Absence

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Absence

by Sieara DeLone

Absence.

As I walk down the street, I feel the absence.

The absence of needed souls.

They walk among us.

We’ve known them all

& it doesn’t really hit you until it hits YOU.

Presence.

Please present me with the present of presence.

Souls, all here to make a difference,

Make a change,

Make the world a better place,

Fill the w–

Fill.

But how can we fill through the absence?

Why do we kill through the nonsense?

Why sit still instead of conference?

Is it real? This is nonsense.

Because we are the epitome of our own issues.

All of our issues can be fixed by us fighting for a change & making a change,

But we drown in self-pity,

Wallow in depression,

Sink into death.

And  in this day & age we are victimizing ourselves.

And in this day & age we are victimizing ourselves.

AND IN THIS DAY AND AGE WE ARE VICTIMIZING OURSELVES.

We let others negatively impact our lives.

We let the opinions of others force us into the mindset of being stuck where we are.

We let ourselves forget about faith, consistency, and hard work.

We let successful imaging make us think the road is easy.

Thusforth forcing us into a mindset of a spoiled rich child being handed the world on a silver platter.

So while we are constantly blaming others, think again…

We let….

WE….

So if WE are to blame anyone,

Blame yourself for where you are

& thinking you’ll get anywhere else doing the exact same thing.

I dare you to look in the mirror & blame yourselves.

So are you past it?

Are you ready to take responsibility for your own life: career-wise, emotion-wise, etc.?

Good.

Because I dare you.

I dare you, if not satisfied with your money situation,

to stop whining about it, get off your butt, and WORK HARDER.

I dare you

If feeling alone,

to find a parent, or a friend, or a completely new person.

Find someone to trust.

Ventilate.

Confide in someone.

But that’s the easy part.

I dare you

To kill those thoughts of depression, and oppression, and recession, and death.

Replace it with the belief in a God more powerful than all that.

Replace it with faith.

Yes, sometimes you walk alone,

but God didn’t bring you this far to leave you

Don’t let the devil deceive you

Stop caring how people perceive you,

and learn how to stand up and be you.

I dare you to take the gun away from your head

I dare you not to take the easy way out

I dare you to draw up the courage

I dare you to live

I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU

And even if you don’t feel you have the strength to stand,

IT’S OKAY TO CRAWL FIRST.

Just live.

Live life to the fullest through its low points so you have an amazing story to tell at the end.

Don’t let your story be one of tragedy.

Don’t place the end at the middle.

Just live, live, and LIVE NOW,

because I refuse to live in a generation of absence.

And if these words are too harsh for you, let this come through.
When life is tough and you feel no one cares, baby I do.

And we all understand your pain, cause, hey, I’ve been through

And before you think of letting go, just know I love you

And babe, don’t turn ya back on God he’ll always come through

And the devil ain’t that powerful, don’t let him front you

Cause all this mess you going through, it’s almost done too.

I know that times is hard. You feel like planes are crashing.

But the world still needs your soul. We still need your passion.

This is just a thought to console you, while the time is passing.

 Cause I know you going through, and you done thought of passing.

But this is what I do, and yeah I’m taking action.

Cause I’d hate to live in a world without you, and live in a world of absence.

 

To see more of the lovely Sieara’s work follow her on Twitter and Facebook

Rooted In Christ

By Chidi Udemezue 

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Job 14:7-9 (NIV)
“At least there is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.
Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil,
Yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant.”

There’s something magical about trees, no? The root is the organ of the tree and typically a lot bigger than the tree itself.
Is it a coincidence that there are references made throughout the bible to our relationship with Christ to be like the roots of a tree? The root is the ORGAN – what is needed to keep the tree alive. Strong roots are not easily uprooted, they span so far and so long that you probably would be unable to get to the beginning.

