faithcounts

Following God One Step at a Time

How To Find God’s Plan for Your Life

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Have you ever asked this question?

  • What does God have planned for my life?

I know I have.  In fact, I have asked it at various turning points of my life.  Now that I am a cancer survivor, cancer-free for 6 years, I have been asking that question again.  You see, the answer changes over time.  It’s not a 1 answer for all time kind of thing.  What you are ready for at 20 is very different from what you can do with experience at 40. 

So if we are going to be asking this question over and over, we need a good way to get an answer! Right?

Since I have struggled through finding an answer to this question several times in my life already, let me take a stab at some ways to find the answer.  This will also help me as I am currently asking the same question.

  • How do we know what God has planned for our life? Your life and my life, are 2 very different set of circumstances. God has created each one of us as a unique human being.  We have different skills, and different experiences, and different circumstances.  I am a cancer-survivor.  You may be single, or a mom with kids.  You may have a full-time job, or need to work from home. 
  • So, how do we all get our own unique answer to the question?

#1 — The 1st priority is we need to start with prayer. 

For example, “Lord Jesus, I’m confused.  I don’t know what you want me to do.  I need some guidance.  I want to do something good, something useful for people and in God’s will.  I also need to make money for my family.  Can I do both? Please give me an answer.  Tell me what you have planned for me to do.  What is my next step?  Thank you for your help.  Thank you for the many blessings you give me and my family.  Thank you for our home.  Thank you for the beautiful spring flowers that are starting to bloom.  I will trust you to answer this prayer.  I will be listening for your answer.  Amen.” (You can pray something similar or totally different.  Fill in your unique situation, and pray for help from our God.)

#2 – So next we get into listening mode. 

Listening is hard for some people, but I listen pretty well most of the time.  This is what I do – I sit down to pray every morning.  I give thanks.  I pray for friends and family.  Then I tell Jesus, “Lord, I am listening to you with the ears God gave me.  Tell me what you want to say to me today.”  Then I listen for an answer.  Whatever answer I get, I write it down in a notebook with the date.  It is very important to write it down, because believe me, you will forget it if you don’t write it down.  That has happened to me too many times, so now I write it down. 

Most of the time the answer I get is simple, maybe part of a Bible verse, or He may tell me I should rest today, or go for a walk, or help someone.  Sometimes, what you need to do first is get yourself together, get organized, or get training.  As time goes on, there may be a pattern of the type of things He tells you to do, or a direction it seems to be heading in.  There may be certain words or phrases that are repeated over and over.  That means you need to pay attention to that!  (And, you know, write it down.)

#3 – Then we need to listen harder. 

This part is like being a detective.  We need to put together clues.  The clues can come from several places.  You may decide to read in the Bible and find a phrase that strikes you as something important.  You might be doing a Bible study and a phrase pops out at you as one you heard from Jesus in prayer.  A friend may be talking to you and say the same phrase or word.  Again, if you listen for these repetitions, you will hear them, then write them down. 

#4 – Now that we have some key ideas, and a direction this listening is taking us, take all the clues and go back to step #1. 

Pray for clarification. Ask God, “Is this what you want me to work on? Is this Scripture directing me?” Then you know the rest.  Go back through #2, #3 and #4 as needed. 

At some point you will have enough information to start on a project.  At first it may be something small, then as time goes on, it will grow.  This is a process that we go through in life.  Just be sure you go through it with Jesus Christ in your heart and by your side.  Without Him, we are lost in confusion!

Hey, Remember you saw this first at FaithCounts.Wordpress.com ! I hope to see you again.

Click the Follow button in the right side column of this post so you won’t forget.  Or write it down! 

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If you want to ask me a question, post it in the comments below.  I will do my best to answer. 

If you have already received some answers from God and want to share them, I would love to read them!

Bye, See you soon!

 

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Chasing God

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“Chasing God” by Angie Smith

I started reading the book “Chasing God” by Angie Smith over a year ago, and decided to try finishing it.  –

I am so glad I did!

