7:00 AM

GENESIS 2:22, When God brought the woman to the man

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Love, I can say it is the world's favorite word, favorite feeling, favorite place.
People long for real love and are dying to know what it is.
We just want to love and be loved - and it feels good.

Well I guess, it's a no surprise.
God made us that way.
He made us for love - for Himself.
As 1 John 4:8 says God is Love and so Love is God.

In fact, if we changed the famous verse about "Love" in the Bible to "God", it will be fitted to some of His attributes and it goes like this...

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
God is patient,
God is kind,
He does not envy,
He does not boast,
He is not proud,
He does not dishonor others,
He is not self-seeking,
He is not easily angered,
He keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
He always protects, always trusts, always hope, always perseveres.
God never fails.

And so I realized, all of us longs for God. How it feels to be with His presence - to be in that perfect place.

But as humans, we often get that source of love in wrong places - money, fame and the most common is relationship.

In this blog, I will just focus on relationship - romantic love if that's what we want to call it.

Did you realize that before there were Adam and Eve there were Adam and God and Eve and God first?

Genesis 2:7, NASB
Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became living being.

At this point when God created the first man, the first woman was not present yet.

Adam spent time with God first and it seems he is enjoying his moment with Him for he was not asking of God for anything - even for a companion.

It is God who said that it is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18) - not Adam.
It is His idea to give him a partner who is suitable for him and so...

Genesis 2:21-22, NASB
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place.
The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

The striking word for me in this passage is that when God brought the woman to the man - it means Eve met God first before she met Adam.
Adam was sleeping, right?
After naming all the animals, God lets Adam sleep and when he woke up - He has a gift for him.
The Lord is indeed a rewarder :)

Going back to Eve, her first moment in her life is so precious for it is with the Lord.
Eve didn't know there was something like Adam in that place not until God brought her to him.
And note that it is God who brought her, who leads her to Adam - not her seeking if there is such a man out there.

It is overwhelming for me to think of how women are so precious to God.
We are the last thing God created.
He intentionally spent time with Eve.
He did not leave her after creating her.
He did not allow her to wander at the garden and just be found by Adam nor found out for herself about Adam - instead, God formally introduced her to him as if God is protecting her and really cares for her (which is He really do).
God treated us as a gift - a valuable gift :)

All throughout the Bible, there are many love stories where women are always given to men - not men given to women nor women seeking men.

From Rebekah who was brought to Isaac from the land of Haran to Canaan (Genesis 24).
To Leah and Rachel who were given to Jacob as his reward for his service to Laban (Genesis 29).
Then to Asenath who was given to Joseph by the Pharaoh of Egypt for seeing God is with him (Genesis 41).
And to Zipporah being given to Moses by Jethro for helping his daughters (Exodus 2).
And there are many more...
All of these are not man-made ideas - this is the pattern of God.

See, ladies, we are a beautiful gift of God.
We need not to rush to seek men.
We do not find them, God brings us to them.
There will be someone "suitable" for us.

Go to the well, water the flocks and the camels, don't just stay at home and be lazy.
Rebekah and Rachel might have missed their Isaac and Jacob if they did not go to the well, if they didn't serve their families or if they just stayed in their comfort zone.
These women are not deprived of material things, their fathers have many possessions yet they don't act like princesses, the bible tells us they are shepherdess (Genesis 29:9).
Do your work joyfully.
Enjoy the moment where you are.
Be kind and be willing to submit to your parents.
God will someday bring you to your own Adam, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph or Moses.
Maybe he is just sleeping right now or still busy naming the animals.
He might be on his way now to Haran or Midian - but one thing is sure God will not leave you.
Wherever you are right now, He will be with you.

He is our ultimate Lover, ultimate Protector, and our Safe Place.
In Him, we are already complete.

And for the men, God has given Adam the responsibility to cultivate the garden and name all the animals which are no joke at all.
He rewarded Isaac for his obedience, Jacob for his service, Joseph for his wisdom and Moses for his kindness.
The Lord indeed taught these men how to be responsible first.
He trains men on how to take care of whatever He has entrusted them.
He wanted to make sure that as a man, you are ready for something greater.
So focus on whatever the task God has given to you.
You will never know when is the time that He will wake you up :)

To dig deeper...
Did you realize that perfect love only exists between Adam and God and Eve and God? - Because when Adam and Eve met - sin entered the world.