Recently, I felt almost very restless and a stirring, so I took my Mums car to run some errands but ultimately to go for a drive to clear my head. I think my best when I am outside, uninterrupted just me, my thoughts and the Holy Spirit.
I ended up parking next to an old school which has turned into a construction site. Literally bricks, rubbish, mess everywhere.
I felt like the Holy Spirit was saying ‘Okay see that school, how much pressure do you reckon it has taken to pull that school all the way down? The resistance? The force? And then how much more pressure and resistance do you reckon it will take to re-build it up again?’
See maybe you are like me and you feel like there is some resistance or pressure in your life. You feel restless and almost jumpy like “come on, I’m ready!”
But from that encounter I realized, when God is breaking things off you, e.g. your character, personality traits, habits etc. it is not a comfortable place to be in. Likewise, when He is re-building you and instilling in you what you need to be all that you want to be and more.

But then I realized, once He has finished building you up, how much will it take for you to come tumbling down again? Our roots, our organs need to be rooted in Christ so that if and when we are cut down (because God and life will serve us slices of humble pie if we aren’t careful) when the Holy Spirit comes again, we can still grow and shoot forth again.

I shared this on snapchat when I caught the revelation, but I’m really glad I have the opportunity to share on a wider platform!
I pray that somehow it touches you and encourages you to seek Gods face a little bit more so that your roots become planted firmer in Him!

Stay blessed,
Chid x
www.mycameragodandi.weebly.com

To view more of the lovely Chidi’s post check out her blog 🙂 click the link above, stay blessed! 

Courage

By Chidi Udemezue 

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When I think of courage, the very next thing that I think of is overcoming fear.
You have to overcome fear first to then have courage.

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of POWER, of LOVE and of a SOUND MIND.”

For me, to have power and to exercise that power is also to be courageous. So, keeping in context with the scripture, power = courage and therefore in order to have courage we must first overcome the spirit of fear.

Fear is ugly. It sits in your stomach and eats at you. Literally. When you’re fearful about something, you can feel it gnawing at your insides until you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t actually need to do the thing that you’re fearful about.

What if unlocking the key to your fear and tapping into your power, was what stood between you and your destiny?

If David had fear, would he have beaten Goliath?

If Daniel and his friends had fear, would they have been able to withstand the fire and the lions’ den?

If Jesus had fear, would He have been able to die on the cross for our sins?

Fear I think is needed because it pushes you to realise that you can’t do life on your own. We need the help of others and of Jesus to get to where we want to be.

In all of the above questions, I can only assume that all three of them had massive amounts of fear!!! But the scripture tells us that each time, they fell on their face before God, confronting their fear and therefore gaining courage!

This is something that I’m definitely still learning – behind every courageous person that I know, is someone who overcomes the spirit of fear in their prayer closet.

In order to have courage, don’t let fear cripple you.

Stay blessed,
Chidi x

Chidi Udemezue mycameragodandi   

Comparisons That Lead To Destruction PT.2

By Chidi Udemezue

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Hey everyone, I’m really excited to be featuring again on stylishlyinspired! As Anashe previously mentioned, we will both be discussing and sharing our take on the same theme. This week, the theme is “comparisons.”

Now, the very first blog post I wrote was on comparisons.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I already knew that this was an area of my personality that I needed to gain some control over.
It is so easy, especially in this day and age, and within our generation; to let the lies of social media and everyday life, contend with our realities and the truths that God says about us.
I believe that God will continue to allow tests and trials to happen in your life until you learn to overcome them with Him and with His word. Which is what I believe He did with me in the area of comparing myself to others. I want to share the lessons that I learnt from Him with you!

Genesis 4:3-5 (NIV)
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.
And Abel also brought an offering – fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering,
But on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

For those of you who don’t know, Cain and Abel were the children of Adam and Eve, the first siblings in the bible. It is from them, that I truly learnt why I shouldn’t compare myself to another.
When the Holy Spirit led me to this particular scripture, I got a couple points from it, the main two being:

  1. Service//Offering
  2. Comparison

The overall theme however from these two points were why I should never compare myself, my gifts, my offering, my service to anyone else.

