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Jeff Reynolds was an average guy. He was a husband, father, and a hard-working professional. One bad decision caused his life to go straight into the dumpster. He found himself responsible for a drunk-driving accident that claimed the life of an innocent victim. Would Jeff lose his freedom, his family, his career, and perhaps even his sanity? Chad and Debbie Stillwell's family was on the receiving end of the car accident. In an instant, their life changed from a dream to a disaster. Would their marriage hold up under the crushing weight of grief? Would bitterness and unending sorrow destroy them? Could something as simple as God-inspired friendships bring the answers and healing that these devastated people need?


"DEVIL'S DIGS" is available. Originally conceived to be a sequel to "Handful of Demons", it quickly claimed a life of its own, and can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone, or a sequel. Check it out on Amazon!

"Life takes a dramatic turn for Casey and Edward McAlester when they uncover a mystery that will forever bind their family to the Gregory family . . . while at the same their son, Barrett, is thrust into instant fatherhood.

They move to a peaceful community in the mountains of Eastern Oklahoma in search of a tranquil life and find just the opposite when they discover Winnoby is Satan's chosen home away from home. The Evil One's minions set out to stop the McAlester's influence on the few remaining faithful and, at all costs, stop Casey from writing the book God has called her to write. The heinous Satan-worshipping inhabitants of the community are eager to join in the battle against all that's good and Holy.

Barrett falls in love with Jenna, a beautiful Native American girl whom the Prince of Darkness has already chosen for his bride when his reign over earth comes. When the McAlesters try to escape the deadly trap set by the townsfolk and take Jenna with them . . . the gates of Hell can't contain The Evil One's rage."


Best-selling author, Marylu Tindall, had this to say about "Handful of Demons":

"We are surrounded by invisible enemies who are out to destroy our lives, our marriages, and our happiness. Don't believe me? 'Handful of Demons' may convince you otherwise. With this unique blend of the movies Ghostbusters and The Exorcist, Ms. Walding crafts a story that rivals C.S. Lewis's 'Screwtape Letters', a story that allows the reader a peek into a realm beyond our five senses but a realm that is no less real. This book deals with so many topics and in such a real way - love, betrayal, marriage, spiritual warfare, sacrifice, pride, fear, and more - that I had a hard time putting it down each night! A refreshing and poignant look at a subject rarely addressed in Christian fiction."


Devotions for Athletes

by Curtis French

Through long years of experience in ministry and sports, Curtis French is uniquely qualified to offer these devotional studies for fans and players. From college days as a winning pitcher, French has served as Chapel speaker for the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians, as well as numerous college and high school teams. Academically, French holds Bachelors and Masters degrees from Oklahoma University and Texas A&M.


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“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart.”  Prov. 22:6

Have you known people who, from your perspective, raised their children in the things of God and taught them to get to know God, for themselves, yet in some instances, this verse appears as if it’s not true?  I know I have.


Anytime I have experienced something that makes it seem like there must be a mistake in the Word of God, I let it cause me to become like a “Spiritual Scientist.”  Seeking God and searching the Word to discover what I am not understanding becomes paramount to me.  Recently, I have received a great revelation that has application for me, so thought I’d share a little of my story.


God has blessed me with three children.  All three of them were seers from birth.  One of our children was born seeing, and gifted in discerning spirits.  At that time, nearly thirty years ago, my husband and I were completely unaware of these types of giftings, and missed so many things for which we now wish we’d had greater understanding.  We began learning about the spirit realm about the time our oldest was entering high school.  A real blessing is that through them and their conversations, my eyes were opened to how I was gifted that I’d simply thought was normal for everyone.  God will show us anytime we are ready and willing to learn.


Because of the particular destiny placed by God into one of our children, we were ‘at odds’ you might say, from Day 1.  This person’s “bent” is to go INTO ALL of the “world” (meaning the typical places that lost people tend to hang out), and reach people with the unconditional love, and compassion of God via prophetic words, dream interpretation, healing, signs and wonders.  My husband, and I are destined to NOT go into ALL of the ‘world’, but to go into the CHURCH and help equip people to know who they are in Christ, know what they have, in Him, and how to experience all that is theirs, so they can disciple and equip others.

All of my life, I lived walking in the way I was gifted—though unaware.   I simply ‘knew’ which way to go, which places to AVOID and so on.  All of my ‘evangelical’ attempts never seemed to ‘work’ because everyone I came in contact with were already saved, and were simply needing some counsel,  insight, or encouragement.  We were set up for a clash.  My husband and I were trying to teach our child to avoid situations, to avoid certain types of people, and so on.  We took advantage of all kinds of Christian types of  experiences, but never understood why there seemed to be an element of resistance in some ways. Our focus overshadowed the way God had created our child to be.  Now, we understand that we dropped -the-ball by not providing the appropriate mentoring experiences by people who were involved in street ministry via prophetic words of encouragement, sharing the interpretation of their dreams, laying hands on the sick, seeing them recover and the like. I am thankful that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”  Rom. 8:1 for even though we missed the way this one was wired, there has been a lot of Truth implanted.  God is THE GREAT TEACHER and will make sure our children get what we failed to give them, and in that, they will know God in the way that is uniquely theirs..

I have been a dreamer my whole life.  God used my chidren’s dreams, from a very early age, to cause me to pay closer attention to my own dreams and stirred a strong desire for me to learn how to discern what they mean.   Through this, God opened opportunities for me to learn about prophetic street evangelism.  I am hooked, even though I’m primarily called to Discipleship Ministry, and mentoring leaders.

In spite of my ignorance, opportunities now abound for our child and many others to be involved with people on- the- street/in workplaces, etc. to give words of encouragement for everyday Grace-Living. I encourage you, as parents, to listen to God regarding His plans for your children.  Get them involved with trusted mentors as early as is reasonable and appropriate so they can mature and become equipped to better flow in the things of God for blessing, encouraging, and healing others.