Well this is just a reminder that being with your Adam and your Eve is not the best moment, the best feeling you can ever have.
Perfect place is not with them.
No one can replace God.
We cannot forget about Him nor live apart from Him.
And I think this is what it means of the verse from 1 John 4:19 that we can love because God loved us first - because He met us first.
Adam and Eve experienced God's love first hand and so they are able to love another just the way God taught them.

He loved you first before your Adam loved you or your Eve loved you.

God loved me ever since - even before I knew about love.
While I was still His enemy, He died for me (Romans 5:8).
He loved me the most when it feels I least deserved it and it makes me love Him even more.

So this Love month, may we not forget that God is the source, the author and the perfecter of love.
We can love our own Adam or own Eve because we have met Him first. :)

Happy Love months everyone!
Rejoice! Jesus loves you so much! :)
7:00 AM

ISAIAH 48:17, My Ultimate Teacher

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During our "dgroup time" one Monday evening, I have decided to pause from our "creation study" and have a deep talk with the girls about our quiet time.

I have asked them to share what are the things that I could do that will disappoint them or is there anything I did from the past that disappointed them.

Of course, I have no desire to hear such negative things because I'm afraid of it - but yes the love of God (not human) made me braver.
Truly, perfect love cast out fear (1 John 4:18).

With true honesty, I didn't expect to hear disappointments about me because in my own eyes I felt I did serve them well - but I was wrong.

I appreciate how the Lord encouraged one of my ladies to speak the truth in love (1 Corinthians 13:6) as her quiet time impress her to do so.

This lady said she was hurt by my response not choosing my words carefully.
Yes, I remembered that incident she's talking about...
I had plainly said a word not expecting that she will be hurt.
Though at the end of the conversation I felt there was something wrong - I didn't mind.
I'm thinking that she will understand if she will surrender it in her quiet time.

"The Lord will explain it and will speak to her."
This is what usually goes in my mind for not elaborating things.

I was too careful with my speech not to create flattery - but I think I got too over that time.
I was not wise in choosing the words I will utter.

Thankfully we both had our quiet time.

I can actually defend myself for saying those things - however, that is not what the Lord is saying to me.
He is reminding me to be considerate in all I do (Philippians 4:5) and impressing in my heart to let my conversation be gracious and attractive so that I will have my right response (Colossians 4:6).
He wants me to accept what I will hear and listen with a willing heart because ultimately it's Him who is speaking to me through her by encouraging her to speak the truth in love.

Another lady also shared that I hurt her by letting her feel that I don't understand her situation for I have a little understanding about it.
It seems I have a little compassion because I'm lacking of knowledge about what's going on.

Hearing that made me want again to defend myself - but I cannot, that is not what the Lord is telling me to do so.
I remembered the prayer of Paul to the churches in Philippi and Collossae...

I pray that your love will overflow more and more that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding... so you may live pure and blameless until Christ's return. - Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT)

I asked God to give you complete knowledge of his will and give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.
All the while you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.
- Colossians 1:9-10 (NLT)

Thankfully, this lady is consistent in her quiet time too and the Lord is faithfully encouraging her.
Even though I failed, the Lord did not.
He always understands and always full of compassion.

As for me, the Lord indeed wants me to embrace the prayer of Paul and surrender what I felt in prayers.

I know it wasn't easy for them to confess being their leader and "ate" - yet again only the Lord can do that.
I appreciate how the Lord holds our quiet time together.

I wouldn't say I felt good after hearing those things because it hurt me.
I didn't get the chance to feed myself by defending it because I believe that is not the right thing to do for the moment.
I can say it broke my heart at least.
However, I felt blessed when I remembered that I prayed to God to broke me by accepting our senior pastor's prayer of brokenness during one of our Sunday services.

Broken people are those that God is pleased and uses.
The blessing behind it is intimacy with Him - and I want this.

It is a humble experience for me to see that I am not a perfect leader and a follower.
I don't know everything and I am limited - that's why I need the Lord.

My quiet time next morning says,

I am the Lord your God who teaches what is good for you and leads you in the path you should follow.
- Isaiah 48:17, NLT

Morning by morning he awakens me and opens my understanding to his will.
- Isaiah 50:4, NLT

What a great comfort!
Indeed, following the Lord is not a one-time commitment because it is from Him where knowledge and understanding come from.

Every day we have to seek Him and have to surrender to His Lordship.
We just don't do what we feel, we have to discern His will.
And I think this what it means of denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily (Matthew 16:24).

7:00 AM

LUKE 2:9-14, That First Christmas

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Christmas spirit is all around.
Bright lights, joyful songs, colorful gifts, and reunions - they are in every corner!