Service//Offering
For reasons unknown to us, Cain’s service/offering of fruit was unacceptable to God. My initial thought was because it was fruit and not meat. However, the bible says in 2 Corinthians 9:7 “…give what you have decided in your heart to give…” my understanding from that is it is not WHAT you give, but HOW you give unto the Lord.
Why was Cain’s offering not acceptable? Maybe it was his attitude? Nonchalance? Pride? Lack of humility? It could have been anything, we don’t know.

However, Abel came, and his offering was much better received. Maybe he came with joy, obedience, and willingness to go above and beyond for God regardless of everything. Maybe he came with nothing missing in terms of his heart and he just wanted to give onto the Lord.

From this, I got that God wants our service and our offering to be like Abel’s

  • Undiluted
  • Pure
  • No strings attached
  • Joyful

Comparison
Cain could see that God looked with favour upon Abel and he immediately compared himself to his brother.
For me, you can only see and look at someone enviously when they are doing something that you know you aren’t doing.

Again, it’s not about the fact that you give/serve, but HOW you give/serve.

Cain saw that in the eyes of God, his service did not match or live up to Abel’s. The bible says in Genesis 4:5 “…Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.” In comparison, Cain immediately turned to sin – anger.

Even in his sin, God still came and spoke to Cain and warned him in v.6-7:
“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

In the comparison, sin is already waiting for you, but in order for you to overcome the sin, you must overcome the comparison. You must rule over it. How do you rule over it? Go back and check your motives. Are you serving/giving purely? Out of joy? With no strings attached? If not, take these motives to God and let Him deal with the root of the problem.

God warned Cain. (Just like I’m sure God warns me and God warns you. God may not talk to you directly like He did Cain, but He definitely does speak, the question is are you listening?) However, Cain did not listen and ultimately killed his brother Abel.
Although Abel died at the hand of Cain, the sin from comparison ultimately led to Cain’s spiritual death, which I think is worse than a physical death.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy! It robbed Cain of the presence of God (spiritual death) “…and I will be hidden from your presence;” and he suffered for it!

Ultimately what I am trying to say to those who are reading is this; please do not compare your life, your gifts, and your service to those of another!
Use what God has given you to the very best of your ability and just like God was with Abel, God will be happy with you.
The end result of your comparison is never worth it! Be content and happy in your portion and watch God bless you!

Much love,

© Chidi Udemezue, 04/2017, www.mycameragodandi.weebly.com

To receive more from the Lovely Chidi, Check out her blog and give her a follow 🙂 stay blessed everyone 

Love’s Sacrificial MindSet

By Carol Hind 

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I am honoured to have been asked to write this guest post. It’s been a long-held desire of mine that God use my writing to speak into the lives of His people, particularly women in the Body of Christ, so when the invitation was given, I immediately asked the Lord what he wanted me to say. Out of the blue, a story came to mind. I’d not read it for a while and hadn’t really considered it to be particularly inspiring, so God’s prompting took me by surprise.

I therefore trust this post will provoke you and speak to you wherever you are at in your relationship with the Lord. I pray it will not just be another post that you read (hopefully enjoy) and then forget—but that it will challenge, even change you.

***     ***     ***

A Disturbing Narrative

There’s a story in the Bible, which grabs at my heartstrings whenever I read it.  I’m troubled by the tragedy that unfolds, by the unnecessary waste of a young life, by the foolishness of a man’s vow, by the fact that our sovereign God did not intervene to save this young woman.

I’m referring to the story of Jephthah’s daughter.  Have you read it? If not, or should you need to refresh your memory, it can be found at Judges 11:29-40.  In order for you to fully appreciate the message of this post, you will need to be familiar with this disturbing tale.

A Devoted Daughter

Now I’ve often heard about the special bond between a father and his daughter. It is not something to which I can relate, since I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my biological father. However, having walked with God for some years now, I believe I’m beginning to enjoy a similar bond with my Heavenly Father.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jephthah’s daughter loved her father very much. She was obviously watching and waiting for this mighty man of valour to return home from war.  As soon as she sees him, she runs out to meet him. She’s overjoyed at his safe return. She celebrates his triumph in customary fashion, with tambourines and dancing.  Alas, her love and devotion for Jephthah becomes her undoing. Her love for her father costs her life.