© Copyright 2011 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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Endurance is the result of having gone through something and stayed the course all the way to the finish line.  In the U.S., in particular, we've become quite accustomed to "instant" or "quick" results for so many things, that if something doesn't come in a nano-second, we lose our patience or give up altogether.  "Waiting" has, practically, become a bad word.   How can we turn this around?


In Habakkuk 2, I believe there is a key to how to wait with a positive attitude and hold on, by faith, until we receive what it is we are believing for and expecting to receive.


Habakkuk 2:1b-4, “I will wait to see what he (God) will say to me; ….. The Lord answered me:  ‘Write down the vision; write it clearly on clay tablets so whoever reads it can run to tell others.  It is not time for the message to come true, but that time is coming soon; the message will come true.  It may seem like a long time, but be patient and wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not be delayed….. But those who are right with God will live by trusting in Him.”


The most important thing to do is to hear from God.  What is HE saying to you to believe?  Is there a desire in your heart or a need in your life? Ask Him for His solution.  He is your source for everything pertaining to Life.  In Him is the way in which He has planned for you to go, so ask Him to lead you and make it plain.


Once Habakkuk heard the Word, what did He do next?  He wrote the vision/word down.  In this way he had a reminder, and it helped others to continue to believe for what they had not yet received.


We have a tendency to lose sight of, or forget, what we are hoping for when it takes longer than we might prefer to receive the tangible expression for what we are hoping (confidently expecting).


A real key for enduring is to have your solution recorded.  For some, a written note card posted in a prominent location is what works.  For others, like me, a picture is worth a thousand words. 


When I was in my thirties, I had gained about 25 pounds that "I" didn't like carrying around.  (I know and understand that discussions about weight are uncomfortable for many.  I am only sharing "my" story.)  I finally decided that I would feel better if I would lose these excess pounds.  I believed that I would be healthier and have more energy once those pounds were gone.  I believed (had faith for) losing 25 pounds.   My hope (confident expectation) was in attaining my goal weight.  I wrote down, “I am shedding 25 pounds” on a note card and taped it on my bathroom mirror. 


Since I am a highly visual person, I found a picture of me at my 'right weight'.  I posted it in the kitchen in a prominent place where I'd see it before I stuck something in my mouth.  It helped to keep me focused and served as a constant reminder for what I believed and expected to experience.  I had to literally 'see myself' as having already reached my goal.  I had to get that image/picture down deep inside of me.  I had to be able to see myself at my goal-weight anywhere I was so I could choose the appropriate behaviors that would be consistent with the “new me”. 


The next thing I did was study what thin people do.  I learned that, although, there are some thin people who can eat whatever they want, in any amount they want, anytime they want, and not gain weight, that is not the majority of thin people.  Thin people actually think differently and behave differently than those who are heavier.


I discovered that thin people almost never clean their plate.   That went against everything I had been taught!  My parents grew up in the Depression era, and so hated to waste anything, especially food.  They knew what it was like to be really, really hungry and having to do without meals.  I had to learn a new habit.  At first, I put smaller, measured out portions on my plate.  Gaining a visual for what serving sizes were supposed to look like was necessary for me.  Then I could clean my plate without feeling any pangs of guilt.  In time, I learned to be satisfied with much less and don't need to portion out my food to that extent.


Thin people make activity their focus, and not their food.  They center their lives on playing games, riding bikes, walking, playing in the yard, swimming and so on.  They do not sit around a table, mindlessly grazing.  This was another habit I changed.


I observed, paid attention, and recorded in any way I had to, until I had the revelation--the 'aha moment' --inside of me.   I had to literally see myself thin, and see myself 'behaving' like thin people behave if I was ever going to experience the results.  I had to change many beliefs and thought patterns that led to the behaviors that supported and didn’t sabotage my goals.


I had recorded my vision through photos, magazine pictures of people who were at their right weight doing various activities as I mentioned above.  I paid attention to real life people, friends or strangers, who were at their right weight and living their life actively.  I stopped focusing on food, and focused on my goal and new actions. 


Then I began talking about myself as "thin".  Every day, I'd look in the mirror and declare that not only am I the Righteousness of God, but I thanked God that I was a thin person.  The 'real' me is the right weight.  It didn't matter to me how many pounds might have covered up the real me, I spoke what was real.  It is exactly the same thing when we declare Identity Truths of Grace.  We don't 'see' Spirit things necessarily, but they are true because we know that HIS Spirit in us is what makes us who we are, and enables us to do what we do, etc... 


As I did these things, the right, supportive behaviors for experiencing what I was believing became more and more natural.  I stopped thinking as an "I wish I were thin" person, and spoke” I AM thin; I do what thin people do,” long before I reached my goal.  In time, the goal became evident.  I had received in this natural, physical realm, what had already accomplished in the Spirit realm.   My ‘outside’ matched what I already knew on the ‘inside’.  I barely noticed the natural experience because I had changed my mind about who I was, in this area of my life, long before it was evident to anyone else.  I became the thin person I knew God had created me to be.  Now, I neither look nor act like that ‘old me’.


Looking back to Habakkuk, He said that “it’s not time for the message to come true, but it was coming soon.  It may seem like a long time, but be patient and ‘wait’ for it.”


Many times there is a waiting period from the time we hear a direction from the Lord regarding your solution to a problem or experiencing your dream, and so on.  The word, ‘wait’ in this passage is indicating you are to stay ‘glued’ to this message.   You don’t become unglued when it seems to be taking so long to receive what you are expecting.   You can actually learn to celebrate, and have a victory dance before you receive what you are hoping for, because you confidently know that God’s words accomplish their purpose.


As another example, one who knows they are pregnant, confidently knows what they are expecting---new life.  There is no doubt; only excitement that builds every day.  Their anticipation grows as the days, and weeks go by.  When God gives you a Word, we become the incubator for that word.  It takes time for it to grow.  You can know there will be a birth, but only if you don’t abort the process by giving up.