Although the beginning chapters were basic for me, the last half of the book was filled with good information and insights.  Angie includes several places where a word or phrase is used for the first time in the Bible.  I enjoyed that information, because it shows the importance of that circumstance, and the reason it is set apart, or illustrates the beginning of a shift in focus or purpose.  These places in the Bible are full of rich insights.

Angie also talks about her shift in focus, when she stops chasing God, and instead experiences His love, and learns to trust Him.  She spent years chasing God, thinking she wasn’t smart enough to understand Him, so she kept trying to prove she deserved His love by trying to do what she thought she must.  She would read the Bible beginning to end, and try to do it in less time.  She would chastise herself for not reading more, and not studying more. 

The day she stopped chasing after God is a beautiful bitter-sweet moment in her life. I will not spoil it by revealing it here.

Angie’s story of Chasing God takes us through her early experiences with God, and what she learned through the process.  It takes us through her life to the result today – a deep rich faith in God.

She runs through many good topics in the process – our will vs God’s will, platitudes that are not really true, our relationship with the Father, what binds us together with God, the place of memorial, writing this book… all leading to a change in perspective by following Jesus not chasing Him, a change in attitude by forgiving others and trusting God, and finding God’s love and grace and her own strong faith.

I will tell you one insight that surprised me.  When Thomas asked Jesus how they would find Him when He went away, Jesus says that they already know the way. Thomas said we don’t know where that is.  Angie points out, the place is not on a map, it is the person of Jesus ChristThere is not a road to get to Heaven, but the Son of God.  He is the way.  Awesome explanation!

Special Deal!

>Click HERE for Kindle copy (currently $0.99 – but that price won’t last long!)

Hardcover also available, >Click THIS.

Angie has written several good books, including a child’s book “Audrey Bunny”.

>Look HERE at all of Angie’s books!

*I highly recommend her book,“What Women Fear”! —

*(Kindle copy also $0.99 for a limited time!)

*>Click on IT!

 

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Days of Confusion

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Confused?

I have been in confusion lately, not knowing who is telling the truth. 

I have quit watching the news on TV, and stopped reading the news on the internet!  This has been very calming for my nerves, since I have less to decipher, less to analyze, less to confuse me.  This post is talking to me for my own clarity.  Hopefully it is helpful to you too.

Today it is so easy to become confused about what is true.  There are so many stories and accusations being spread around. 

Who can we believe?

Can we believe the FBI? The news on TV? Congress? Government spokespersons? Discussions on Facebook or Twitter?

The world is filled with deceit, but Jesus Christ teaches truth. 

Do not be deceived! 

Do not follow any group or political party.  Follow Jesus Christ.

The devil and all his followers and associates are deceivers.

If we are not certain who is telling the truth, seek God’s guidance.

Cry out to God for help, for only He can overcome any problem, any confusion.

Our intelligence alone is not enough.  We need God, who knows the truth.  The truth will set us free from fear and deception.

Let no one but God lead you.

“Trust in God with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways, seek God and He will guide your path.” >(Proverbs 3:5-6)

I will keep repeating this to myself, whenever I feel confused.  I will keep praying to God for help.  I will keep asking God what I should do.  I will seek peace from God in prayer every morning.

From now on, I will not believe any government office response that has motivation to lie or hide the truth.  I will not believe anything any one person or group posts on the internet, since I do not know their source of informationI will not believe TV news concerning any controversial circumstance, unless all news channels agree.  I will seek out expert testimony whenever possible. 

I will be patient for the truth to be revealed, and not jump to conclusions before all the evidence is in!

I want to be set free from confusion and doubt, but I also do not want to be deceived!     I do not want to be easily duped into believing lies.  I will seek the truth.

This is my tactic to fight the deceit being practiced by so many people. 

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Lost and Found

“Lost and Found” by Amanda H. Williams

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This is a great story of intrigue set in the Ocala National Forest in Florida.