Now let’s apply this scenario to ourselves on a spiritual level. Do we love our Father God to the extent that it costs us our lives? I’m not referring to a literal death here. I’m referring to the demise of our old way of thinking and living, which runs counter to God’s commands, his word and his will. I’m referring to our constant challenge as believers. Do we identify with Jesus and learn obedience by the things that we suffer, or do we choose to follow our own path, do our own thing? Do we pick up our cross as dutiful disciples, or do we deliberately dodge the path of personal pain and sacrifice? Can we identify with Paul’s following statement?

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Do we love God with ALL of our heart, soul and strength as He requires? Have we crucified our flesh with its affections, appetites and desires, as His word demands? (Deuteronomy 6:5; Galatians 5:24).

Whilst I reflected on the various elements of this story, I wondered: where was Jephthah’s wife? I imagined her busy at home, tidying up, or preparing a special home-coming meal. And then I remembered Martha. Martha, who hadn’t chosen the ‘better part’. Martha, who became preoccupied with serving food instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Are we like this? Too busy with our personal business, or too busy ‘serving the Lord’ to sit at his feet, to make him a priority in our lives?

If this is the case, may I remind you of Jesus’s words in Matthew 10:38-39? (See Amplified Bible). May I remind you that to be his disciples, we are required to lose our lower life (the life focused only on earthly quests and concerns) and pursue the higher (God-quality and spiritually focused) life?

God’s Measure of True Love

Now, with regards to our relationship with the Lord, we learn from Revelation 3:16, that He prefers we are cold, rather than lukewarm. Fellow Christian bloggers and readers, let us not be deceived into thinking we are ok because we go to church, participate in Christian activities and believe in God. Don’t forget, the devils also believe! So let me ask you—are you guilty of loving God with your lips, whilst your lifestyle declares otherwise?

Jesus revealed in no uncertain terms that there will be those who are convinced they are in the right place with God, working his works etc., but the Lord will turn to them and say: I never knew you; depart from me. And let’s not forget the five foolish virgins who found themselves shut out from the marriage feast, to whom the same damning words were spoken: I do not know you!

Are we paying heed to these stark warnings? Do we take them seriously?

The ‘S’ Factor!

God requires an intimate knowledge of him. Relationship. Not words. Not unfulfilled intentions.

It can be easy in this age of grace to become careless. To be like the prodigal son, to avail ourselves of the rich resources of God’s Kingdom (his love, forgiveness, grace) and squander them selfishly, without care or consideration for the high price paid for us to enjoy our inheritance.

Wake up daughters of Zion! Wake up to the fact that the only life worth living is in our Father’s house, under his protection, submitted to his rules and regulations.

Wake up to the fact that we have an enemy, who hates us, and seeks to deceive and destroy us 24/7. Those suggestions that we can take God’s resources and use them for our own ends, where do you think they emanate from? Satan of course! Embraced and endorsed by our selfish inclinations, by our own carnal appetites and agendas.  We don’t even have to commit terrible sins.  Just not be fruitful.  Just not be concerned about the issues on God’s heart. Just be too busy with our personal dreams and desires to care about the needs of our neighbour, to participate meaningfully in the work of God’s kingdom, to fall on our knees and pray.

Daughters of Zion, I speak to myself and I speak to you all – wake up!

Love’s Mature Outlook

Moving on, I’d like to focus on another admirable quality of Jephthah’s loving daughter.  She is not bitter with her father, or about her fate.  How about you?  Have your experiences of life caused you to become angry with God, resentful about your experiences and negative about your future?

Dear reader, I suffered many years of spiritual malaise because of wrong attitudes. I carried around in my heart an ever increasing record of offenses and was both inwardly and outwardly hostile towards those who hurt me. Yes, life can be unfair. However, spiritual maturity, faith and trust in our Father God, enables us to overcome and carry on with the right attitude.

Cultivate A Friendship Circle

Jephthah’s daughter called upon her friends and shared her sorrow. They mourned with her.  Do you have good, genuine, spiritual friends whom you can call and depend upon when needed? Who will pray for, and support you if, or when things fall apart?

