of fiery darts are attempting to place you in bondage.

Hope

But Hope in God’s Truth will release you from its bondage,

Jeremiah 29:11

But you must acknowledge that God is Truth!

How can a country know Truth when they have rejected the source of Truth–God?  Of course, you can’t know Truth apart from God. (John 18:37)  But apparently there are many (too many) who believe that it can be done and down through the ages they have attempted to do so. The results of their efforts have given birth to a definition based on lies.  For those who have rejected God’s Truth, darkness has become a way of life for them. They have become so accustomed to the dark that they see the darkness as light and the light as darkness.  Ooh, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  (Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness,…)  And the resulting man’s truth has created a climate of fear and bondage throughout our land.

Unless,

we are willing to acknowledge God as the source of Truth, then and only then will the Light of Truth shine down upon us, exposing the fiery darts that we have allowed to plunge us into darkness.  When we acknowledge the Light of Truth, then Hope, and Faith will return and we will be released from the bondage of the lies and the fear they produce.

Take heart Christians,

in the following verse:

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

I write this post because America is in serious trouble. And because so many of our leaders are blinded to the Truth, we must be careful not to be caught up in their deception. We must not allow the lies of their truth to destroy our Hope. Instead we must dig deep into God’s Word and arm ourselves with God’s Truth.  And in obeying that Truth, we will discover that God is in control and man is not. (Daniel 4:35 and Isaiah 14:27) We will discover there is nothing to fear.(Isaiah 41:10)  We will discover He has good plans that we can place solid hope in now and for our future (Jeremiah 29:11).  We will discover that no matter what may come our way God will cause it all to work out together for our good. (Roman 8:28)  I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point!

So, Keep the Faith.

And remember, that other’s lack of faith in God and their disobedience to Him, in NO way diminishes God’s Truth. 

Until next post,

What we think determines how we feel. . . or “as a man thinks in his heart so is he.”

Ponder this quote from my book:

What we think determines how we feel and what we feel influences our actions.  p. 15, Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice

The mind is constantly thinking.  Everything we see, feel, or touch, influences the thoughts we think.  Thus, how we behave will be determined by what we think.

If there is a troublesome behavior with which you seem to struggle, as a Christian what are you going to do about it?  Do you find yourself saying,

“I just can’t seem to help myself.”

Paul talked about this very thing in the Book of Romans.  He struggled like so-o-o many of us do.  Just read this:

For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Romans 7:19

I feel his pain, don’t you? 

I want to talk to those of us, who find ourselves doing things we really don’t desire to do.  Like, caving in to negative thinking (fiery dart thinking) like the following: (list is just random thoughts that came to mind.)

feeling sorry for ourselves, (blaming others for the problems in our lives)

living an undisciplined life, lack of self-control (you know, eating too much, not having consistent quiet time, giving into temptation, stop going to church),

being unwilling to say no to ourselves, going after what we want when we want it (and always feeling guilty in the process),

believing that we are inferior to others or superior (being blind to our mistakes)

not having confidence in ourselves,

believing what the world says about us and to us, more than believing what God’s Word says on that subject.

Did you know that all of the above are examples of fiery dart thinking?

If we keep giving in to this type of thinking, our futures are in jeopardy.  We will believe things about ourselves that aren’t true. (Prov. 23:7) We will stray from the path God has planned for us and His peace, security, and success  for us becomes seriously threatened. Is that what you want?  Of course not!

Then here’s what I suggest you do!

1. Get your Bible out and open it up.  Start reading it.  Commit to reading just one verse every day.  I suggest, Jeremiah 29:11 for starters. Don’t commit to much more than that.  You don’t want to set yourself up for failure. 

2. Say a one sentence pray.  “Dear God, Guide me.”  That’s enough.  Once again, don’t set yourself up for failure.  You’ve experienced too much of that already.

Start every day, for the next week (or whatever length of time you are comfortable with) , using this verse and prayer.

If you like, let me know what happens.

By the way, when you are sitting with nothing to do, perhaps you would like to read my book.  It will be your training manual on how to overcome negative thinking (fiery dart thinking) referred to in this post. (There’s a 5-step plan on p. 79 you should find interesting.)

I will be praying for you,

Until next post–

Winter of Life (What do the fiery darts have to say about it?)

There’s a lot on my mind this morning as I write this blog.  Was in the middle of my quiet time and my mind would not settle down.  So, I will attempt to release these thoughts via my blog then maybe I can get on with my day!

A couple of weeks ago I turned 65.  In this country, turning 65 is an ordeal of research and paper work.  Sifting through the outgrowth of all that can be somewhat overwhelming. (Of course, my lot is complicated because I am a year older than my husband.  He has now the benefit of learning exactly what to do a whole year in advance! What an advantage! ! ! !)  I won’t go into the details of all that but suffice it to say it involves choosing Plans (and there are multitudes of them).  It’s a burdensome and stressful process.  (Jeremiah 29:11 carried me through though.  Being a Christian and being able to rely on God for His wisdom is a very handy thing during a time like this!)

Not only does our government complicate this aging process but there are a myriad of fiery darts that are designed to cut you off at the pass, so to speak, and make this part of life’s journey as difficult and as complicated as possible. As a sort of therapy for myself (always helps me to put into writing the stuff churning around in my head), I would like to share some of those stinking fiery darts that are messing with my mind right now.  My sharing has a two-fold purpose, helping me and helping you (I hope).