Ember is the main character. When her grandfather died, he left his home in the forest to her. She decides to move there. She finds out that some of the people who live there are more dangerous than the bears! (Yes, the forests in Florida have bears. I know because I live in Florida.)
The story is about what happens to Ember in that forest, and the people she meets.
I was mesmerized by this story. The author, Amanda Williams, has created a cast of characters that are so believable and so interesting. There were lots of surprises and some mysteries. I hated to put the book down. This is the first time I have read anything by this author. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really loved this story!

I definitely encourage you to read it!

The good news is that “Lost and Found” is the 1st book in the Forest Chronicles series. The 2nd book will be out later this year. I will definitely be watching for it!

>Click on THIS to get a copy of “Lost and Found!

>Click HERE for a list of all of Amanda’s books!

Amanda has 8 books in all that are published.

You can even buy autographed copies >right HERE!

I met Amanda online. We were both on the launch team for the new book >“My Heart” by Julie Manning. It’s something I do, help launch new books for great authors, as well as writing book reviews.

When I found out Amanda wanted some people to read and review some of her books, I quickly volunteered to read “Lost and Found”, so she sent me a signed copy (so sweet of her). All I promised, as with all the books I review, I promised to read it and write an honest review.

You will always get an honest review from me. Since I hand-pick the books I read to review, I am able to give a positive review for most of them. Some blow me away with their awesomeness! Once in a while I get fooled and have to write a critical review, but that doesn’t happen much, because I’m picky about what I read.

I am so glad I met Amanda and got the chance to read “Lost and Found”, because now I have another talented author I can read and follow!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Lost and Found”, the 1st book in the Forest Chronicles series by >Amanda H. Williams!

author AmandaWilliams71PTjS7P7mL._SY200_This is Amanda H. Williams.

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Choose Just One Thing

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Every day we have choices.  But we all have one choice that we avoid.  Just one choice that we know would be difficult, but it would change our life, and change our relationships with friends and family.

What is “just one thing”?

For some people, they have an addiction to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes.  For them choosing to give up just that one thing, would make a huge difference in their life.  Just that one thing would benefit every one of their close family and friends too.  These people will find they have better health, more money left to pay bills, and friends and family who want to spend more time with them.

Some people spend all their time working.  For them choosing to quit working at 5 p.m. would have dramatic benefits in their life.  They may be surprised to find out that their family misses seeing them and doing fun things together.  Their own health will improve too, choosing just that one thing.

Maybe some people need to quit loafing and get a job.  These people will gain self-respect, and the people who have been giving them a place to stay or giving them money, will be glad to not have to take care of them anymore. 

Others may need to quit spending money on unnecessary things like jewelry, clothes, video games, and lottery tickets.  They will prevent headaches from stress of not being able to pay all the bills.  They will have money to spend on healthier food and to even save some money.

Another just one thing could be quit arguing.  Or quit criticizing people.  Or quit blaming people for your problems.

You probably know just one thing you need to give up.  If you don’t know, ask a family member or close friend, and believe me, they will be able to tell you what your just one thing is.

So why should you choose to give up just one thing?

You don’t want to lose your friends and be avoided by family.  You don’t want to end up broke, maybe even homeless.  You don’t want to become so sick you can’t get out of bed.  You don’t want to live hating yourself and your life.  You don’t want to come to the end of your life with a ton of regrets for all that you missed, because you did not give up just one thing.

So, what is your “just one thing” that you need to give up? 

 Tell me in the comments below, and I will pray for you to have the strength to choose to give it up now.  And I will pray that if you have fail one day, that you will find the courage to try again the next day, and that you won’t give up trying.  Your life and your relationships with your friends and family, are more important than your just one thing.

Yesterday I chose to give up just one thing – criticizing people.  I have made it two days now.  I am learning better things I can say, and I am biting my tongue to avoid saying anything critical of someone.  I am trying to imagine what a difference this will make in my life, and in the life of my husband and friends.  I have been avoiding this problem, and making excuses, but I know I need to give up “just this one thing”.  I know that God wants me to make this choice.  I know that God will give me the strength and wisdom to be able to do this.