This is the only time of the year where parties and celebrations are everywhere.
We love to give gifts and play joyful songs.
We intentionally meet with friends and families we haven't met for a while or even reconnect with those people we had some disagreement from the past.

There is something about this season why we do those things.
That love we wanna spread, that joy we wanna share, that kindness we wanna show and that forgiveness we wanna give - there must be something ultimate we have received why this season brings us such vibes and feelings.

The bible tells us that one starry starry night way back from more than 2000 years ago, in a manger, a child was born and prophesied that he will bring GREAT JOY for all people.

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,
but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.””
 - Luke 2:9-14 (NLT)

The radiance, the joy, the wrap and the songs this season - all started because a Savior has been born.
Their origin was traced back that one night when Christ came down to this world - That First Christmas night.

But did you realized that since Christ is King why didn't He came down looking like one?

Christ could choose Himself to be wrapped in a mind-boggling show of power in the presence of all angels and heavenly hosts yet He chose to wrap himself in the likeness of men in the presence of the shepherds and animals.

He was born illegitimate in the sight of this world for he was born out of wedlock.

His first visitors are the lowliest of the community.

He sleeps among the animals away from their home town.

No wealth, popularity or privilege in the world's eye can be associated with His arrival that night.

He was nothing like the Savior that the world expected for He represented everything the world wants to reject.

He entered our world with all humility - why? because Christ came here not to live but to die.

He came to serve not to be served.

He came to be our ultimate example of how to live a perfectly obedient life to the Father.

So as we celebrate this season,
We may remember that out of all the lights displayed, Christ is the first-ever light shone in our lives - to be our hope and guide. (JOHN 8:12)

That out of all the Christmas songs we're hearing and singing, first Christmas Carol happens that one night when vast of heavenly hosts sang praises to God because He sent His son for us. (LUKE 2:13-14)

That out of all the gifts we're receiving, Christ is the first-ever gift, wrapped for us to die on the cross for our sins. (EPHESIANS 2:8-9)
It even touched my heart all the more realizing that as our exchange gifts have worth, we also have worth to Christ for He bought us at a high price (1 CORINTHIANS 7:23) and treated us as His special possession. (1 PETER 2:9)
While did you know that Christ was only sold for thirty pieces of silver which are equivalent to the value of a slave their days? (MATTHEW 26:15)
I felt sorry realizing that while He values us that much, we only value Him that less - and so this Christmas may we show to everyone His real worth in our lives for He deserved more than that and we can never thank Him enough.

Lastly, we may remember that out of all the reunions we're attending, first Christmas gathering happens when the poor and the wealthy, the forgotten and the popular, the lowliest and highest of the community unites in His birth - These are when Shepherds and the Wise men came that first Christmas.
Truly, He holds everything together. (COLOSSIANS 1:17)

So I don't think we can celebrate this season leaving Christ behind - because He came we have a reason to celebrate, we have a reason to be merry, we have a reason to give and we have a reason to sing.
Thanks be to God for giving us GREAT JOY which all began that first Christmas.

Greeting everyone a merry meaningful Christmas! :)
7:00 AM

ECCLESIASTES 3:11, A time for everything

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When the Lord created the earth and all that's in it, He saw that everything is good.

At the proper time, He spoke something into existence and saw it beautiful.

He did not create a man and woman first without a place to live in and foods to eat because He knew it is not good.
Instead, He created spaces at the beginning then fill those up with sun, moon, and stars.
He further waited to create all living things such as plants, trees, and animals until there are waters and lands.
The Lord has set their time and it made them good - very good.

Did you know that the word good cannot be said good if they are not beneficial for something?
This word implies a purpose.

I love it as I see that the Lord being the Most High, has also waited.
He created all things with a purpose.
But purpose has to wait for its own time.

And I realized, sometimes we build arguments at the wrong time and we mess things when we do that.
We ruin celebration in times of feast, offend people in times of building up or being distant with someone in times of gathering.
We failed to realize that we create conflicts and sorrows when we choose to do these things.

We speak when all we need is to listen.
We keep silent when we ask to speak up.
So disappointment arise, resentment develops.
Relationships were shattered and bitterness comes.

We forgot to wait in prayer and just do things whatever our feelings call us to do.

We let ourselves be driven by our emotions instead of faith.

