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You know that Bridge over Troubled Water?


Reading a recent article about Art Garfunkel, I was saddened by his words.

The year was 1970. The hit song, “A Bridge over Troubled Water” rang through the air waves internationally. The lyrics and music along with Garfunkel’s angelic voice gave it recognition, he and Paul Simon didn’t see coming. Instantaneous fame became their way of life. Even those with a crow’s voice like mine were heard trying to sing it.

I remember hearing it over and over with tears falling from my eyes. The words were so profound one couldn’t ignore their touch.

When you’re wearysimon-and-garfunkel
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I’m on your side

When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I’ll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Who would have thought 45 years later the two musical geniuses, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel would remain apart by the very song that was meant to “bridge” people together.

According to the article and Garfunkel’s side of the story, he received the glory and recognition because he sang it; Paul Simon wrote it and was left out of the limelight for his talent and gifting.

The two became bitter, resentful and angry. Simon supposedly broke the two up. Garfunkel became a Math Teacher. Simon went his own way.

Growing up in the same place, they were in high school together. Simon who is a mere 5”2 inches tall and Garfunkel at 6 feet tall became friends as Art felt sorry for the short Paul Simon and became his body guard against bullying and ridicule for his height. I can relate although I didn’t have Art Garfunkel to back me up.

It was during this time the two began what would eventually become one of the greatest musical duos in modern history only to be halted by greed and jealousy.

This division is so relevant today it has become mainline.

People are fighting over the ridiculous.

People are angry over words that appear offensive even when they know it’s a lie.

America is divided by its own greed and jealousy to a point the bridge is almost broken in half.

Reading Paul Simon’s lyrics bring to heart a friendship of backbone, strength and courage to be there for one another in times of pain, darkness and when down and out.

But that is hard to find in these days. Humans have no way of bridging the needs of others without the bridge that is already built.

In 1970 I would have thought his words resonated any best friend a person could have humanly speaking. That may be true to a certain extent, but no one person or persons can fill that gap; not even close.

The bridge is Jesus Christ.

The connector is the Cross of Christ as the redemption for our sins.

He is the one who dry’s our tears, shines his light and eases our pain. He is the dream maker who sails beside us, in front of us and behind us.

Jesus Christ is the bridge upon which the foundation of the world is saved.

He is the bridge who laid down his life for every troubled water we may swim in.

And he is the only bridge that gets us across to the other side in victory.


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It’s not just any weekend…..


This time of year is like none other. For me personally Easter weekend many years ago played a major part in the basis for my journey.

Reading in My Utmost for His Highest the other day it said,

“It’s not what you do, but who you are.”

Isn’t that at the core of the crucifixion?

Isn’t that the result of the Resurrection?

It is who we are in Christ.

Jesus Christ; after the fact is life.

If you allow yourself to ponder, think and truly recognize all He did for us on the cross, all the other stuff is mute.

 

 


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Are you suffering with Christ?


 

The matter of suffering is questionable at best.

Most of it isn’t fun.equipped

Takes way too long.

Is often quite miserable.

So why does a good God allow us to suffer?

The answer may be more than one but the process of finding out is part of the answer.

No one understands suffering more than God.

Maybe God knew how much more horrible it would be for us to suffer completely had he not come up with the grandest solution.

Jesus suffered everything; all, the entire human race’s sin, vileness, evil.

What we go through is most likely minor, minute in comparison.

Maybe we suffer to carry other’s burdens.

Maybe we have pain in our bodies that is relieving someone else’s pain who is going through much more than we are.

Maybe God wants us to learn the intimacy of suffering with the Savior. Why?

It is our birthright in Christ.  We come into this world sinners only saved by grace and that grace is sufficient for our sorrows and distress. Yet through that grace we become new creatures in Christ. And since we become new creatures we will experience some of all he has experienced.

You might say, “Some things are not to be shared.” While that may be true from our fleshly standpoint, in Christ God wants to share everything with us.