Now don’t be discouraged if you don’t have such supportive friendships. There’s always the help and counsel of the three Godhead members to fall back on. In fact you should be pursuing close fellowship with them anyway. I believe your relationship with each (Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit), is vital to your spiritual health and strength. Your relationship with them should not be superficial.  But deep. Strong. Like Paul’s—so that you are convinced in your heart that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love.

The Heroine’s Finale

As mentioned at the beginning, the story of Jephthah’s daughter always tugs at my heart.  I usually take issue with God about it. Why did he allow her to die?  It seems so harsh and unfair. I’ve never really gotten an answer. However, I do acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than my thoughts and ways.  We are not qualified to judge.  Yet isn’t this how we can feel about the things we face in our own lives sometimes—about that false accusation, that persecution, that sudden catastrophe? Unfair!

Jephthah’s daughter may have lost her life but she made history. God saw to it that she was inscribed within the pages of the Book of books. There are those seeking to make history, to make a name for themselves, to make it according to worldly standards but in doing so, lose their own lives—whether literally, mentally, or spiritually.

Dear readers, let’s make sure we aren’t so foolish as to gain the whole world, yet lose our own soul.

Let’s remember we are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price. Let’s ensure that when all is done and dusted, our names appear in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

© Carol Hind – March 2017

To see more of Carol and seek further advice please go check out her blogs and communicate with her 

Blogs:

https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com

https://apurposedrivenachiever.wordpress.com

 

 

Look Back, Look Forward, Look Up

By Emma Stephens

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Anashe asked me to put together a piece of encouragement and advice to post on her beautiful blog. I will admit I was flattered, but a touch nervous. At 24, I hardly feel as if I am in a position to give anyone advice worth a listen. I know I’m older than some of you out there, but I know that I’m much younger than many of you as well. But 24 years of living is a long time, if you think about it; if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 24 years, it’s that no matter how unique you think your journey is, undoubtedly there’s been a stretch of your road that intersected someone else’s once. There is nothing new under the sun; you never know how your story will influence someone else.

About me: I’m 24 years old. I’m a college graduate working on an MA in English while working full time at my university’s IT department. I was born and raised in the South, but lived in Germany for a year. I received Christ as my savior when I was 7 years old. I got married to the love of my life a year and 7 months ago. I love cats and literature and coffee. I’m introverted, more so every year. I’m a die-hard The Lord of the Rings fan. I love to learn, I love to laugh. And, as easy-going as I’d like to think I am, there’s nothing that riles me more than injustice, and one of the world’s greatest injustices is the burden of double-standards, hatred, and violence poured out on women’s heads. Hence my blog, Liberated, where I explore the incredible, earth-shattering, empowering liberty God gives His daughters by His grace. His grace is greater than our sin and the sins of others; greater than fear, doubt, or pain, and it is on this almighty grace that I depend.

I say I blog, but to be honest, I haven’t been blogging faithfully at all lately. I don’t think I’ve written anything that wasn’t course work in months. I’m trying to change that; get back into writing. I’m grateful to Anashe for giving me the opportunity to do so.

Here is my advice to you all, my sisters, my friends:

Write. It. Down.

Write down your prayers. When I was in college, finding time for God was really difficult sometimes. I got up early to steal thirty minutes of peaceful silence before the rest of the dorm woke up to read my Bible, but I’d fall asleep again the minute I closed my eyes to pray. I bought a journal and started writing down my prayers—the activity kept me awake and gave me a record of my spiritual walk for that semester.

Write down your fears. The best thing I’ve found to help me sort through my various anxieties, aside from praying through them and talking about them with my supportive spouse, is writing them down. Your entries will be angsty. They will be raw. They will sadden you a little when you read them again years from now. But you’ll be glad you have that record; you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come.

Write down your successes. Every triumph is important. Even the little ones. Some of you out there are struggling with mental health issues—getting out of bed in the morning may take more effort for you than for others. But getting out of bed, even when you felt like there was no way on earth you could, is a success, and it’s worth noting. The giant triumphs are easy to remember—note those, too, of course, because even the brightest memories blur with time. But the little successes are just as valuable.

