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Showing posts from 2016

Christian Characteristics: Humility

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The person  who bears  and suffers evils  with meekness  and silence,  is the sum  of a Christian man. --John Wesley
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Notable Quote:
1 Peter 5:6 (KJV) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

Sing a Song

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Psalm 66:1-2 (KJV) Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.


I was asked recently if I know the words to every Christmas carol ever written. Probably not...but I do know a lot of them. Singing has always been a big part of my life.

One of my earliest memories is standing behind the piano bench as my mother played Christmas carols. Her love of music was passed down to me and I developed it into a lifelong passion. Whether I'm performing in a huge production or just humming to myself, I surround myself with music. It's as natural as breathing.

God placed this passion in my soul. It feeds me. I am grateful that He gave me this gift. Others have gifts of leadership, teaching, preaching, and a million other things.

Isn't it just like our Heavenly Father to bless us with a talent that gives us such joy?

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Notable Quote:

"A musician is not recommended for playing long, but for playing well; it is obeying God wi…

This Christmas

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How Many Kings, a Christmas carol by Marc Martel and Jason Germain, of Downhere
Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we've projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother's shawl
Just a child
Is this who we've waited for? 'cause
How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we've waited for?
All for me
All for you

(This is my new favorite modern Christmas carol.)

It's Not You...It's Him

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Proverbs 18:24 (KJV) A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

I have been on this planet for nearly 55 years, and I still haven't figured out this relationship thing. Being close to my husband, daughters, family, friends and church family is vital, but I don't always get it right...or even nearly right.

Have you ever felt like there was a love deficit in your life? For me, I've noticed that is when I've been phoning in my prayer and devotion time. There have been times when I have not been a good friend, or when my big mouth should have stayed shut.

As long as my relationship with Christ is solid and intimate, it seems that my human relationships are better, too. When you're willing to invest the time in truly getting to know Someone, the dividends are peace, contentment and joy.

Human relationships don't always go perfectly, nor do they last forever. If I look to God for His perfect love, He w…

The Danger of Complacency

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The alarm went off on Sunday morning. As I cracked my eyes open, there was no dawn--only dark, cold, wet. And the wind! It rattled the windows and made the most nimble trees creak. I hit the snooze button once, twice, three times before exiting bed.

Padding around the kitchen in my robe and slippers, I dawdled over feeding the cats and making coffee. Later, I delayed taking a shower, knowing the cold tile awaited.

It was plain--I didn't want to leave the warmth and comfort of my home.

I did make it to church, and as we listened to the pastor deliver the sermon, I whispered to The Hubster, "I'm so glad I'm here."

As winter deepens, most of us will spend more time indoors, away from the cold. When life, and people, are hard, it seems easier to stay safe at home. Shutting ourselves away from the world allows us to "feel" safer. But are we, really?

God did not place us in this world to be comfortable. We are to confront the culture, not isolate ourselves f…

Look Up!

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Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.


Despair is all around us.

Hopeless feelings from the election, the economic situation and approaching holidays build up in our hearts and bring us down. This year has been a tough one.

When your heart hurts and your soul is sad and your body is exhausted--look up. God is ready and willing to provide His hope and His help. The Creator of the universe is waiting for a word from you. He wants to shelter and protect you.

Let Him do what He does best.

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Notable Quote:

"O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."--Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

When Your Hut is on Fire

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I attended a United Methodist Women's meeting with my mom last year. She was leading the group that night, and shared the following story:

"The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him.

Every day, he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost.

He was stunned with disbelief, grief and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island. It had come to rescue him!

'How did you know I was here?,' asked the weary man of his rescuers.

'We saw your smoke signal,' they repli…

Tailor Made

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Psalm 119:103 (KJV) How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Recently, I enrolled in a personal shopping service, called Dia&Co. Four times annually, they send me a box full of clothing, specifically selected for me, according to my profile. I try on every piece, keep the ones I like, and send back the rest. I am only charged for what I retain. It’s a handy solution, for someone who doesn’t have time to shop. God's Word is customized and tailored, specifically for us. When we study the Bible, different things stand out to us, than to others. It is a subjective experience. A roomful of people could read the same passage and get a roomful of opinions on what it meant to them.
Our Father wants us to digest His Word, and ruminate on it. When we truly dig in, the Bible opens up and we see that it is alive. I believe that is how the Word becomes individualized. 
How precious it is to know that our God would write a love letter, just for us…

The Gifts That Breast Cancer Gave Me

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(The following post originally aired on October 28, 2013. Today is the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.) My breast cancer journey is almost at a close. In the last year and a half, God gave me some precious gifts. I thought I would just bear down, and tough out this cancer battle, instead I have found delicate and multi-faceted jewels placed in my path.

Rest: I didn't ever sit and get quiet until I was forced to with cancer. Seems like I always had something to do, or somewhere to be. Now, I have to schedule in those quiet times to relax my mind and gather my senses.