Don’t start yelling that this is an admission of pain. No, it is the focus of walking through the deep waters with Jesus. It is learning the ability to take steps with him as he navigates the deep and dark by hearing, listening and heeding his voice to victory.

It is a closeness to his “Spirit” that strengthens our spirit in the midst of whatever we are going through.

When we reach the plateau of understanding God’s allowing us to suffer is for his purposes, his kingdom and glory, your faith has grown to a new height. This new level produces a “bigger picture” of what God is doing which in many respects may be equating his character with ours.

The eventual result is God perfecting his union with us.

cross

(Photo Header by John Randy Harrison)

 


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Freedom


Humans have a morbid, self-serving idea of saving ourselves. While we are at it, we esteem to save others. We cannot. Only God saves, yet we bargain, interpret and negotiate as if it is our “right.”

As long as we ourselves try to get “right with God” we rebel against the cross of Christ.

The Atonement isn’t a right or a cause. It is the greatest gift from God to all humanity; and we had nothing to do with it. The only part we have in the Atonement is to accept it as a free will, lifesaving event.

We must come to a complete place of humility, resign ourselves from ourselves becoming self-less to receive his offering.  Doing so reveals the depth of our sin, and the awesomeness of his sacrifice for us.

It represents everything we are not, and everything that Jesus Christ is.

We insult God by asking him to save us. It is past-tense; done; finished. He already did it once and it need never be repeated.

Once received we should pray; pray for others. Become a “prayer warrior” in an effort to show others the cross. Hopefully this will bring them to their knees to receive Jesus for their own redemption.

Job’s captivity was turned around when he prayed for his friends.

The Atonement is your free “Get Out of Jail” card.

2 Corinthians 3:17

2 Corinthians 3:17


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The Thief that got Away


Our moral rectitude in modern society is based on the conclusion we are here temporarily so what is the point?

Depending on your belief or non-belief system constitutes how one looks at the future and what to do while here in this earthly existence.

Past the future are 3 positions:

The Afterlife: Reincarnation brings you back as a rat who once was a goddess or god.

Dead: You retreat to a state of being “dead” as you were before you were born.  (Atheist)

Eternal Life: Heaven with God the Father!

Personally I choose #3 because there has to be more than this and I kind of like the thought of living forever with the Creator and riding down his golden streets. 

If you really “think” about it, why would God go to the trouble of creating masses of people century after century for a few decades of misery? Why would he bother to create a whole lot of people he continually works to save?

For those who believe the earth is a spinning ball of dirt floating through a galaxy of stars with nowhere to land, go ahead and find your spaceship. The concept everything is meaningless and we are wandering endlessly is a mindset on hold. The earth and its inhabitants are an accident waiting to fall off into some mud pit of non-existence.

 

In the first place it is an underestimation of God to believe we are here ONLY “for a short time as this.” He had a plan beyond our graves which includes giving every human being a “Destiny.”

Common sense tells us someone had to be in charge. If you don’t believe that, you are probably lurking around trees with no leaves and empty Mason Jars waiting to be filled with Guava jelly or Peach Preserves. You are simply missing the point of living.Titian_-_Christ_and_the_Good_Thief_-_WGA22832

No vision means there is no destiny.

No destiny means there is no value.

No value means there is no purpose.

He hung on a cross next to him. His criminal lifestyle was ending with this cruel, painful death.

To the average person, he had no value; no purpose because he never found or looked for his destiny.

 He lied his way through the few short years he lived. Worthless and useless, this thief deserved this cruel death as the crowd cheered to the Roman soldiers, “kill him!”

Yet even in the worst possible place on earth, God’s mercy was a few short feet from where he hung.

The thief maybe lacked a lot intellectually, but he was not stupid. Common sense told him this was no ordinary man they were crucifying. He had done nothing wrong. He had performed miracles unknown and given life to the dead. He had changed the world he knew in a matter of a few years.

On the other side was a criminal hurling insults at Jesus.

“If you are the “King of the Jews, the Son of God, save us and yourself!” (Luke 23: 32-43)

The thief replied, “Don’t you fear God? We deserve our punishment. He doesn’t.”