If you want to experience endurance and not quit, then believing that you heard a word from God, however He chose to communicate it to you, for your life, seeing yourself as having reached your goal--down deep inside of you-- confidently speaking out, or declaring, what you are believing for as if you have already received it,--because in the Spirit realm you already have--are vital.  By the time you actually are experiencing it in the natural/physical realm, it will almost seem like “old news” to you because of where you have set your mind.


Endurance and patience is the same thing.   Each word is referring to walking in faith for something for a long time before you tangibly experience the expected result.  This is a Fruit of the Spirit.  Through having many opportunities you will get to practice and  learn how to cooperate with the Spirit in you so that He can produce the Fruit of endurance, or patience as you stay focused, and not swayed by unbelief and receive that for which you were waiting.


© Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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In a recent conversation with one of my sisters, I was reminded to go back and look at things I've written in journals that date back many years. In Habakkuk 2:2, we are reminded to record the vision, so it can be read and told to others. So easily we can forget things that have not been written or recorded in some way. For the past week, or so, almost daily, I've gone back over and re-read my old writings, notes, and dreams and what I felt my Heavenly Dad was communicating to me.

In this time of reflection, I've been reminded of many things; things I really don't ever want to forget. At the time I wrote some of these words, I didn't really have the understanding. In other instances I clearly understood, but had no idea about the timing.

It's been a fascinating discovery! The time period I am looking at currently, is 2002 and 2003. Now, I can see so much that I missed due to hindsight. One thing I wanted to share with all of you is a dream I had January 24, 2003.

In the dream, I was observing a couple meet, and later become engaged. The woman had to tell the man her desires about their wedding. He, actually had to be the one to see to the arranging of every detail..

Later, He came to pick her up, and drive to the location where they were to be married.

She called me and said how pleased she was.

I told her, "How wonderful to have a man/husband/friend who really listens to you; who hears your heart---one who hears and understands even better than you understand or even know yourself!"

Then, a voice spoke to me. I heard Him say:

"I AM that man!"

God is our perfect Father, our best Friend, our perfect Husband. His ways are above and beyond anything we even dare to think. He is Trustworthy and always works everything out for us for better than good, as we yield our wills to His.
I know none of you need to have me say this. I was so refreshed to hear it again. Maybe “I” am the only one who needed to hear it again. Who, but God, would have known eight years ago that I’d be reading this again, last night! And, it was just the “right time” for me.

This message is simple, in that it’s not a difficult thing to understand. But the depth is incredible. Never despise even what seems like a ‘little word, or a little thing’ from God for in one word from Him, there is enough power to make all the evil forces tremble in fear and flee! And, it has the power to transform lives, forever!

Negative past history is good NOT to revisit. Forgetting the past, in that regard, is a blessing. BUT the awesome things that God has done, may we never forget! We have those treasures to pass on and leave as a legacy for future generations.

So many of us can get so caught up in the trappings of activities and the pace of society, on the whole, that we need to take time to pause and reflect on what is really important.

In Luke 2: 41-42, Jesus told Martha, when she was frustrated, and very busy with preparations for her guests and irritated that Mary was “just sitting at His feet”:

"Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her."

We can choose the better thing: to SIT at His feet and learn of Him, for this will carry over into all of life. In fact, this IS life. We are called into a "state of being", not into a 'state of doing".

There will be activity, but it should follow our time of listening and learning from Jesus. The Grace- life is full of activity, but from a completely different perspective. We aren’t working “for” anything. It's a life of good works that GOD has already prepared beforehand for you to WALK in. It's simply walking the path of peace and fulfilling what He has already performed for you.

Your journey IS your destiny. It’s not a destination. When you are led by God for “this” day, you are in your destiny. Being led by HIS Spirit, in you, will place you where HE wants you. He’s already met every need you’ll have, because He’s already been in your ‘today’. Remember that He prepared your “path” before you were born—even before the world was made. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. If it becomes weighty or burdensome, then it’s time to do a “check-up from the neck up”.

Check your motivation. Ask yourself, “Why am I doing what I am doing?”. If it’s from anything other than love, then stop, and take the time to talk and listen to God. Perhaps you’ve just lost sight of the purpose along the way. Or, maybe that activity is to cease. God may have you stop for a literal rest for a period of time, and then lead you into what He has in mind for the next phase of your life.

Another thing that can happen is that your activity can become your identity. As a Child of God, your identity can only be in who God declares you to be. Those things are the only unchangeable things. What you do in your lifetime, is always subject to change. One way to tell, is noticing how easy it is, (or isn’t) for you to take a break from the activity for a time, not knowing whether or not God is going to have you continue in that. That can be quite revealing.

Without having that time of sitting at Jesus' feet and learning from Him, you will have the tendency to try to 'handle things yourself', set your own priorities, your own schedule, and so on, which often means you are headed toward burn-out, eventually. Mary chose the peaceful path, which I personally believe, gave her the endurance she needed for her own journey.

Since Jesus is our Perfect Dad who knows us better than we know ourselves, wouldn't it make sense to hear what HE has in mind for us? Receiving what He has planned is not stressful. Planning our own things is quite stressful and can take much more time. In Him, nothing is ever wasted. And, He is the redeemer of all things, including time. Such freedom!

If you’ve never done this, I’d like to encourage you to record, in some way, your own notes, thoughts, dreams, or anything you believe God is saying to YOU, personally. In time, when you decide to pause from your normal routine, and look back over those things, I believe you’ll see some amazing reflections of God, in you, at work while you were possibly quite unaware. You may even discover that you are already walking in those things He’s prepared and told you about some time ago.

May you thoroughly enjoy your journey into discovering just how much God loves to speak in a variety of ways, to His children!

© Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:17-18 (NASB)

Everyone has been given this opportunity to build someone up in whatever setting we are in. Everyone needs and wants to hear hope and life-giving words. Think about how you feel when someone is giving you words of encouragement. It makes you feel stronger and like you can accomplish something. It brings you more confidence. It brings you peace.

The following is an acronym you might find helpful as you seek God’s wisdom for how to minister to people you come in contact with in your daily life. Don’t let the word “ministry” scare you off. By it, I mean it as a way to “give aid or service to someone who is physically sick” or struggling with thoughts and emotions that are stealing their peace. Through you, God wants to express His love and compassion for those who are not at-ease for any reason. I’m just here to ‘cheer you on’!