I have a dear friend whose husband’s life’s journey is almost over.  As I watch her struggling with her own fiery darts (and can you just imagine what she must be dealing with?) the depressing fact of my own mortality looms always before me.

http://joneycaudill.blogspot.com (Her husband has parkinson’s and the title of her blog is “The Long Goodbye”

In comparing my life to the seasons, I find myself in the winter of my life. (Can’t color it away or hide it anymore)  I’m not very comfortable with that honestly.  Being in the winter of life in lots and lots of ways is not very appealing.  Why?  

Well, here’s the fiery darts of it!

Our bodies are wearing out and wrinkling up!

Aches and pains are a constant bother!

We are growing less useful to our families and friends!

Children are living their own lives and we don’t feel as valued by them!

We aren’t admired and respected as we once were!

Plain and simple we are dwindling in every aspect of life and are running out of time, or so it seems.

Well, you know that’s only the tip of the iceberg.  And if the fiery darts were to be given free reign, the downward spiral would take over and the winter of our lives would become cold and bitter.

I tell you (and myself), that is not God’s plan!

 His plans are for our good, remember?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Almost daily, I pray that God will give me the strength to not give in to the destructive negativity of these fiery darts, to remind me that these thoughts are not from Him but the evil one, and for the grace to cooperate with the Truths of His Word.

So my dear readers, when those fiery darts begin consuming your thoughts,

Turn your focus towards God and He will help you replace them with His thoughts, such as:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23

Finally, brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever  is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Philippines 4:8

God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8

Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You.  Isaiah 26:3

Why are you in despair, Oh my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence. Psalm 42:5

Now, don’t you feel MUCH better?  Of course you do, that’s God’s plan!

So when it gets overwhelming and you seem to be loosing your way, pull up these scriptures and be reminded of what God has planned for you (and me).  Like me you may have to print them out on cards and keep them handy so you can resist the temptation to despair and be constantly reminded of the hope you have in God’s plans.

The Stirring?

youth swo2013

 

At this writing I am pondering the typical week of incredible God happenings at my 2nd most favorite place on earth (1st being my home)!  This place is a church camp nestled in the Appalachian mountain range.  Our church’s youth are on their way home while my husband and I are soaking in a few more days of rest and relaxation at this blessed place.

I could write volumes about why this camp is so special to my family (it’s where my son answered the call to missions) and my church family (approximately 12 of our youth, since my son, have answered the call to missions due to the influence of this camp).

But the reason you will read a post about this amazing camp in my Fiery Darts blog is because of the prompting I received during a week of camp several years ago.  Those eventful promptings became the 7th chapter in my book  Fiery Darts: Satan’s Weapon of Choice.

Here’s an excerpt from that chapter:

During the time of adolescence there is a stirring that becomes keenly apparent to girls early on and typically to the guys a bit later.  It has been assumed by our society that this stirring heralds the beginning of “the search” for a future spouse and as a result girls and guys begin counting the days when they will become old enough to date. (p. 51)

Could it be that the stirring in our hearts (as adolescents) that initiates a search for true love is the Holy Spirit calling us to a love relationship with our Creator? (p.55)

This is where the fiery darts come in!

When campers attended this camp, they were presented with some rather antiquated ideas about romance. As I started chaperoning at this camp around 10 years ago, I have had the opportunity to observe the effect of these antiquated ideas.  (These ideas included such things as courtship – you know, the old-fashioned idea of a guy approaching the father of a girl for permission to court his daughter because the guy was interested in marrying this girl!  That’s the way it use to be done back in the day!)

Young people were encouraged to turn their hearts towards God at the onset of these ‘stirrings’ and learn from Him how true love was to be defined. Then upon that foundation all love relationships were built.

You might think that what I have described no longer fits in with our cultural ideas of love and marriage.  And you’d be right.  They don’t fit in.  Know why?

B/C OF FIERY DART THINKING

Fiery dart thinking will persuade you that the stirring is definitely the start of ‘the search’ for someone to date and someday maybe (but not necessarily) marry.  The thought that God is calling you to a love relationship with your Creator is absurd, by this particular worldview.

But over the past 10 years I have made some astounding comparisons between those who applied the instructions from Scriptures taught by the leaders of this camp and those who rejected those outdated ideas for society’s approach to understanding love.

First of all, those young adults who led the camp and were single not only promoted the scriptural teachings about love but they practiced them as well.  And as you might suspect, our campers watched in awe as beautiful love stories unfolded for these young adults. And also, as you might expect, they too desired to experience such love stories for themselves.  And couple by couple, I have had the pleasure of attending (and my husband has had the honor of performing) beautiful wedding ceremonies for many of our church’s young adults.

So, I ask you,

Who wouldn’t want to be able to experience a pure and beautiful love story such as I have described?

If you accept the fiery darts then,

be prepared for more brokenness than you imagine, more disappointments than you can bare, your happiness will be fleeting and your troubles will be difficult to manage.

It’s a no brainer, isn’t it.

Here’s what God has to offer anyone who would choose to follow Him and His lead.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11