Prayer: I've always considered myself a prayer person, but I really became a warrior during my cancer journey. Not how you think, though. I was praying for others, not myself. There are so many around us that are suffering. Achieving a deeper level of worship and prayer makes me hungry for more.

Humility: I realized early on that I had very human limits. My body simply gave out when it had enough…

The Lover of My Soul (Redux)

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(This post originally published on October 1, 2012, during the time I was receiving treatment for breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)
A week from today, I will return to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, IL, and if all goes well, I will begin my chemotherapy treatment. Within a few days after that, I will lose all my hair. It won't all fall out at once, but when it starts to get sparse, I'm going to shave it off. And I'm okay with that.

My body image has not always been so great. When I was a teenager, I had a lot of self-loathing. I thought my legs were so fat, at 105 pounds, that I refused to wear shorts during the summer. Even in my 20's, after my first brush with cancer, I covered the large scar on my right arm on the hottest July days in Kansas.

I am 50 years old now, and overweight, scarred, stretch marked, gray haired and wrinkled. Losing weight, gaining weight, short haired or long haired, I am still me. With the last …

Breast Cancer: Living Beyond My Circumstances

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(I am showing a few "re-runs" this month, in celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This post originally ran on October 14, 2013.)


John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.


When my doctor told me I had breast cancer, I went into battle mode, full force. The Hubster and I prayed about it, then got a plan together. I went from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, until I found the best fit for me. Here's the interesting part...I kept right on with my life. I still worked, grocery shopped, did my laundry and paid my bills.

Cancer was part of my life, but it didn't take over. What are your circumstances? Is there something that makes you want to stop trying?

I wish I could whisper this truth in your ear.

                                                       You. Can. Live. Abundantly.

You are not alone. There is significance and …

Cancer: It's Tough to Break the News

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(This is a rerun from March 12, 2012, when I had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)

I got my hair cut last week. Funny thing about cancer. Your life doesn't stop. You get up, go to work, clean your house and grocery shop. When you're sitting in the doctor's office and in the quiet puddles of midnight, that's the time when cancer is real and dangerous.

While shampooing my hair, my stylist recounted the tale of her son's bicycle accident, which sent him to the emergency room (and sent his mother through the roof!). At the end of the story, she jokingly added, "Beat that!"

And that's when I told her I had breast cancer. Boy, that's a conversation killer. Erica's eyes filled with tears. "No, no, not you!" she cried, as I hugged her tight. This is the ritual I go through every time I have to tell someone in my life that I have breast cancer.

The hardest people to tell hav…

GRACE

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A Change Coming

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I woke up this morning, and pulled on my hoodie. It's the first time I've done that this fall. It felt so comfy and warm on this cool morning. There's a change coming, in the weather.

The first presidential debate is today. Whoever gets elected, we will have a new leader next year. There's a change coming, in the government.

People are staying away from churches. They don't want to have anything to do with God. Children are growing up with no knowledge of the Bible. There's a change coming, in the church.

We don't spend time with our families any more. It's not a priority. We've turned into roommates and strangers. There's a change coming, in our homes.

It's foolish to think we're fine as we are. We have no need for a Savior; we believe we can manage our own lives. There's a change coming, in our hearts.

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Notable Quote:


Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (KJV) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time …

Bravely Onward

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The day I started work at Rainbows United, I took the exit ramp onto K96 and encountered this billboard. Somehow, I felt that God had placed it there just for me.

I know that Fidelity Bank in Wichita has a publicity campaign that encourages business owners and citizens to fight back against the perilous economic times we are facing.

Our business had closed three months before, and I really needed a job. The billing specialist position at RUI came as a complete surprise. I knew their reputation and jumped in with both feet. Still, I was nervous. Could I do it? Was I strong enough?

The billboard is still there, and I ask myself the same question every morning.

What will I do?

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Notable Quote:

"To go back is nothing but death; to go forward is fear of death, and life everlasting beyond it. I will yet go forward."--John Bunyan

The Shepherd

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The Shepherd was meant to be a gift for my 50th birthday, but it ended up being so much more.

I found the painting while visiting a friend in our new local hospital. They have a small gallery of local artists' work. When I rounded a corner and saw it for the first time, I was mesmerized. A small flock of sheep were led down a tree-lined path by their shepherd, while a sneaky fox peeked out from behind a nearby tree.

Never leaving my memory for long, I contemplated the painting and its meaning. I even dreamt of walking down that tree-lined pathway. The price was very dear, so I knew it was not meant for me to own this beautiful work of art.

When February 2012 came, I had my usual well-woman exam and mammogram. However, the breast exam showed abnormalities, so I had to have a follow-up needle biopsy. Being diagnosed with breast cancer on my 50th birthday was a bit of a cruel joke. Honestly, I can't remember much about the rest of that day. There was definitely no party.