R E C O N C I L E For the context of this article, Webster’s Defines it as: “to restore to friendship or harmony”. According to The Complete Word Study Dictionary, it means: “…restoration, exchange. A change or reconciliation from a state of enmity between persons to one of friendship. Between God and man it is the result of the redemption, the divine act of salvation, the ceasing of God’s wrath. In the NT it means reconciliation, ie. A restoration to divine favor of bringing about a change in man, conversion (Romans 5:11; 11:15), the means. or occasion of reconciling the world to God.”

Since Christ has reconciled us to Himself, we have PEACE. Before Christ came and became sin in order to pay for sin, we had been under a relationship with God that demanded justice. Christ took on Himself ALL judgment for sin and ALL justice that the law demanded. This is why Jesus is our peace. He made peace with God on behalf of mankind. He satisfied God’s wrath. When we became Christians we became Children of God and will never, ever be under His judgment. People who reject Jesus’ offer of salvation, and the devil with all of his minions are on whom judgment is intended. This is why it’s imperative to learn this now so you can be in peace when calamity falls, and not get into fear. He wants us to be led by His Spirit, and not by fear of anything.

God never changes, but His method of dealing with us has! Praise God for sending us His Son, in Whom we have redemption…!

Here is an acronym that can help you focus on what God desires to do in and through each of us to build His Kingdom: R E C O N C I L E.

R - Reach out. Since you’ve received God’s peace, share it with other people. You have your own unique gifts and talents for touching others with the Great News of the Gospel. Rest in His strength and in His ability to accomplish His purposes as you just yield when you feel the nudges He gives you.

E - Encourage, equip, edify! Build people up. Leave people with HOPE. Never settle for telling a person where they’ve been or where they are. Give them the hope for their future. Jer. 29:11! Correction is God’s business. If He is truly leading you to give this kind of word, then pray about it and make sure it is a word to say, and make sure that you have the kind of authority in the person’s life that gives you the permission to say it. It may only be something God gave you to pray and not say. Don’t give it until you have the compassion for the person that is evidenced by it being more painful for you to say it than it will for them to hear it. Let your words be seasoned with Grace. Seasoning takes time to settle and be incorporated throughout a mixture, so let this work for you in your words. A true word from God will keep. It will stand the test of time.

C - Christ focused. Remember the Grace shown to you. Remember the kindness of God that brings you in line with His plans for you. Give that to others.

O - Overcome the evil one. The word “overcome” implies that everyone has things to come over. All of us are ‘in process’. The Spirit in each Believer is as complete and perfect as God! The soul, which consists of our mind, emotions and will is in process. The body will just follow along. Not allowing either the soul or body to lead is our goal. We want to learn not to let Satan stop us from doing what we believe God is desiring us to do. Making up your will is the key. (You can’t make up your mind---that is only your ‘thinker’. The will is the decision-maker)

N - Know your true identity. You are a child of God who acts obediently sometimes and sometimes acts disobediently. Your true identity is unshakable because it is based on the finished work of Jesus and is in accordance with who He is in us and who God says we are. It is NEVER based on how we do or do not perform. We are SAINTS who sometimes sin and sometimes act obediently. We have been taken out of the dark kingdom and placed in the Kingdom of Light. Learning to act like who we are in this New Kingdom takes some time, but we are identified as “Children of the King” no matter how our actions line up. Continuing to grow in this knowledge and revelation will lead to overcoming the enemy with greater ease and living in greater experiences of peace.

C -“SEE” the treasure in others. Focus on their gifts and callings. Help them see what they have been given. Help them see how much God loves them

I - There is no place for “I”. “I” am “in Him” and HE is “in me”. All of us are made SECURE simply because of the Truth of John 14:20. Picture where you are as you read this. This helps keep jealousy, competition and every other evil thing out of our relationships. Helping others is about us keeping our “EYES” on them and their need. Helping others is NOT “about us”. Developing our ears to hear empathetically is crucial so we can hear their need. There may be a time when God wants a portion of your story to be told, but it’s not when you should be listening with a heart that is seeking to understand the hurting person. Everyone desires to be listened to. Growing past your need to be heard is another key to overcoming the enemy’s ability to distract you from the purpose God has in the situation you are in.

L - Love Motivated. In Christ, our motivation for everything we do is to be love. By love, serve one another, we are told. Even our faith works by love. We won’t have faith for anything if we don’t first believe that we are loved by God and that He desires us to walk in or have whatever we need/desire. Jesus is the embodiment of how much God loves YOU!! And He loves everyone exactly the same way. Because of His great love, He sent His Son….not for condemnation, but to RESCUE us and make it possible to be with Him forever. Only because He first loved us, can we love ourselves or others.

E - Enjoy God—Enjoy others. Everyone being in their own place or position so that more can be reached for The Kingdom of God.

Colossians 1:20-22, “…God made peace through the blood of Christ’s death on the cross. At one time you were separated from God. You WERE His enemies in your minds and the evil things you did were against God. But NOW God has made you His friends again. He did this through Christ’s death in the body so that he might bring you into God’s presence as people who are holy, with no wrong and with nothing of which God can judge you guilty.”

Everything we think we are, were, or will be guilty of has already been placed on Jesus. Everyone was found guilty and Jesus took our death sentence for us, because He so loved us! I encourage you to let this be your motivation for everything and everyone. You won’t be able to do it through human effort or simply willing it to happen. It is God doing it in and through you regardless of how it or you feel. That is supernatural power!! His unconditional love breaks all bondages. People want to be loved. God is love and is loving everyone without conditions. May He reveal this to you, specifically, so that you can pass on what you have received to others, without restraint!

