MATTHEW 6:21 ON 6/21

TL 6-21 MATTHEW 6-21 ON 6-21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

Some portions of Scripture require a bit of explanation, but others are fairly straightforward.  Today’s Scripture reminder is self-explanatory and wow…  so TRUE! 

A wise pastor once made a statement from the pulpit that has stayed in the back of my mind.  This was his reference Scripture.  After reading it, he looked up as though he was trying to decide whether to go ahead and say what he was thinking – and finally said, “If you want to know what is the most important to a person, take a look at their finances.”  You could have heard a pin drop in that sanctuary.  I know we were all thinking about where we had written checks that last week.

Obviously, we all wrote checks to pay for our normal bills – mortgage, vehicle payment, groceries, trash, electricity, gas, etc.  but there are those other expenses that are not needs – but wants…  those are the entries in our check registers that really tell the story of what means the most to us – and there were some folks who just had to say…  OUCH!

It’s not my place to check you and it’s not your place to check me – but it is God’s Holy Spirit’s job to point out where all of us could do better.  Where do you spend most of your treasure?  That is where your heart is – it’s what matters the most to you.

MAN’S TREASURE

from week 16 of the popular book COFFEE WITH JESUS by Lucinda Berry Hill

A man was working in a field.

He came upon a treasure.

He admired it for a while,

The value, beyond measure.

He hid it in the field again,

Impossible to find.

Then left for home for the night,

The treasure on his mind.

He started selling all he had:

His house, his car, his clothes.

He sold his favorite pastime pleasures.

He sold everything he owned.

His family warned him not to go;

They said they’d turn from him.

His friends said he’d lost his mind.

He said good-bye to them.

He took the cash that he’d earned,

Back to the field he went.

To buy the field with treasure hidden.

For him, the gift was meant.

He went inside the treasure,

Came out clean and pure.

His dirty ways, his ugly past

Were gone from him for sure.

The treasure gave him wisdom,

Strength, and comfort too.

It gave him peace he never had,

A joy he never knew.

If he had to do it all again,

Give up all he had around,

He’d sell it all, joyfully,

For God, His treasure found.

To purchase Lucinda’s book, COFFEE WITH JESUS, please visit her website:  http://www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com/

I would just challenge you to figure out what your wants are – and pray about where the things of God are ranked.  What you discover may surprise you.  It may be that changes need to take place, or you might decide that your treasure and your heart are already focused on God’s work.

Let’s take a look at the entire context of this portion of Scripture:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  – Matthew 6:19-24

Who do you hate?  Who do you love?  What do you support with your treasure?  It matters to God.  🙂

 

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

TL NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

AMERICA NEEDS YOU LORD

We have a day set aside in the fall to humble ourselves and give thanks for all our blessings – it’s called Thanksgiving.  But as life progresses beyond fall and we begin to shovel snow, we hang on to that feeling through Christmas as we celebrate the reason for our faith.  But winter passes and springtime comes along.  Ah – here comes Easter when we celebrate the last week of our Lord’s life, His death and resurrection.  Then we don’t have a major reminder to be grateful again for a while.  We do have another day that reminds us to be thankful for what God has done in our lives – and it’s also a day to pray for our country, for our government on federal, state and local levels.  The spring observance was established by President Harry S. Truman in 1952 as the National Day of Prayer.

I believe since this is an election year, I will take this opportunity to pray for the process.  It’s been different, to say the least.  It’s been predictable in some ways, yet there have been a few surprises.  If you enjoy following politics, it’s not been business as usual.  I wouldn’t say it’s rigged, but I’d say it’s important to understand rules that have been the same from the beginning.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter who the president is, Jesus Christ is still LORD!

On that note, let’s pray:

Our Father in heaven, we come before You today, acknowledging You as our Creator. You are the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, the One who established Your chosen people and through whom You gave Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. You established the promised land of Israel and demonstrated time and time again that if Your people sought You, worshipped You, and obeyed You, that You would bless them with guidance, provision, and protection. But that if they turned away, then You would remove Your hand and allow judgment.