In that moment Jesus gave him value, purpose and destiny by welcoming him into Paradise.

Our value is not based upon our accomplishments, but our existence.

Our existence and entry into Heaven is only through the Messiah.

And his credit is perfect.

 


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Yes. God was there


Life isn’t the same as it was 4 days ago.

What we didn’t see coming is an unfolding of America. Just one more installment of warning.

Planned hostility was no coincidence this particular week. The outrage of such a precise weapon took time and patience to construct. Clues as to why it was where it was and on tax day are yet to be discovered. But make no mistake, someone or some group is trying to tell us something.

Some may be asking “where was God?”7ef33dc2-f21d-3702-8f8f-8eb8fa4e078e
“Why did God let this happen?”
As horrific as Monday’s bombings were, I have no doubt God was in the middle of it all.

The bombs were built for catastrophic damage much more than was accomplished. Maybe God had something to do with that.

God was the doctors, nurses, EMT’s, on-site clinic workers, policemen and security.

He arrived as Pastors, preachers, ministers, Rabbi’s, Priests, Chaplains and lay people to pray for the injured and lost.

God came as family members, friends and neighbors to offer comfort and love anywhere it was needed.

th (2)He reached out as counselors, therapists and social workers to aid in mental and emotional support.

God showed up with a mighty multitude of his angels to fight off the darkness that has become America.

The battle wages on into a war but God’s presence will overshadow any attack.

How do I know this? Because had God not been there, Boston would not exist today.
The enemy determines to kill, steal and destroy completely. The devil would have finished the job had God not been standing in his way.

If anything, the extension of God’s grace and mercy covered Boston Monday.
Without God’s every day intervention, the earth we inhabit would have blown up long ago.

Jesus’ death and resurrection conquered the “prince of this world’s ultimate conclusion, but he still has some power left and he is exercising it.
As individuals and a nation we need to seek the Cross of Christ in a heart of humble need for redemption.

America deserves punishment. We need to repent, now. Doing so will allow God to show the devil the exit door out.

While God waits for us to seek him for this soul searching revival, don’t think for one minute he is that easy to get rid of.

Our attempts to run away from the cross are a fleeting moment of reprieve. God may pardon us for a while, but it won’t be long before he comes looking for us.

He knows how clumsy we are and how many mud pits we dig for ourselves.

While we look the other way, he stands guard at the next “quicksand” we get caught in so he can retrieve us. He pulls us out; washes off the glop, gunk and slime for the umpteenth time and says, “Go, and sin no more.”ninja-angel-sodom-bible

Running away from God doesn’t work. I know I tried it.

You see, he can be rather annoying. As you are making your way into the world as a 22 year old self-sufficient, invincible idiot, he follows you around.

He bothers you. A whisper here, a tap on your shoulder there and what is worse is when he begins to sound like your mother.
If that isn’t enough he also gets his angels in on his sneaky tricks.

Finally, you ask God,
“Why are you following me around? Can’t you see I am trying to do this on my own?”

God, “I could but I won’t. My promise to you is that I will never leave you, nor forsake you. I love you too much to ever leave you alone.”

Wow.

________________________________________________________________________________________

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/paradoxes-to-carnal-men/

http://jsparkblog.com/2013/04/17/question-if-god-is-good-then-why-did/

http://faith1stministries.com/2013/04/17/who-is-to-blame-for-this-mess/

http://vineoflife.net/2013/04/16/who-is-the-man-atop-building-overlooking-boston-blasts/

Copyright @ 2013 All Rights Reserved


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Borderline and Questionable


Confusion is the devil’s playground.

He loves to get us all fired up, quarreling, fighting or nit-picking over religious doctrine or who is qualified to teach about speaking in tongues?

He is less likely to attack the non-Christian; he allows them to remove themselves from God so they are easy prey. Let him get in the middle of feuding Jesus people and he will laugh all the way to their banks.

History repeats itself. Or maybe I should say satan repeats himself. He is the king of repetition; you would think we would have learned by now his attacks are copycat copies.