We are all ‘in process’ of being transformed to an accurate likeness of Christ. It cannot be imitated. It is Christ in you, free to express Himself as He desires. It’s as if you are the water hose and He is the water. When Holy Spirit came inside of us to live, the faucet was turned on FULL Blast. With the faucet turned on the water (Spirit) just easily flows. Anytime we waiver in indecision or are not in peace, then in essence we kink the hose….we can hold back the Spirit and you’ll feel the pressure. He is always ‘ON’ and just ready to act on everyone’s behalf. The key is to cooperate with Him. Then we will see the great things He will accomplish through us!


© Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit. It is a powerful demonstration that Christ lives in you if you are a child of God. This is not something the flesh (human effort) can produce. What the flesh produces is seen when everything is going smoothly, or when the challenges haven’t exceeded a person’s human ability.

When a person is exhibiting peace in the middle of horrible things happening in his life, that is something that should make others take notice. That is not 'natural'. Guess what! You are absolutely right! That is SUPERnatural! It is God producing who He is through the person. The person is able to allow Christ to manifest in Peace because he has ceased from striving, trying, worrying, etc. He is at peace; resting in the ability of God to take care of him in the situation.

The peace that comes from God is based on God, and Him alone. It is IN SPITE of our circumstances or situations. It is not based on a job or family, or other sources of happiness and security. That is why it is a fruit of the Spirit. Humans cannot manufacture this type of peace....or at best, not for very long.

God is after our hearts being fully dependent on Him and trusting Him for our very LIFE, and not just for the things of life.

I believe there are some very tough things coming for us all to have to walk through. I believe we all will have to have our ears and senses trained to know where and how to walk through things that will be unfamiliar and extremely uncomfortable. God loves HIS children. We are NOT “children of wrath”. He is willing and able to lead us to triumph, but we have to listen and be quick to obey.

Fear leads to panic and paralysis. I can tell you personal stories of how this is true, but will save that for a future 'note'. Peace will enable us to receive direction at the proper time so we can have the opportunity to be in the right places at the right times.

Peace leads to stability and maturity. Christ is our very LIFE! This is what He came to give us. God’s abundant Life is spelled "J E S U S". His very Spirit indwelt us the minute we were saved, Eph.1:13-14. He is the guarantee of all God’s promises to us. This should give us incredible peace and confidence in sharing His love with others around us.

Walking in peace and stability while experiencing great adversity is a fabulous testimony to God’s supernatural power. In time, people around are likely to ask us how we are able to do this. What a great opportunity to introduce them to God and His kingdom!

God has great intentions for us to grow in our understanding of how much favor He has given all of His children, so we can let the world know we are Christians by our love and peace.

© Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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Emotions are like indicator lights on a car’s dashboard.  When the oil light comes on, for example, you don’t get out the tools and fix the light.  Why not?  Because you have learned that ignoring the oil light, and not checking the source to discover why the light came on in the first place, has the potential to ruin your engine. That could leave you stranded, facing huge expense, and costing you quite a bit of time and effort.


Due to the times in which we are currently living, I thought it might be beneficial and encouraging to use the emotion of fear as an example of what you can do to walk in victory over negative emotions.  Remember, applying God’s Word to your thought-life doesn’t necessarily mean your circumstance(s) or situation(s) will change.  God does, however, promise to change you and me. You can walk in victory in every situation, even if things in your life NEVER change.


Here are some great verses for you to meditate on and read, repeatedly, until you feel like the “aha-moment” has happened.  It takes time.  Remember that everyone has belief systems that have been established since childhood.  Some are great, and in-line with the Word of God.  Others are mindsets that are not helpful. The enemy of our souls has done many things repeatedly to reinforce these mindsets.  Be patient with yourself and know that it may take awhile before you feel like anything has changed. Feelings are much slower at changing than thoughts. This is not an exhaustive list, by any means. This process can be applied to any emotion.  It is coming into agreement about what the Word of God is telling you to do, and then doing it!  Ask God to highlight to you, personally, what it is that you need.  He will, just give Him time.


Romans 8:1 “Therefore there is NOW NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ.” (NASV).    If you are a Child of God, then you are NOT judged guilty, ever!  This is a great verse to apply to the “if onlys” that come to your mind. They go something like this:

“If only I hadn’t taken that job.”

“If only I had seen that coming.”

If only we lived here or there.” 

“If only I had taken advantage of that investment opportunity.”

“If only I had finished my degree.”

“….studied harder”

“….married this other person”

“….lost some weight.


2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power, of love and discipline. (NASV).  Children of God have received perfect, unconditional love from God, so now we are to walk in it and give it to others. From this love perspective, Christians have the ability to discern things the way God sees them. 


1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” (NASV).  The New Century Version of this verse says it this way:

“Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love drives out fear.  It is punishment that makes a person fear, so love is not made perfect in the person who fears.”


Understanding the depth, breadth, and height of the kind of love God has for us, NO MATTER WHAT (there are NO conditions on God’s love), is the revelation everyone needs to see the negative emotion of fear leave, and peace move in. (See Ephesians 3:18-19.)


Emotions of fear may continue to arise but knowing that YOU are perfectly loved by God, even if the whole world is against you, is where courage comes from enabling you to take steps needed so that fear is no longer in control. The Truth shall make you free to be all that God has created you to be.


The feelings of fear, or any other negative emotion, may not completely leave; the goal is to make them submit to your will and not let them control you.  Make them submit to your new thoughts that are based on The Word of God.  I love an expression I heard many years ago, and I do not remember who to credit with this saying, but it goes like this:  “We may not be able to make the ‘butterflies’ go away, but we can make them fly in formation”.  This means that you can control your emotions, by:

1. Recognize what you are feeling.

2. Check what your thought-life has been like.  What has been coming to mind?  What are you picturing?  What are you LISTENING to/paying attention to?  (This last one is a biggie, since faith is strengthened by what you listen to and focus on).

3. Ask yourself, “How do I see myself?

4. Evaluate the situation. Are you looking at the result of some actions to determine if what you did was right or wrong? 