I am challenging you, to make the choice to give up “just one thing”. 

What are you waiting for?

>Click “How To Change” for encouragement and more information.

(This will take you to a great article by Joyce Meyer.)

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Love Does

BobGoff This is Bob.

“Love Does” by Bob Goff is an amazing book!

This book is filled with stories that just amazed me.  The author, Bob, says that this book is about love, the kind of love that Jesus lived.  Based on the stories Bob tells in this book, I would say that it is about love that does miracles!

Each story is very different and surprising.  I was interested in knowing what the next story would involve.  Each story was motivating, and did I say surprising? Yeah, that!

The book also gives some information about Bob’s life.  He does not lead an ordinary life!  His life is in these stories.  Imagine living a life filled with fun, surprises, love, joy, courage, and helping people. 

This is the life Bob lives!

Does Bob make some mistakes in his life? Sure.  He tells about some of them in the book.  But he does not let the mistakes stop him!  He used to be bothered by it as a kid, but not anymore. 

Bob looks past mistakes and jumps into the next adventure!

This is not a book about faith or Jesus, although Bob mentions faith and Jesus in the book.  This is more a book about living a life filled with love!  Bob says that Jesus is looking for us to join Him in loving people, and that we need to stop thinking about life, and get in and participate!  Bob says living the way he does is contagious. 

Bob calls his life whimsical.  That is exactly the word he used.

One of the stories in the book is about a game his family plays called “Bigger and Better” and it starts with a dime.  Then you try to make that dime into something as big and better as you can.  It’s a funny and amazing story you don’t want to miss.

Actually, this book is one you don’t want to miss, because it is fun to read! 

And it’s true!

HaHaHaHaHaHa, He did what?!  LOL No way!  Awesome! 

Don’t believe me? Just read it.

>Click HERE to get Bob’s book.  (I found it at my local library.)

Oh and if you want a more up to date book of such amazing stories —

then get “Love Lives Here“ written by Bob’s wife, Maria Goff. 

It was just published on March 7 and is available now!  I haven’t read it yet, but people say it is full of more new stories about their life together.

Click on THIS to buy Maria’s new book!

LoveLivesHere MariaGoff575752586

>LoveLivesHereBook.com

Oh and by the way, the Goffs have a charity called “Love Does” that helps kids in Uganda in Africa, and a few other countries.  You can sponsor a kid for as little as $10/month!  Awesome!

Why not >Click IT to donate  $10/month?

>Click MORE to give more and find out more.

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Choosing Beauty

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I think the Bible shows us that Jesus saw beauty in everyone!

Looking through Jesus’ eyes, he saw people in a positive way.  To Him, everybody has potential for better.  He did not judge them for their sins or their shabby clothes or their lack of understanding.  The only people he judged were those people like the Pharisees who thought they were better than everyone else.

Taking that attitude from Jesus, we can choose to see beauty in everyone!

Like the woman with the bleeding disorder, who was rejected by everyone because she was seen as unclean.  She was rewarded for her faith.  Jesus took the time to see her and speak to her.  He did not reject her. (>Luke 8:43-48)

Like the woman who gave 2 small coins in the offering plate, who Jesus said gave everything she had.  Even though she was living in poverty, He praised her!  Other people looked down at her, because she was so poor and gave so little.  Jesus saw her as faithful and generous. (>Luke 21:1-4)

When a man with leprosy asked Jesus to make him clean, Jesus touched him.  Touching someone with leprosy was never done in that day.  People with leprosy were avoided.  Jesus touched him and said, “Be clean”, and the man was healed. (>Matthew 8:1-4)

So when we see a young boy all dirty with torn clothes, let us notice his big smile, or his joyful laugh, and smile and wave to him.  Let us see that his shabby clothes and dirty skin is not his fault, and he has the potential to be a nice young man one day.