What about the real thinkers? The theological “logians” or legalistic, persnickety, anti-pew speaking Jesus followers?  Or the over-educated scripture dissectors who preach the ability to view your personal walk with God as their judgment.

Lighten up people! This feeds the enemy exactly what he wants. As we single out the “grammar Nazi” equivalents of Bible rhetoric we are losing the very hearts of the people we were sent to disciple.

Yes; they watch us. They wait for us to make mistakes, sin or fall into traps of indignity or scandal. As we claim our perfection that we really don’t have they expect it. As we call each other out on self-admiration of our own spirituality, the non-believer is scratching his head wondering “and you call yourself a Christian?”

Far be it for us to relinquish our humble attitudes of knowledge. WE are not God.

Fabricated theories, bogus ideologies and the hacker who has nothing better to do but stir up trouble are all hitting Christians fast forward. Living in a tested society of wills we are subjected to refrain from “rubbing someone the wrong way” even if it is God’s truth.  How dare we offend anyone!

Jesus was mentally and emotionally assaulted as well as physically. What did he do? Get uptight? Throw a pity party? Hurl reprobate charges in a slice of revenge? NO…..

Jesus picked up a stone and offered it to the wired, charlatans, “You who have no sin can throw the first stone.”

One by one the dissemblers walked away in a noticeable stretch of blasted humility.

We are imperfect.531021_367415066683516_1576327644_n

We are incorrect probably more than not.

We will say or do the wrong things.

We will make mistakes.

The non-believers, skeptics and doubters will always expect Christians to be perfect. How ludicrous is that? Outside of the fact God created us to need him, being perfect is not an option. We can’t be perfect and need God at the same time. And, any perfection to come is only through the Cross of Christ.

God’s people should uplift and encourage each other instead of meticulously bellyache over pointed scriptural differences and principled dogma. God is perfectly capable of using the ill-advised or rookie to get his purpose accomplished. Who are we to question his actions?

Throughout history God has used murderers, adulterers, mentally ill leaders, thieves and the most educated Pharisees to perform the work he placed them on earth to do.  So how do we rate with these fallen Christians? How do we establish ourselves different from them?

We can’t. We are them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

http://trishadm.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/imperfection/

http://terry1954.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/daily-prompt-imperfection/


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Lights in the Deserts


Crews sharpen skills at Atlantic Strike

How do you respond when the words, “I don’t really have to go because of my injury” are not what you expected to hear?

“What injury?”

“I was hit in the shoulder by an IED while deployed in Afghanistan.”

A casual remark as if it was an everyday event. Maybe it had been to him.

I must admit I was somewhat surprised by his impromptu “matter of fact” emotion.

Years of traveling all over the world, he learned bits and pieces of Arabic, or Farsi as he rattled them off remembering conversations with Muslims.

5.5 years of living, breathing and attaining educated guesses from the Air Force personnel here is just that. They speak their own language and civilians like me always seem to be left questioning. Confidentiality is of utmost importance.

The need to be extra careful not to dive into a memory they prefer not to remember is a consideration I had to learn. Some deploy and come home a different human being not noticeable from the surface. It is a learned process for those of us in the minority here who watch from the distance. A 6 month deployment can reign in a mood that didn’t exist before they left.

A self-proclaimed detachment sets in as they enter back into a life they will never find again.  You can see it in their eyes; pain, sadness and fear stored inside heavy hearts.

There is a difference in acclamation depending on the rank. Most of our neighbors are or have been Majors, Pilots and Lt. Colonels.  The longer one serves reflects a character trait of strength and maturity rarely seen. Life is what it is wherever they are.

In the midst of political turmoil and hostility around the globe flowed words you will never hear on the news or read about on the internet. As the media and our government  continue to cheat the public from the truth producing an atmosphere of fear, a sense of anger arose in our den from this hero unknown to most.

My curious nature obscures my mouth at times, but I want to know what is really going on in the Middle East. The protection of God’s people and his land, Israel are sitting ducks surrounded by what would appear to be pure, unadulterated hate from all sides.