Feelings always follow what you are thinking about.  Everyone thinks at lightening-speed or has habits and conditioned responses that were developed over a period of time.  Many times we are just unaware of what is going on in our thought life. When negative emotions, like fear, begin to take over bit by bit, it’s time to look at what you are thinking about or imagining.  It isn’t good to let emotions lead. They are fickle.


The key to experiencing the fruit of a renewed mind, and live in peace, is to believe that God speaks the truth. You have to decide if God tells the Truth, or if He lies.  There is no in-between with God.  He is all one or all the other.  If you believe He tells you the truth, then use that truth to settle the doubts that come to mind and pay no more attention to them.  If they come back, speak the Word of truth and do what the word says.


When you feel negative emotions rising to the surface, look at them as though they are red lights and delve into what caused them to be set off.  Fixing the root problem is the only way to overcome negative emotions.  Make them follow.


© Copyright 2010 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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Walking Aligned and Balanced

On the morning of June 25, during a time of quietness, I began to picture myself in the driver’s seat of a car. In my mind, I imagined myself driving a car that kept pulling either to the right or to the left. I could feel the frustration that occurs when this happens in real life. In addition, I thought about how rough the ride would be when the wheels need to be balanced. When both of these things happen, we are in for anything but a peaceful, relaxing ride.


Isn’t this a great picture of how our lives can feel? In these difficult economic times, and with the types of weather disasters that have occurred during the past several years, many people are not walking in peace. Thankfully, in Christ, we already have the ability to walk peacefully in and through all situations. Most of the time, we just don’t know how to access this peace. We don’t know how to experience it in our daily lives.


Here is an acronym that will be helpful as we apply it to a situation we may be facing, or are in currently:

B - A - L - A - N - C - E. 

C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Pictures\Microsoft Clip Organizer\j0433868.pngBBring all Your thoughts into the open.

A great tool for doing this is a journal. Your thoughts can, and do, bounce around in your mind. One thought leads to another and so on. Talk about chaos! Taking the time to jot down some things that seem to go around and around in your mind gets them out! Now, you have a way to see what you spend your time thinking about.


C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Pictures\Microsoft Clip Organizer\j0424246.wmfA - Analyze what has been written.

Take a closer look at what has been written. Are there any recurring themes?  Are there intense feelings indicated by the choice of words as they were penned?  Some examples might be fear, anger, jealousy, insecurity, etc.


C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Pictures\Microsoft Clip Organizer\j0383972.wmfL - Line up your thoughts with the Word of God.

Look up Scriptures that fit the context of what you are dealing with. For example, when you feel afraid, Psalm 27:1-3 says, “The Lord is my light and the one who saves me. I fear no one.  The Lord protects my life; I am afraid of no one. Evil people may try to destroy my body. My enemies and those who hate me attack me, but they are overwhelmed and defeated. If an army surrounds me, I will not be afraid. If war breaks out, I will trust the Lord.”  (New Century Version) This is a great verse that speaks of fears coming from a variety of sources!


Now, if you’ve never had anyone in your life that you felt you could trust, it may be hard to put your trust and confidence in God’s ability to lovingly care and provide for you. Growing in your ability to trust God is one of the purposes for which this ministry exists.  God is FOR each of us, always. Whether or not it feels like He is, believe He is!  Whether or not you messed up ‘on purpose’ or accidentally does not separate you from God’s love and His desire to come to your aid.  (There are some other resources/Bible Studies/articles on this site to help with gaining more knowledge and understanding of this or another topic).


C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Pictures\Microsoft Clip Organizer\j0400301.jpgA - Apply the Word to Your thoughts.

To make any change requires each of us to do something different than what we are currently doing. I’ve heard the definition of insanity as “doing the same things but expecting different results”.  I don’t know who to credit for saying that, but it is a great one.


In the Bible, the emphasis is always on changing the way we think about things. Scriptures like:  Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh within himself, so he is.” (New American Standard Version)    Romans 12:2a, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” (New American Standard Version) 1 Corinthians 10:5b, “…We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” (New Century Version), and many others show us that our thoughts are what have to be changed. We cannot change our emotions. In fact, the more we focus on trying to make our feelings change or go away, the stronger they will actually become. Feelings always FOLLOW what we are thinking about. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that this is true. Thoughts pass so quickly through our minds that we may not have paid attention to them. Also, many emotions have become familiar from some thought that we had many years earlier. Now, it’s practically an automatic response and the thought is not recognized, as if the emotion is so tied to the thought that we are only aware of the feeling. Of course, our enemy loves this. His job is much easier once we’ve adopted a habit.


This is why writing down what you are feeling and thinking can help make what seems elusive, or hidden, actually become visible.


C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Pictures\Microsoft Clip Organizer\j0422792.jpgN - Necessary Action.

Replace the old thoughts with new ones. You can overcome fear by renewing your mind. Changing the thoughts that feed fear, or any other emotion, to righteous thoughts can cause you to rise above the emotion, move past the emotion, and continue down the right path God has for you.


Right behavior always follows right thought. Again, it takes time. God’s kind of change starts on the inside and can take a while before the changes show up on the outside. But this kind of change is change that lasts!


C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Pictures\Microsoft Clip Organizer\j0438755.jpgC - Center Your mind.

Focus, intently, on the Word of God; on Who God is….Who Jesus is…Who the Holy Spirit is…Keep your mind set on things of God and on the revelation of Truth He’s given for the defeat of your particular struggle, and fight to maintain it. The enemy does not want you to succeed and will attempt to steal the Truth.  Keep your mind focused on the Truth that is taking the place of the old thoughts, because that is where the battle is won! The spiritual battles are in the “head”- or mind. Where the head/mind/thoughts go, the body will always follow. What’s going on in your mind- your thought life- is going to determine the outcome of whether you experience victory or defeat.


Once the Truth has been revealed, you are empowered to defeat the enemy. You are equipped with what you need to overthrow him and his thoughts.