When we see an old woman, with old clothes, stooped over, shuffling along slowly, we can say hello to her with a smile.  We can say, “Glad you are out enjoying this beautiful day!”  When she was younger, she could have been an energetic, helpful young woman, who just has difficulty walking now.  She may be lonely, and your pleasant greeting could make her day.

The lady at the grocery store checkout, or the boy bagging your groceries, may look grumpy and move slowly.  They might be really tired having already worked for hours.  Thank them for doing a good job, and for being polite.  Then leave by saying, “Have a great rest of your day!”

Everyone has beauty inside them at one time or another.  Maybe when they were younger, or maybe when they get older.  Let’s give people a chance to have a better day.  Encourage them by seeing their potential for beauty. 

Why not choose to see beauty?

When we see beauty in everyone, our day is better too!

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Looks like fun boys!

 

bg-blogger-badge-500x500-e1387301563797I used >Bible Gateway for the stories from the Bible.

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Christ’s 40 Commandments

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This is my book review of “Christ’s 40 Commandments”by Renee Valverde Wagenblatt; however, it is not really a book.  It is a list of what the author has determined are commandments given to us by Jesus Christ from the Holy Bible.

This listing is useful in that it gives us the commandments of Jesus in a brief form, rather than sifting through the Bible.  The author gives her reason for compiling the 40 commandments, because Jesus says in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”  If you want to know what commandments Jesus told us to follow, then this listing does that for you.

Although the author listed all the commandments from the four Gospels, she states that all 40 commandments are in the book of Matthew.  So if you want to read the commandments for yourself, you can just read the book of Matthew in the Bible.

The author does put these 40 commandments in several lists to make them easier to find by topic alphabetically, and lists each commandment with one of the Bible verses that gives the command, and lists each commandment with all of the Bible verses in the four Gospels that repeat the commandments.  Of these, I found the “40 Commands with One Verse” the most helpful.

In addition, the author put in the appendix a listing of things that are blessed, and things that are woes.  I found these interesting to read.  For example, the author lists Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  And for woes, Matthew 18:7 is listed, “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble!…”  Also, there is a list of the miracles of Jesus, which is also nice to have.

I do not think of Jesus giving us commandments.  The Ten Commandments came from God to Moses.  Maybe it would make more sense to call this a list of Christ’s 40 commands.  In any case, I do not agree with her list entirely.  Some of the commandments she lists, do not seem like commands to me.  Some of them are more like truths that Jesus told us.  For example, the author lists Matthew 10:32, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”  To me this is a truth or a promise, but not a command that we need to do.

So the best I can say is that the author felt a need to know what commands Jesus gave us, since he says if we love him, to keep his commands.  She did provide us with a list.  There is no commentary or evaluation or interpretation.  This is simply a list, actually several lists. 

>Click HERE if you want to purchase a copy.

What do you think?  Did Christ give us 40 Commandments?

 I would love to read your comments!

I did receive a free copy through BookLook Bloggers, in order to write an honest review.  I appreciate the opportunity to read books for free and give my opinion of them.  I have received many good books from >BookLookBloggers.com  If you have a blog, and would like to get free books to review on your blog, head on over to their website.

BookLookBlogger badge>www.BookLookBloggers.com

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Refugees Must Go

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There are millions of refugees (both Christians and Muslims) leaving their homes to live in areas unknown to them. 

Just as God told Abraham to leave his home and head to a destination unknown to Abraham.  He only knew that God told him to go. 

Due to wars these millions of refugees have no other option, but to go. 

They do not know where.

God, through dire circumstances, has moved these refugees away from their homes and extended families, to a new place to live.  For Muslims, perhaps it will be a chance to meet Christians in a free country, where they will find Jesus for the first time.  For Christian refugees, perhaps they will be strengthened in their faith, or be able to share Jesus with other refugees along the way. 

Will Christians welcome them? Or will we send them away?