Lord, we also acknowledge that just as Israel was dedicated to You at it’s founding, that another country years later would also seek Your blessing and dedicate themselves and their land to You. The first president of these United States of America, on the day of his inauguration sought Your hand, Your guidance, and Your blessing on our new country, and the people prayed and celebrated in agreement.

In the following years, Lord, You did more for us than we deserved. You blessed us with military strength, economic strength, with inventions, medical discoveries, academic achievement and national prosperity. You lifted us up to lead the world as we proclaimed that our blessings came from You and that “In God We Trust”. Our constitution acknowledges You as our Creator and our founding fathers noted that our people should never be led without Your Word.

But as You blessed us, we eventually became prideful in our success, believing that it was also by our own hands that our nation was elevated, and that You owed us blessings and protection. In time a generation rose that became calloused toward You, Oh God, and we chose our own prideful logic above Your truth, abandoning You in our schools and ignoring You in our courts. Yet, You showed patience and mercy, and called out “Return to Me, America. Return to Me.”

But instead we embraced our sin, claiming we were Lord over ourselves. We abandoned You by giving credit to the creation of our world to astronomical chance, and began throwing out Your moral boundaries for our selfish pleasure. We oversaturated our hearts and minds on immoral entertainment until our conscience was seared, and began shedding the innocent blood of our unborn children who were an inconvenience to our lives. Yet You kept calling, “Repent, America. Repent and return to Me!”

But we responded that, “We’ve done no wrong.” And we justified our sin as our right and liberty. We chased money, physical pleasure, and the belief that we are entitled to what we do not deserve. And now we stand on the precipice of redefining what You have already called “sacred” for a definition of our own.

Lord, what You call wicked, we now call good. And we’ve now begun persecuting those that proclaim Your truth. You’ve sent warnings, allowing breaches in our security, and instability in our economy. You’ve allowed drought to begin touching our land, and civil unrest in our cities.

Lord, even the people who claim to still acknowledge You have become apathetic and complacent in our comfort. Our worship has been lukewarm and our prayers passionless. We shake our heads in shame as our nation weakens around us, instead of repenting of our apathy and inaction. Where are the people of God? Where are those that still cry out to You with broken and contrite hearts?

Lord, we deserve judgment. We deserve Your wrath, for we have sinned and sinned greatly. And we know that Your judgment starts in the house of God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags, and our hypocrisy as a cancer in our land. But we cry out to You, Lord! We have nowhere else to look but You! There is no other answer. Man cannot redeem us. Remember Your mercy! Remember Your compassion!  Break our hearts, Oh, God! Help us to love what You love, and to hate what You hate. Give us the courage to call sin what it is, and to define our lives by Your truth. Remind us of Your love for us, and call us to repentance. May every heart that knows You as Lord seek You this day! May we grieve over our sin this day; that You might show us mercy and forgiveness.

Lord, for those that heed Your words, and repent with open hearts, restore us to You. And unify those that love You. Raise up a generation that seeks You and worships You with their whole heart. Raise up a generation that is not ashamed of the gospel, and that hates to be lukewarm. Grant them faith, love, and courage to live according to Your Word, and to pray with power and to act with conviction.  Raise up leaders, Lord, who will not compromise when under pressure, or abandon You for the approval of men. Raise them up, Lord, that they may call upon Your name, and confess Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Break up the hard soil in our hearts, Lord, that You may take joy in our worship of You, and bless us again. Call us to holiness, that we would once again be the light of the world and draw all men to You. Awaken us, Lord! Rekindle our fire, and stir our hearts. We confess our sins, and we seek Your face.  Forgive us, Lord God, that we can again proclaim, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.