Writing down some specific verses that God has given revelation for on how to overcome any type of thought that wants to defeat me and keep me stuck in some way, is a tool that has helped me over the years. I like to write these verses on 3”x5” cards. I include anything I feel the Lord has shown me, pertaining to that verse. Then, I put them on, or around, my computer screen, bathroom mirrors, over the kitchen sink, on the dashboard of the car, etc. Anything I can do to help enable me to quickly shift my focus is my goal. The enemy wastes no time, so I want to be armed. It takes 21 days of consistency to change a habit. So this is just one of many “practical” suggestions to help keep the new Word in place, instead of the old ones that used to go around and around in my mind.


C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Pictures\Microsoft Clip Organizer\j0301486.wmfE - Experience the victory.

As you practice catching the old thoughts and replacing them with the new ones, the victories experienced will enable you to move into a lifestyle of overcoming the enemy.


Revelation that starts on the inside is the key to any lasting change. When we feel out of control, or we can tell by our emotions that something isn’t right, it’s time to take note of them and see what they are indicating. Journaling is just one idea. It has worked great for me for many years.  God may have a specific, unique way that He wants you to capture your thoughts. The tool isn’t the important part; the Truth is.


By aligning your thoughts with God’s through knowledge of Him, His Word, and gaining understanding and wisdom, you can more easily walk a balanced, peaceful life regardless of the circumstances and situations you may have to pass through on your journey.


© Copyright 2009 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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Lord, I am Your vessel.

Though my desire was to be clay in Your hands,

I’m afraid I helped You too much with my own hands.


I thought I could see so clearly,

So I helped You with my opinions and thoughts.

You let me help for many years, until finally

The vessel broke with many tears.


I diligently crawled on my hands and knees,

Each tiny piece I wanted to retrieve.

No piece missing, but now a mess,

I lifted the pieces to You and admitted

I had tried too long to be the perfect vessel.


I see, Lord, You knew all along

My plans would never work.

You let me try, by Your great patience.


Now, with having surrendered

All of the broken pieces

I see with greater clarity how valuable

All of the cracks in the vessel are to You.


Each piece, You have placed with great care;

Quite different from my ideas.

In this arrangement, I see that it is all about You-

The Glue-Who holds it all together.


You don’t want perfect vessels.

You want vessels that allow You to do what You desire.

Most important is not what the container looks like,

But how dependent each part is upon You

Holding everything together.


I no longer fear brokenness,

For out of it, I see construction

For a more dependent me-

Upon my Savior.


In You, The Imperfect Vessel is made perfect.


© Copyright 2009 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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“Oh magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”  Psalm34:3


I grew up in a Christian home and had parents who were very involved in different aspects of church ministry .The above verse, and others that are similar, were heard or read often. Singing about magnifying the Lord was not uncommon. However, it wasn’t until many years later, as a young wife and mother, that I finally gave some thought to what I was singing. It is not a complicated thing, but truly I had never given it any thought. I had to change the way I thought about this verse.


Paul said in Philippians 4:8 to take great care in what we think about!  Why?  “As a man thinks within himself, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7.  All action starts inside. We do the things we do, because what we think feeds what we believe. Actions are just the outside manifestations of an inward heart condition. In order to change anything, our belief system has to be changed. For me, my focus had to be shifted to how magnificent God is.  I had to make Him bigger than whatever negative thing was weighing down my thought life.


In case you are wondering, the word magnify (according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible) simply means:  to make bigger; to enlarge.  In addition, it means to lift up; to advance; to boast; exceed, excellent, grow, increase, nourish, promote.  The idea is to center our attention, and let our thoughts dwell, on how magnificent God is. To make Him bigger than any other thing or person in our lives that is vying for our attention. This includes lamenting over our mistakes or even things we have done on purpose.


As an encouraging word to you, I want to tell you that change is simple! God’s word to us is simple. The flesh and soul will be at odds with us as we attempt to make changes, but the word is a simple word.  It is this: shift our focus.  Simply put, it means to determine to look at, listen to, and feed our minds with God’s word.  To concentrate on Him and learn more about who He is. 


Have you ever wanted to grow peaches? You would need to purchase a peach tree and prepare the soil. Once planted, the tree would need regular watering. Fertilizing appropriately would be very important, as well as applying some type of bug repellent.  In the right season, what would be your expectation?  If you said, “Peaches”, you’d be correct. You’d have a confident expectation that the tree would bear fruit because of the attention paid to the nurturing of the roots.


I have absolutely great news for you! All of us are just like that tree. Letting the Holy Spirit attend to our roots, taking care of the weeds and pests, we can have the confident expectation that at the proper time, fruit will appear.  How easy is that!


As you choose to change the way you think, I highly recommend the tool provided on this website called the BIRTHRIGHT BOOKMARK.  Read it everyday while standing in front of a mirror, looking at yourself straight in the eye. Something great will happen! You will begin speaking these truths with confidence and boldness, because the Truth will sink deep into your heart.


As you do this daily, gratitude for God will increase. Magnifying Him will begin to flow out of you as the revelation of how truly awesome He is sinks deeper. In time, you will find that the things that weighed you down no longer have the same hold on you that they once did.  Feel NO guilt or condemnation if you stumble. God is not condemning you.  Just get back up and keep going. It is a journey we are on. The destination will be reached. That is the fruit of your spending time with Him. No fruit of the Spirit is ever produced by humans. It is God, Himself, manifesting in your life in the form of patience or peace or love, for example.


What we focus on will develop in our lives. If we dwell on the negative things happening in our economy, as an example, we will find fear growing instead of peace. Success will occur only when our thoughts are on the pure, lovely truths of God and of His kingdom.  Think about these things and enjoy the fruit.


© Copyright 2008 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

This familiar childhood quote was said many times by me, and probably by you too. So, is this a true statement? Do words hurt?


What I have found in my lifetime is that many of my scraped knees, sprained joints, and bloody noses have actually healed and are quite forgotten. However, when something goes wrong, or when I make a mistake, I find I immediately can hear stinging words of the past replay in my mind. Literally, in seconds, I can be back in the past at the time and place where ugly, hurtful words were spoken. Here, once again, they spill over into my mind and heart, causing pain.