Those refugees that are refused, will have a bitter taste in their mouth for those people who reject them.  Refugees who are welcomed, will want to know more about those people who have given them a safe place to live.  As Christians, what will we do?  Will we show them the love of Jesus?

Jesus said, “Open your eyes and look at the fields!

They are ripe for harvest.” (>John 4:35b

We have an opportunity to show the love of Jesus to these refugees, a field ready to plant with the seeds of caring giving food, shelter, medical care and more.  There could soon be a great harvest of many new followers of Jesus.  It seems that God is saying, “Here is your opportunity, who will help?”

So how can you and I help to welcome refugees?

Some missionaries, churches, and charities are in Europe and the Middle East already helping the refugees.  We can send money to these groups to help them do more for the refugees.  (That is what I am doing. See links below marked with >.

 

Missionaries in Turkey are helping refugees there, and some have already accepted Jesus as their savior.  >Click HERE to give to Turkey missionaries with ChristianAid.org.

>Click HERE to help Syrian refugees with medical needs. 

>Click HERE to give to the refugee crisis fund at World Vision.

>Click HERE to support MAP International providing medical needs to refugees.

Can’t give money?

>Click HERE to sign up for Amazon’s smile program, and every time you order from Amazon at smile.amazon.com, a percentage of your order will be donated to the charity you have chosen!  (I use this program.) Some of the charities listed above are on the list, or pick your own favorite.

You can also pray for the refugees to find a safe place to live.

(I am praying for refugees, too.)

Please share this blog post with friends, on Twitter, and on Facebook…

There are convenient share buttons below this post.

Thank you for helping refugees!

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Called For Life

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“Called for Life” is the story of Kent and Amber Brantly’s lives.

This book is fascinating!  I find it amazing that Kent and Amber Brantly decided to move to Liberia, a poor country with dirt roads, and very little health care available, despite a number of contagious diseases which are widespread, including tuberculosis, diarrhea diseases, and malaria.  Liberia is also extremely vulnerable to food shortages.

They made the decision because they believed they were called by God to do it.  During their training, Kent as a doctor, and Amber as a nurse, they knew they wanted to at least do short term missionary trips to provide health care to the poor.  They ended up staying in Liberia with their two children for about nine months.

Their story is told from the time of meeting each other, and getting their medical training, getting married, and the births of their two children.  Then their story moves to Liberia, and the complications that arise when Ebola is found in surrounding countries.  Kent ends up with direct responsibility to set up and maintain the hospital’s protocol in Liberia for treating Ebola patients, and for preventing anyone else from getting the disease.  Kent was on the front line fighting this dangerous virus.  Ebola has a 50 – 70% death rate, depending on the treatment received.  Both Kent and Amber showed  great courage.

If you followed the news on Ebola in 2014, you will probably remember seeing a doctor from Liberia being flown to the U.S. for treatment of Ebola.  That doctor was Kent.  He was the first person ever treated in the U.S. for Ebola.  The book tells about his diagnosis in Liberia and early treatment there with little medical equipment or supplies.  They did not have even a stethoscope or IV pump.  Then it tells the story of making arrangements to fly him to the U.S., which was difficult, because Ebola is so contagious.

The difference in the health care Kent received in Liberia, compared to his treatment in the U.S., is astronomical.  Thankfully neither Kent’s wife Amber, nor their children, caught Ebola.

Kent’s generosity did not end with his medical care in Liberia.  After his recovery, he provided several people in the U.S. with his blood, to improve their chances of survival from Ebola with his antibodies. 

Kent wants to use his life to help people in meaningful ways, to thank God for saving his life.  Only God knows where else Kent will be called to work.

Kent and Amber Brantly are an amazing couple, who live a life surrendered to God’s call on their lives.  Their story will amaze and inspire you! 

Kent’s advice to us —

choose compassion over fear for helping people in need.

>Click HERE  to read part of their book.

>Click on THIS to purchase the book, “Called for Life”.

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