We ask for Your forgiveness and cleansing. We pray against those who reject Your truth. Turn their hearts to You or confound their logic. But don’t let wickedness take our land. Don’t let them succeed. Stand in their way, Lord. For America is Yours! And like Israel, may she remain undivided and in Your care. Keep our bond strong with Israel, Lord, and our leaders loyal. Or remove them from office. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

– Alex Kendrick

May God bless America – and may His people continue to bless Him!  🙂

1 JOHN 3:14 ON 3/14

TL 3-14

 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.  – 1 John 3:14

https://youtu.be/zcMseb3XNPo

True love comes from God.  It’s a love that transcends all understanding.  Once you’ve experienced love from God, along with His grace and His mercy, along with His forgiveness – you must love above all – to love is to live.  To live in Christ is to see light and feel warmth from God’s Holy Spirit – then let that same light and warmth radiate from you to others.

The name of Jesus is the one lever that lifts the world.   – Author Unknown

We’re not bullet proof by any stretch of the imagination.  We are protected if we belong to Christ because He loves us so much.  When we get hurt, we have the wonderful privilege of prayer.  We can talk one on one with our Heavenly Father through Jesus.  We are told in God’s Word, the Bible, that if we will just be still and KNOW that He is God – He will fight our battles for us.  I know this is true because He’s taken on so many of my battles – physical, emotional and spiritual.

He changed sunset into sunrise.   – Clement of Alexandria

We only live if we love.  If we do not love we remain in death.  We must not hold on to the bad days we experience in life.  We need to quickly let go of bitterness and hateful feelings.  All these things do is weigh us down in life – and we aren’t really living as long as they are on board.  If we want to fly like eagles, we need to get rid of all the ugliness we are still carrying around.  How much weight do you need to lose?  Will that show up on the scale?  Well – maybe not the scales you weigh on every morning – but your heart will feel so much better and your attitude will improve immediately.  Hand all the bad stuff over to God.  He’s big enough to take it and cast it into the sea of forgetfulness.  Once it’s gone – don’t pick it back up.

The dying Jesus is the evidence of God’s anger toward sin; but the living Jesus is the proof of God’s love and forgiveness.   – Lorenz Eifert

Choose to love God – and each other – and you will learn the secret to living a joyful life.  🙂

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY

TL MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAYPUTTING HOLES IN THE DARKNESSRegardless of the divisiveness in our country, we are to shine with the kindness, joy, hope, love and caring nature of our Lord, Savior and Master, Christ Jesus.  MLK QUOTE (3)

Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; such alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the kingdom of heaven on Earth.  – John Wesley

At the risk of repeating myself…  GOD LOVES YOU!  It doesn’t end there…  He wants us to love one another as well.  That’s where, sadly, it gets tricky – and I’m not even sure why.  If we profess to have the Holy Spirit of God living inside us, it should be a piece of cake to love our brother, right?  :-/

We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

We can show love to others – but it takes a lot of prayer beforehand.  Let’s get on our knees and pray today for the necessary tools so that we can show mutual respect for one another!  Once we’ve asked God to help us, let’s rise and be bigger!  I want to rise about petty behavior, don’t you?

LET'S RISE AND BE BIGGER

FORGIVENESSLove, forgiveness, showing interest in others in a genuine manner – that’s the blessing I want from God today!  I will ask Him to give me the gift of real compassion for all people.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.  – Mahatma Gandhi

I want to exercise honest sympathy and true empathy in life.  Think of the sacrifice Christ made for all of us – then think of the way He wants us to live.  Let’s be the best representatives for Christ we can possibly be in 2016.LOVEThere is such darkness in our country – and in our world.  Let’s humbly ask God through Jesus for LIGHT and LOVE which pokes holes in the darkness.