I remember one scene from the old testament where David asked for Solomon to be wise concerning the judgment of Joab because of what he did in the past.
He said to Solomon his son,
"...Joab murdered them in time of peace as a revenge for the deaths they had caused in time of war." (1Kings 2:5, GNT)

In this story, Joab, David's army commander killed two people, Abner (2 Samuel 3:6-28) and Amasa (2 Samuel 19:11-14, 20:1-13) even if the war has already ended.
Peace has been declared by King David yet out of anger Joab did something inappropriate for the moment.
It should be a time for healing and not for killing, a time for love and not for hate. A season of restoration and not destruction - as a result, people wept.

Solomon says...

For everything, there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)

Truly, God has appointed a time for everything.
Telling us that there is beauty and goodness in all things if we will just wait.

So we must be sensitive enough to do the appropriate action in every season of our lives.
We do not rush things or make compromises.

For a truly wise heart knows the proper time because it trusted God for all His activity under the sun - like what He did in the beginning.

7:00 AM

PHILIPPIANS 3:7-9A: If only I could turn back time

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In my last blog entry, I shared about my struggle at work.
Now let me share to you how the Lord drive my actions just to be where I am right now :)

There was this one company I've been wanting to work for since the day I began studying engineering.

I took up Bachelor in Science in Instrumentation and Control Engineering even though I didn't fully understand what ICE is all about.

It was my father's dream for me to be an engineer and to work there.
Since I trusted and love him, I wanted to achieve it for him.

I didn't know any company aside from it nor interested in any.
From day one of my class - working there is my end goal.

When I reached my 4th-year college, our class got the chance to visit that company and see what are they doing in reality.

I don't know but when I came there it feels that it wasn't the job that I'm expecting - the one I wanted.
It felt my long-time dream wasn't really my dream after all.

In our 5th-year, internship came and I'm still not decided yet if I will apply to them or not - until I lost the chance to work at my so-called "dream company".

When I started passing my resume, the first one who invited me for an interview was also the first one who called me back and accepted me to be their intern.

I was got absorbed and proceed to work for them. 🙂

Life has "what ifs"
For me, one is "what if I'm working at my dream company now?"

Maybe, I'm earning big now.
I have bigger savings and I could give more to my family.
I might also have traveled to Europe or America and more countries.
I might be a little closer to the world because I'm able to reach many of them
- yet one thing I will miss...

Did you know that right here, my life became meaningful?
Here, I met good people and here, I met the Lord.
Here, I found new relationships - and my favorite is with Jesus.
Here, I learned many things - and the greatest is the one I learned from Him.

I strongly believe that blessings are not about the place.
Wherever I am, if God wants to bless me, He can and He will.
It is not the place who gives me the blessing.
It is God and where He is.
If He is with you in that place - for you in that circumstance - and in you at that moment, then that place is all good and perfect.
God, Himself is the ultimate blessing.

I remembered this verse from Mark 8:36
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

I might have achieved all those things but without Him - it is nothing compared to the surpassing value of knowing Jesus Christ.
The things I gain right here have become my treasure and they are far more worthy than any silver or gold, rubies or any gems stone I could name of.

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.
- Philippians 3:7-9a (NLT)

God has blessed me with things more than I could think of.

Jesus has given me purpose and meaning beyond I could ever imagine.

So if I could turn back time, I would still choose where I am right now.

7:00 AM

DEUTERONOMY 12:4-6: That place of worship

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"Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. 
Rather, you must seek the LORD your God at the place of worship he himself will choose...the place where his name will be honored.
There you will bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes..."
- Deuteronomy 12:4-6 (NLT)

If it's me alone,
I don't think I will be here.
I'm not sure if I will stay here.
But one thing I know - He is the one who chooses where to establish His name, where to celebrate it and where to glorify it.
He chooses where to give Him offerings and sacrifices.
And for my case - He brought me here.

I was saying to the Lord since He is everywhere, I can serve Him anywhere - anywhere but not here at my workplace anymore.
I was asking Him to allow me to leave my job.

I quoted Deuteronomy 12:4-6 yet the Lord kept repeating at me to serve Him wherever He has put me.
15 times from Deuteronomy 12 to 16, the Lord has impressed on my heart that He chooses the place where I am right now for me to serve Him.

Pagan peoples worship their god the way they wanted but not us.
We worship Him the way He wanted.

Maybe you are asking how did I know that He wanted me to serve here at my current workplace.

All throughout my journey at work, the Lord has been so faithful to me.

Looking back, it all began with personally meeting Him here where I am right now.
This is the place where He founds me.