Write down your dreams. Is there something you really want to do with your life? Write it down. Make it a goal. Or discard it when another idea hits you that works even better. As you record each new ambition, you are drawing a map of your journey. You will grow, your ambitions will shift, and that’s beautiful.

Write down your friendships. The people in your life are shaping you as much as your presence in their lives shapes them. Relationships are important. That person you’re really close to right now may drift away by necessity of her own journey, and even though you still care about her, the good memories fade as the connection stretches thin over greater distances. Remember the happy moments. Write them down.

Write down answers to prayer. Make a list of people or concerns you’re praying over. As the requests are answered, check them off. There will come a time when you fear God won’t listen to you or answer your prayers—looking back at this list will help you remember how much God has done for you.

Write down your blessings. Gratitude isn’t an attitude as much as it is a practice and a choice. When God gives you a good thing, write it down so you don’t forget. Again, even the small things are significant. That beautiful flower you saw on the way to work? A gift from God. The rain that fell during lunch? A gift from God. Even the things that annoy us or disadvantage us, like a lost job opportunity or other disappointed hopes, turn out to be blessings in the end—God always has something better. Write it down so you don’t forget.

The most useful piece of advice I could give you is this: no matter what your fears, dreams, prayers, friendships, or blessings are today, they will shift and change over time. Tomorrow is always a new and different day with new and different choices. Sister, no matter what horrible or beautiful thing happened to you today, no matter how down or how happy you may feel, God always has something better waiting for you down the road. There will be hard times and happy times, and God is in all of them, strengthening you, trying you with fire and flood and thunder.

You’ll never walk alone, though. He’s always there. He always listens. He will carry you through.

Write it down.

“For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

To see more of Emma’s posts or seek further advice visit her blog at https://theliberatedblog.wordpress.com/

Step By Step

By Chidi Udemezue

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When Anashe first approached me to be apart of her women empowerment community, my first thought was “Wow God you are awesome!” and then “What the heck am I going to say?!”

I had so many ideas and experiences and pieces of advice swimming around my head, but one evening I came to sit before God in prayer regarding my own personal situations.
The reply I believe I got back from Him is something that He has most definitely told me before, something that I have most definitely blogged about before (I clearly don’t listen!) and most definitely something that I feel pressed to share with whoever is reading this today.

STEP BY STEP!
With each step that you take in life, whether that be taking the step from high school/sixth form/college into university. Or from university into full time work. Or stepping out into your own business. Or moving out into your own home. Or leaving a toxic relationship. Whatever step it is that you are taking or embarking on – Trust God. Trust the process. Trust the season that you are currently in.
God is the creator of this whole earth: The universe, the stars, the sun, the moon, you, and me He is so intentional.
Do you not think that He has a mighty plan for your life? He will work it out. At each step there is a new lesson for you to learn – it’s a journey, the steps are needed to enable you to be at your full capacity – whole, new, set apart and complete – when you reach the destination. And when you get to the destination you’ll be so grateful for each step and lesson learnt along the way.

And I know, sometimes the steps and the lessons are hard. They make you question everything, from your faith to whether the end goal is worth it or not, but He is God, if He ordained it, He will see you through it.
Just like in Daniel 3:19-30, the fire/situation/trial/tribulation may look like it is set up to completely finish you, but God is with you in the fire. He will lead you through it; He will be with you in it. People will be amazed to see that God is actually in the fire with you leading you out safely. And when you come out of the fire, your clothes will not be burnt, your skin will show no effects of the fire, there will be no smell of fire on you and all that will be left is the glory and the praise that is due to our God!
(And lets not forget the promotion and the fruition of God’s promises in our lives too!!)

Be encouraged! And stay blessed!
Chidi
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www.mycameragodandi.weebly.com 

Follow Chidi on her blog to see more of her posts and to ask for more advice. To learn more about Step by Step, visit her post http://mycameragodandi.weebly.com/blog/s-t-e-p-b-y-s-t-e-p