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.  –  Paul Boese

There is hope for America!  If we each commit to a life of forgiveness and peace, wrapped up in God’s love and grace, He will guide us to a brighter place and help us to share this country in unity.  It’s my prayer that the words of Dr. King will resonate throughout the United States, especially at this crucial time in history.  May God Bless America!  🙂

NATIONAL STATIC ELECTRICITY DAY

TL 1-9 NATIONAL STATIC ELECTRICITY DAY

1-9 STUCK BY STATIC

Click image to enlarge

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.   – Samuel Butler

It’s NATIONAL STATIC ELECTRICITY DAY!!!  Trust me, (the one with baby-fine blonde hair…), I’m well aware of the effects of static electricity!  At my birthday parties, my friends thought it was funny to rub a balloon on the carpet and hold it above my head – just to see my hair magically FLY…  well, what are friends for?  Positive and negative forces, huh?  Well, the positive force was making my hair stick to the balloon…  but the negative force was when I punched their arms for doing it.  Wait…  did I type that out loud???  Oops!  Well, that’s ok – I hit like a girl!

I can usually explain things after researching them – usually.  If you need a scientific explanation for static, I can’t provide that.  I read and understood for the most part, but just in case I don’t understand completely, I’ll just leave some links for you to visit – how about that?

http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Society/national-static-electricity-day.php

Public Domain.

When I was a kid in the 1970’s, we watched these movies in science class – and my friends and I had more fun critiquing the men’s wardrobe and horn-rimmed glasses than learning anything about science.  Fortunately, now I’m mature enough to appreciate the actual subject now – well, sort of.  😉

OK, now that we’ve taken care of the technical stuff, can we get down to the FUN stuff?  Thank you!

Shared with permission.

We do have fun with static, but can these experiments relate at all in real life?  I think we can learn a lesson from them.  You knew I’d say that, right?

If you can’t hear the angels, try quieting the static of worry.  – Terri Guillemets

Some days we feel stuck in life because of fear and worry.  These best friends always travel together.  They are used in an effort to emotionally blackmail God’s children by the enemy of the soul – Satan.  I don’t like to waste a lot of my precious time talking about him or his sneaky ways, but it’s good to know when you’re getting spiritually stuck – and where the static is coming from – or more to the point, from whom it is coming.

If I mess up and I fear doing it again, that could paralyze me.  That in itself makes me feel miserable enough, but  if I begin to worry about messing up again, I’m nearly defeated.  Do you see what I’m saying?  It’s a cycle –  a vicious, pointless, waste of time.  But, if Satan can make us waste enough time beating ourselves up, he’s keeping us from doing good for others and serving God.  That’s worth his time.

Enough about the negative – what do we do about this cycle that has the potential to defeat us?  Pray the pain, fear and worry away!  Ask God’s Holy Spirit to remind you of who you are – in HIM – not who you are compared to another pianist, or another writer, or another Sunday School teacher.  Ask Him to remind you once again who you are – in HIM?  If you do that, He will remind you that you are HIS.  You are His very special creation – not because you have certain abilities or talents – those came from HIM to begin with!  He wants you to know you are His child and He loves you.  That puts everything back in its proper perspective.

It’s just a little observation from the one with baby-fine blonde hair that is easily affected by static electricity.  If you don’t want any spiritual static to hold you back this year, pray about what makes you hurt, scared and worried.  When you do, it will leave you because your Lord is bigger than either of these.  He really is! 😀

Public Domain.

Here’s an hour of hymns…  there’s no time like the present to ask God who you are – in HIM – through Jesus Christ, His Son.  Take time to pray then enjoy the rest of the day.  ❤

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

I saw the funniest sign the other day – it said:

I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, AND IN THERAPY BY NEW YEARS!

Were you home for Christmas, with your friends and family?  Did you survive?  What does today look like for you?  Once the festivities and traditions are over, where do you go to de-stress and de-compress???  In all honesty, we love our family, but there comes a moment when you need to run away and be alone – or with others you like more.  It’s not an insult to family – it’s just the way it is.