The stigmas created for a moment of ratings rattled this hero. The quiet fury this Christian officer revealed was to calm my nerves as he spoke the words I wanted to hear.

“I have been everywhere and especially the Middle East. 90% of the world is just like you and me. They want to be happy, healthy, and live calm, peaceful lives with their families and friends, and the Muslims are no different.”

Life changing words unspoken in the public arena that need to be heard instead of the urgent 10% getting attention they crave. In no way does this condone the 10% for the anguish and distress produced by “cradles of evil” in all facets of life.

However, doom and gloom has surfaced as excitement, adventure and the next best thing for the media/Hollywood,  content to exploit it for personal gain.

In the center of evil, courageous men and women of God step on soil that has never heard of Jesus.

Marking His territory with the Cross of Christ in reclusive habitations or underground bunkers they risk it all for the sake of lost souls who otherwise would never know the Gift of Salvation.

The light is still burning.

The candle is lit.god is awesome

What the devil doesn’t know is God planned ahead.

He has millions and millions of fluorescent light bulbs waiting to cover the earth with His Awesome Glory.

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/the-gift-of-gods-word/

http://churchgraphics.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/immanuel/

http://restingintheword.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/made-for-something/

The Joys of Crossing the Border


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The Tyranny of Negotiation


Ahh….but the goodwill of conscience shall exceed excuse.

The path of duty has been lost along the way. There is no shame in taking that which doesn’t belong to you. Compunction isn’t even a deterrent anymore; why should it be? We all deserve what is ours…..as long as it is good?

Knowing what we really deserve is a key component to the argument.gratitude

Rationalization or negotiation may well inhabit a temporary goad of our conscience but sooner than later the truth will hit us. What we do with that truth is a definition of our character.

There is no excuse for wrongdoing. There is no crowd to follow or ladder to climb to bolster our ego of evil. The trepidations of believing what you wish will only land you in a mine of bombs waiting to be detonated. It might well be described as pursuing it even when you know it is wrong. Unfortunately for the ill deceived God isn’t in the business of bargaining.

Proverbs 10:2 “Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life.”

The makings of any “fiscal cliff” are based on procrastination, mismanagement and quite often a communication default.  But wrong policy will never replace the truth and neither will “I deserve this because I am who I am.” We all deserve hell no matter how much good we have done simply because of what Jesus did on the cross.

Negotiating with God simply does not work. He isn’t running a Bargain Basement.

It either is, or is not.

For all the reasons one may conjure up to reward themselves, it is a waste of time if it diverts the slightest from God’s truth. There is no peace for the wicked. (Proverbs 13:21) Peace is a non-negotiable entity; an irreplaceable, no-exchange reward. The peace that passes all understanding is priceless.

Potiphar (played by Ben Kingsley) in the movie “Joseph” says, “Joseph is free no matter where he is because of his God.”  How did he attain this freedom at the hands of his betrayers? How did he keep this freedom while imprisoned for 13 years in a foreign land?

Joseph knew his God. He understood what his God represented. He also knew God would never leave him.

Reading a blog post today by a 14 year old named Joshua caught my eye with these words he wrote: “See, when hard times come, we don’t really have to believe God is with us, so much as Christ has died for us.” http://goldenbible.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/knowing-god-is-near/

 

If we can wrap ourselves around the cross of Christ, his presence becomes a walk in divine peace.

The crux of the matter always gets down to one issue; Jesus.

Christ is the centerpiece; a central core or focal point for everything and everyone.

We all possess a conscience that God gave us. For a season you might be able to ignore it and end up resolutely with a very hard heart. That doesn’t mean the conscience cannot be re-ignited; it may take a bolt of lightning for some but so be it.

For many who deepen their conscience with truth, ignoring for a season becomes an extended, chronic pain or guilt only relieved by repentance.

Jesus climbed Calvary and finished the job he came to do. Thankfully he never stopped to re-think his position.

So why should we?