We all have experienced the hurt and wounds of unkind words. So the truth is, words hurt. That’s the bad news. The really good news is that there is something we can do about it.  We do have a choice. Romans 12:2, states, “Do not change yourself to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking….” I have a choice to learn to think differently from what I have ever thought before. This is crucial to understand, so that I can take my Birthrights, bring them into my Earthlife, so I can experience the KINGDOM LIFE God intended for me to live.


Romans 3:4 says, “God will continue to be true when every man is a liar.” That means anything I speak, anything I read or listen to, that says anything different from what God says, is a lie!


We may not be able to control the words of other, but we have a choice with our own words. Our words have creative power. We can create order and peace for our lives, or chaos and confusion, which is destructive. In Deuteronomy 30:19, God said he sets before us two paths for us to choose. One is life, and the other is death.  Proverbs 18:20-21 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue, and that we will eat the “fruit” of whatever we speak. James 3:6(b), “The tongue is set on fire by hell, and it starts a fire that influences all of life.” This is a powerful scripture that reinforces the truth that what we speak influences everything we do, and everyone we come in contact with.


James is also quick to point out that there is no one who can tame the tongue (3:8), but that doesn’t mean we should not stop and consider the things we say. In addition, it would be good to evaluate what we are listening to, and looking at.  They are speaking to us all of the time. 


I am a new creation. Praise God I am NOT what I do, and I am NOT what I don’t do. I am a child of God, who finds some things easy and some things difficult.  This is why we need each other. I can bring life and hope to you when you are experiencing difficulties, and you can bring life and hope to me when I am experiencing these things

Letting the Truth that all of us are valued and dearly loved by our Heavenly Father, in spite of our mistakes or our wrong willful choices, is the key to walking in victory over every unkind or hurtful thing that has ever been spoken to us. Since the Creator of the universe chose to love us, while we were still His enemies, (Romans 5:8), how can we not love ourselves, nor love others?  We truly do have a choice.


I have been making some new recordings in my mind.  Now, when things don’t go right for me, or I feel like I made a stupid mistake, I have the new tape that I can choose to pop in, with a new message to replace the old one. The old one was a lie. The new one is the truth! Now, I can choose to live without rehearsing my past, and in this way, it’s like I have a brand new past. It’s as if those ugly things were never said.  But it’s up to me to put in the truth, and it’s up to me to know the truth, so the truth can indeed set me free.


The next time you hear this rhyme, consider that words may not break bones, but they do break hearts and hurt people’s lives.


© Copyright 2008 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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"The kingdom of heaven is like a man looking for fine pearls.  When he had found a very valuable pearl, he went and sold everything he had and bought it."  Matthew 13:45-46.


You have probably heard many teachings on this great passage.  It is referring to how valuable the Kingdom of God is and how we should be willing to give up everything for the sake of pursuing the wisdom of God.  For a few minutes, just to BROADEN our thinking, lets think outside the box. I want to approach this from a little different perspective...


I would like you to consider for a moment that the man looking for treasure, or fine pearls, can represent God (or more specifically, Jesus). 


God knew, from before the world was created, that the enemy would tempt the first man and woman to sin, and that he would succeed. His plan had already been prepared. There would be an appointed time for God to send His Son to rescue humanity from the clutches of the enemy.


"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but  have eternal life."  John 3:16.

The word "so"  in this verse means, there is no more.  There is no more love He could show beyond giving His Son to die in our place, so that we could live. This is extreme love.


Jesus also has this love in Himself.  We read in Philippians 2:6-8,  "...who, although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."


Now, as we look back to the passage from Matthew, with the verses from John and Philippians in mind, we can see the picture of God, the Father, and the Son looking at the "pearl" of great value.  I want to encourage you to see that YOU are that pearl of great value and worth to God. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it.


You may be thinking,  "Well that's okay for my friend or family member, but I'm not worthy;  I've messed up too badly;  I'm filthy;  I'm too broken". I could go on and on, but I believe you get the idea. All of us were enemies of God.  In fact, Romans 5:10, in the New Century Version of the Bible, states:  "While we were God's enemies, He made friends with us through the death of His Son.  Surely, now that we are His friends, He will save us through His Son's life."  This is an incredibly wonderful verse. Jesus died while we were still hating Him. Dying for a friend shows great love, but how many of us would die for an enemy?  Not many! 


I know it's difficult to think of God loving you, especially when you read words that are all inclusive like "the world" in John 3:16.  Truthfully, if you were the ONLY one that needed Christ to die for you, He would have come and done everything He did for the masses, just for you!  I am praying for you to hear what the heart of God is saying to you.  You are HIS Pearl of Great Price. He saw YOU, before you were even born. 


Then, Jesus placed so much value in you, that He left heaven. Which means He chose to leave all He had ever known and experienced, and a truly perfect world, to come here.  And for what? To be humbled and mistreated in every way imaginable to "buy you  back", (that's what redemption means), from the enemy. He paid the price that you could never pay to present you to His Father as perfect, blameless and HIGHLY valuable. He wants you for His very own. He considers everything He paid for you worth it. He loves you so much that He has done everything, so that nothing could ever separate you from His love (Romans 8:39).


The desire of God the Father, and Jesus the Son, is that you see the value that they have placed in you. No one can love themselves, or any other, if they don't see the value. To walk in love for others requires you to truly love, value, and respect yourself. Note that I'm not talking about rudeness or haughtiness. Rather, it's the  true worth and value God has given you. You are truly free when you embrace that, and allow others to be how God created them to be.  When you know that the Creator of the Universe loves you perfectly and accepts you AS YOU ARE,  how can you not treat others with that same perspective. This is why it is so important to understand that you are a PEARL OF GREAT PRICE.


Know that you are truly worth everything, and loved dearly by God. Then recognize that God loves everyone with that same love and value.  The outcome will be a deeper relationship with God.  Worship and gratitude will begin to flow from your heart. You will experience a new-found freedom to be all that God created you to be;  truly free to just enjoy God.


© Copyright 2007 by Vanetta Stephens. All rights reserved.

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