A SIP, A PRAYER, A PEACE

I need to avoid going to therapy by New Years because for starters I can’t afford it.  When I want to relax and breathe deeply, I visit the Chinese Massage place in our local mall.  It’s amazing what a massage can do to get rid of all the built up stress and frustrations that may have latched on to you during the Christmas holiday.

Another good idea is to get some exercise.  When you exercise, it’s a way to rid yourself of all the tension and increase your energy, which is a positive thing.  It’s not good to carry negative energy around with you, so move some and get rid of it.

How about Bible study, meditation and prayer?  Yeah, you knew I’d get around to that, huh?  Well, give prayer a chance – you may be pleasantly surprised by the results and the peace you gain in the process.  You don’t have to pray like the most educated theologian – just tell God your heart in the name of Jesus.  It’s really very simple.

“A Second Cup with Jesus” is a great devotional book!  We thank you so much for reading our poetry and following this blog.  ❤

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KEEP CALM & READ A POEM

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.  To know the dark, go dark.  – Wendell Berry

You know, when we first decorate for Christmas – I’m like a little kid – OH LOOK AT THE PRETTY LIGHTS!  But it seems as time goes by and we approach Christmas Day, the lights lose their appeal to me – and by the time Christmas is over, I’m ready to embrace the quietness and the darkness that follows.  Does that sound weird and depressing?  I don’t mean it that way – I just think there is so much commercialism and hoopla associated with Christmas.  It’s like the bling mania turns back into quiet wintertime.  We don’t see the lights anymore – we lose that distraction and enjoy wintertime and see what a silent night is really all about.

Nobody sang Silent Night at the actual nativity, you know.  It really was a silent night!  Sometimes it’s not until after Christmas we get a better idea of how the actual night must have been.  Of course there was that star – that very bright, shining star!  A choir of angels singing glory to the King – the original carol.  🙂

 

 

MATTHEW 11:28 ON 11/28

 

TL 11-28 MATTHEW 11-28 ON 11-28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.   – Matthew 11:28

If there was ever a time when we need to be seeking opportunities to REST, it is this time of year!  Thanksgiving in our rearview mirror, and Christmas around the corner.  Some folks are now officially in STRESS MODE.  What descriptive terms do we see in this verse…?  Weary, burdened.  Does that sound familiar to you?  Do you want rest?  Have you gone to Jesus seeking rest?  Maybe now is the time to let go of everything and hand it to Jesus.

How much luggage do you haul around with you?  Doesn’t it get heavy to carry?  I know a man who will gladly take it and lighten your load.  There’s not a time when you will ever have to take it back either.  Once you give excess stuff to Jesus, you’re done with it.

THE BAGGAGE CARRIER

I love this poem, The Baggage Carrier, by Lucinda Berry Hill.  I don’t understand why it takes us so long to get to the point where we will let Christ take the excess baggage of life – and trade it for the light yoke that He happily gives us.

As we face the busy Christmas rush, may we take a deep breath, keep a good attitude and continue to be grateful to God for His blessings in spite of all that happens.  Christmas will come regardless of whether the family gets everything they wrote on their Christmas list or not.

Let’s be quick to ask God to help us this season.  It’s easy to stress out in a crowd or yell at people who cut in front of you in traffic.  Let’s not lose sight of what this lovely Christmas season is all about, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

How wonderful would it be if we began our Christmas shopping by letting Christ have our old bags that weigh us down every day?  When we give them to Him, we are lighter and more free to be the sort of person He wants us to be.  I’d say that’s the goal, wouldn’t you?  To God be all the glory – now, go tell someone else this good news!  🙂

NATIONAL FIG WEEK

TL NOVEMBER 1-7 IS NATIONAL FIG WEEK

Are you under the mistaken idea that spinach salad can only be made with strawberries?  What do you put in it when they are out of season?  Here’s my resolution – make a traditional spinach salad with FIGS!

Doesn’t that sound good?  It really is – and I think the figs are sweeter tasting than the strawberries.  It’s the fall alternative to a summer fave!