When you discover the freedom, the peace that comes with knowing all Jesus sacrificed for you, the reason for negotiation is non-negotiable.

It is love.martin luther king

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/the-atonement/

http://jsparkblog.com/2012/12/29/where-is-justice/

http://trishadm.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/faith-and-why-i-would-lose-my-mind-without-it/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved


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Merciful Audacity


“Hey you? Over there…move out of my way.”

“What? I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was in your way.”

Yea, you are. I don’t have time for this. Move!”

Hustling to move, the person in the obvious way who didn’t believe they were in the way, is wondering what they did wrong.

“I sure don’t want to make them any madder.”

The amount of space was plenty for them to get through. Why would they be so mean, yelling and screaming at me? It doesn’t make sense.

Proverbs 29:11 “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

Ever find yourself in this dilemma? Which party of the play are you?

We all have different personalities. God created us to be unique.

But what if your uniqueness isn’t so unique? What if you took that uniqueness and squandered it into an attitude of anger? Or bullying?

Have you been around or are you the kind of person who blows up at the least little mishap or conquest? Are you justified in your annoyance of what others do or say? Are you easily sent into a fury of rage or throw a “temper tantrum” because you feel you have the right to do so?

Well, get over it.

Anger: A strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. Anger creates an unpleasant build up of pressure. The process one takes in a sudden burst of losing control is looking for a fight. Relief is quick for the person angered, but may lose a lot in the process like friends, husbands, wives, etc. Also is the damage to one’s health.

Justified anger: Is anger that is fair and reasonable. Jesus employed “justified anger” in the temple. He had the right to rid the money changers from his Father’s house.

Years ago, in serious Marriage Counseling with a Psychiatrist, I discovered God had gifted me with long-suffering/mercy.

During many sessions, the doctor told me I had the ability to PUT UP WITH DIFFICULT/ANGRY PEOPLE!

Giving it a name or description aided in my desire to learn how to use it correctly.

The down side is people take advantage of those who possess the quality of benevolence or goodwill.

Softheartedness or compassion is mistaken for debility or feebleness.

In my case at that time, I was seasoned in passivity to keep the peace or abstain from bickering or altercations. My intentions were admirable; but born out of fear.

A pattern began to emerge as years went by. Growing firmer in my faith, spending time alone with God and simple maturity benefited me by teaching me how to apply this gift.

No longer was I going to allow others to use this blessing as a point of contention.

Instead, it would become a foundation of audacity and fortitude with God as my shield.

Yes, you can be merciful and durable while in the midst of anger thrown at you.

You can be compassionate, yet solid in your stance of love in the face of bitterness.

Goodwill and a soft heart can reveal tenacity and stability as hate filled words surround you.

When the evils of rage and fury provoke, allow God to ignite the flame of graceful valor to release the calming peace of the Holy Spirit.

The expanse of time compounded with the hot coals of life’s adversities has yielded in me a backbone waiting to found.

This process is a daily walk with God. He is training me to combine mercy with his intellect and wisdom; his power with diplomatic leniency, and the Cross of Christ as the steady anchor of my sympathetic soul.

God can use merciful qualities for the good of his kingdom without having to fight a war every time the battle lines are crossed.

Who knows; maybe I won’t cry watching Hallmark as often now.

Side Note: I want to thank Marie, of Denim Devotion for shedding light on this delicate subject and waking me up to the truth of how God has worked in my life. There are many women who suffer at the temperaments of anger lashed out at them every day for the blessing of mercy God has given them. You don’t have to. Marie agreed with me, I was as wrong for allowing it as they were for doing it. Please check out her blog at: http://denimdevotion.wordpress.com/2012/10/15/31-days-shut-it/

Anyone who has been affected or experienced the abuse of anger, please get help. God wants to set you free as he has done for me.

http://thewayeverlasting.com/2012/10/16/quote-waiting-on/

http://butchdean.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/someday/

http://theteentheme.wordpress.com/2012/10/13/the-weight-of-our-words/

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Hybrid Lily by Randy Harrison
http://www.pbase.com/jrandyh