He even moved my workplace from Makati City to Quezon City where I am living until now.
If you know the map you will see that they are opposite and far from each other.
So maybe if he did not move our office I cannot stay longer because traveling has been so challenging in Metro Manila - yet the Lord has given me less stress for this.

Next, this is where I have started serving Him through discipleship and ministry.
He has given me women to disciple both inside and outside the office.
We usually meet at a mall in front of our building.
He then changed my work-schedule which made discipleship easier.
The Lord opens as well a satellite branch in front of us - and the singles ministry called for volunteers.
He knew I was planning to volunteer at our main church however, it's hard for me to travel there every Friday since it's out of the way.
Serving the Lord through discipleship groups and singles ministry made me worried as my parents don't want me to stay late outside but God granted me a favor in their eyes.

Lastly, God has made my workplace enduring by giving me people whom I can share my struggles with and be encouraged.
Truly it is more fun to walk with the Lord with someone who pursues the Lord from a pure heart.

I didn't realize all these things at first.
They didn't happen in an instant for it took years of God's faithfulness and patience.

It was not easy for me to obey Him for I cannot fully understand what He is doing.
I just hold to this thought that isn't it a blessing for me that there is no other reason aside from Him why I stay here?
Not the people, not the earnings nor my position. It is only Him who holds me here - my portion, my reward.

I can still choose to leave this place and be a better servant for my next workplace but I won't have peace if I'll do it because I believe that the Lord wants my obedience more than my sacrifices.

The Bible says in Romans 14:23 (NASB),
If you have doubts, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your own convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, it is sinning.

7:00 AM

PSALM 73, I was like a hidden enemy

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April 11, 2019 I felt like I am Saul, God. I'm so sorry for being like him. Outside I look kind yet insecurities and envy are killing me inside. I don't want this. Please change me. I don't want to be a hidden enemy of someone. You already won the victory, may it be as well on me. Please help me overcome it.

This was my written prayer back then about my undying issue of envy towards some people. I prayed this after reading 1 Samuel 18:1-16. The background of the story is that Saul gets jealous of David when the women of Israel praise him more than himself as David was victorious in all his battles. From then on, He kept a jealous eye on David which made him like a hidden enemy. Hidden because if we continue to read more chapters from this book of 1 Samuel, we will see that despite being envy, Saul continued to give favor to David.
He made him commander of his army, he became his son-in-law and he even allowed him ate with him at the king's table. Whenever he realized the goodness of David by sparing his life, he likes him for a while yet soon after he will hate him again. His undying envy turned into hatred which made him far from the Lord. Eventually, this led to the fall of his kingdom and dynasty. As for me, yes, I have this struggle and maybe this is my favorite sin because I found myself coming back to it.
I hate it. I know it's not their fault why God made them prosper. It's God's choice, that's how good He is. He gives sunlight to both evil and good and sends rain on the just and unjust alike.
He shows no favoritism. Honestly, I don't hate them. I hate myself feeling this way towards them. I even pity myself for being so weak like this.
So, I can totally relate to Asaph, the psalmist of Psalm 73 (NLT). But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!  They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. "What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. We know David is a nice person as he was defined as "the man next to God's own heart" while maybe Asaph envied those who are not basically nice persons - yet the issue is not whether I envy someone who is good or bad. The real issue is my heart. I was bitter and was all torn up inside. I was displeasing to the Lord.
I didn't realize this until I enter into His sanctuary. Away from Him makes me full of myself even more and so I have to refocused and stare at His goodness. Yes, at His goodness - not mine, because there is nothing I can see good in me apart from Him. The truth is there will always be someone who will be better than me in any aspect of my life I can name of.
God made it that way and I have nothing to say about it. What I have to do is to renew my mind and direct my heart in the light of the scriptures. Truly, the human heart is the most deceitful of all things, who really knows how bad it is? We have to guard it for everything we do flows from it.
And so I believe that there is no better exercise for the heart than to build and lift someone else up. I have to train it to be less of myself and more of God, not thinking of myself more important than others (Philippians 2:3), not pretending to love them but really love them (Romans 12:9) and taking delight in honoring one another (Romans 12:10). This is not normal for me as my own sinful nature demands to think myself first, it desires to be served more than to serve but if Christ can wash his disciples' feet, I also can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I cannot guarantee myself to never feel that way again that's why I need Him to fill me.

One thing I learned from this struggle - this is a good exercise for my heart.
Indeed, as for me how good it is to be near God! He is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.

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