SPINACH SALAD WITH FIGS

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

Salad

2 – 6 oz. bags baby spinach

1 12 C. dried figs, quartered

1/2 C. dried cranberries

1/2 C. sliced almonds

1 Granny Smith apple, cored & thinly sliced

Dressing

3 Tbs. pomegranate juice

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 c. olive oil (not extra virgin)

DIRECTIONS:

Salad

Place spinach in large salad bowl.  Top with figs, cranberries and almonds.  Cover and chill.  Add apple slices just before serving.

Dressing

Measure and whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper into small mixing bowl.  Add oil in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while until blended.

Serve salad with dressing on the side.

Let the world slide, let the world go; a fig for care, and a fig for woe!  If I can’t pay, why I can owe, and death makes equal the high and low.  – John Heywood
Amid the heavy autumn meals you will most assuredly partake in, maybe this could be a light, healthy alternative at some point when you feel like you can’t have one more slice of pumpkin pie.  Wink!  😉

ROMANS 8:8 ON 8/8

TL ROMANS 8 8 ON 8 8

Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.  – Romans 8:8

DON'T GET STUCK

This portion of Scripture is fairly straight forward.  In order to honor God, we have to embrace His Word and His Way of living.  God’s Holy Word – every bit of it.

I was reading about how important it is to have proper lighting surround you when you are chatting on Skype.  It’s not a simple fix, but you can look lovely if you put forth some effort, they say.  The article went on to explain that if you position your light directly behind your gadget’s camera and place a sheet of white paper on the table, directly below your chin (which will bounce a soft glow onto your face) – then you will look really good!

How much effort are we willing to make to look good for our Heavenly Father?  Do we care if He is pleased?  Does it matter if He sees us in a flattering light?  Will we put more effort into looking good on Skype than we do in being godly?

Is anyone else saying OUCH… ???

We do tend to spend a lot of time on the external, don’t we?  If Christians (I’m pointing to myself too) would spend half the time working on the internal, how great would that be?  That’s why daily devotionals and Bible study classes are so important.  We need to have that head knowledge of God’s Word to make us wise.  We need to have that heart knowledge of God’s Word to make us strong.

Let’s have the proper lighting on board as we walk in God’s Way…  God Himself.  Before you step out into the world today, don’t forget to pray.  Ask the Lord to light your way and point you in the right direction.  Ask Him to keep you safe from harm and hold you closely.  He will honor that heart-felt prayer and protect you along life’s way.  Why?  Because He loves you, silly!  🙂

 

 

 

 

ROMANS 7:18 ON 7/18

TL ROMANS 7 18 ON 7 18

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  – Romans 7:18

WILL JESUS BE THERE

 

Christians are not robots.  We are not “programmed” to be perfect (um…  no!)  God made each of us with a free will.  When we choose to accept God’s Holy Word, it will help us live a good life, and hopefully we will use the gifts from God’s Holy Spirit, such as discernment and wisdom to make good choices.

We know that we can’t do right without help from our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It’s only in His power and strength that any good comes forth in our lives.  If we really have a desire to please the Lord, we need to pray without ceasing for His guidance.  It really is all about Him and has nothing to do with us in our own power.

Will sin continue to be our master as we walk through life?  Why would we want it to be?  There’s a better way to live – with the best Master.  Once we have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, His grace covers our lives and we have a true desire His will and way of holiness as we walk with Him through life.  We have a sincere delight for God’s law and the holiness which it demands.  Once we are cleansed within and made new, we want to live our lives His way – the best way and in our minds – the only way.

Even though every human being is born with a carnal nature that is sinful, the blood of Christ covers that sin, God forgives our sins and the Holy Spirit performs supernatural surgery to pluck out that sin nature that we’re born with, leaving us with a brand new attitude and way of living that is full of joy as we walk a path filled with peace because we live under His law and we place our heavy burdens at His feet.  Once those burdens are lifted, it’s like a spiritual spa day – every day!  🙂