Soon th…

The Withered Tree

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Habakkuk 3:17-18 (KJV) Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Problems were pretty basic when I was younger, and even when I was a young parent. Something would come up, I prayed about it, and God solved the problem. Simple, right?

But God isn't a genie, and everything can't be resolved in a flash. Sometimes, God doesn't change the circumstances. Instead, He changes our perspective.

How we handle what has been handed to us is the true test of our faith. Is it an active, vibrant thing, or superficial and lifeless?

I can't control what happens in my life, but I can control how I react. A positive outlook and faithful determination will keep me moving forward in my walk with Christ.

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Notable Quote:

In a rapid…

He is Our Peace

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The Uncomfortable Word

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2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV)For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

I've had a lot of mammograms. Some women say they are uncomfortable--even painful. A few moments of mild discomfort. When I get the results and know that I am truly clear and clean of any disease, it's so worth it.

Sitting in the pew on Sunday morning, we tend to squirm in our seats when the preacher says something that pricks our conscience. We believe we keep our sins secret; no one can see what we do. But when the Word uncovers our shame, our pride is wounded and tender. Strong medicine is the only thing that kills what ails you--sin.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be p…

The Inconvenient Jesus

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The Irrelevant Jesus

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I was so excited that the new family moving in across the street had a daughter. Marching across the street, I introduced myself and we quickly became friends. That spring, we rode bikes and walked to school and played records and did everything together--just her and I.

And then we went to summer camp. Soon after arrival, I realized that all the other kids in our group already knew my friend. And that's when I found out that my services as friend were no longer needed. I was irrelevant.

Isaiah 29:13 (KJV) Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 

What does Jesus have to do with our lives today? Is He, and His Gospel, relevant to us? How often do I truly consider Him? When was the last time I thought of what God would say about my TV viewing habits? Or my conversations with friends?

How often do I go throug…

Taming A Tantrum

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James 1:2-4 (KJV) My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.


As I start to write this post, I am sitting in a familiar place--a hospital waiting room. More medical tests have been ordered by my doctors, due to some unusual findings in my recent six-month oncology checkup and the resulting full physical.

I had a major pity party on Friday. Not being able to concentrate on my work, I walked the hallways, trying to blow the stink off. Looking into the toddler classroom, I noticed a little girl having a major tantrum. The high-spirited Charlotte was unhappy that it was snacktime and all the toys had to be put away. She clutched her doll in a deathgrip and screamed her lungs out. The teacher repeated that it was time to put away the toys and Charlotte threw herself on the floor and sobbed and kicked her freet.

Loo…

Liar, Liar

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James 3:5 (KJV) Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!


The Hubster used to work as a welder in an elevator factory when we were first married. Uniforms were supplied to all workers and laundry was included. Every year, new uniforms were delivered to the employees. One time, management decided to make a change in style and ordered pants with cuffs. They never made that mistake again.

Being a gifted welder, The Hubster rarely made mistakes. However, even the most talented metal fabricator occasionally caused sparks to fly. Such was the case one cold winter day. As he worked on a large hunk of steel, The Hubster started to feel a warmth in his boots that spread up his calf. Glancing down, he realized a tiny spark had lodged itself in the cuff of his work pants and ignited a small fire. My darling man dropped his work and patted the fire out quickly. The damage was already done, however. The pants were a total …

Peace, Be Still

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Friends, I have been meditating on the storms of life vs. the peace only God can provide. I wanted to share some Scripture that has spoken to my heart.

Psalm 107:29 (KJV) He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.



Mark 4:37-39 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.


Isaiah 25:4 For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Exodus 14:14 The…

Fiery Trials

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I Wanna Go Home

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Revelation 22:1-5 (KJV) And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.


I spend a lot of time at work in Wichita, and on the road between there and home. The more time I spend away from home, the more I miss it.

On evenings and weekends, The Hubster and I cook meals, relax and talk about our day. Home has become a haven--from the outside wo…

What's Taking Up Space in Your Head?

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Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

When I was young, and things would get me down, my dad would say to me, "Don't sweat the small stuff, Snooks."

My thought life is something I have often battled--sometimes with better results than others. My brain seems to run on overdrive most days. During my adolescence, I allowed my emotions and overactive brain to govern my actions. It was a bad way to live.

Once I committed my life to Christ, and came to know Him intimately through study of His Word, I realized that I had the cart before the horse. I am not at the mercy of my thoughts and emotions; I make the choices of what I think and feel, with God's guidance.

Instead of the overblown--out of proportion--awfulizing thoughts, I can fight back by sta…

Draw Close to Me, God

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Psalm 102:1-11 (KJV) Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble; incline thine ear unto me: in the day when I call answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin.I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. Mine enemies reproach me all the day; and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.For I have eaten ashes like bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, Because of thine indignation and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down. My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.


Prayer sometimes feels like the last thing you want to do, when words are too hard, and the emotions well up and spill over…

Love Conquers All

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Wrestling with the Future

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My war with cellulitis is over. I won, with God's help. The resulting lymphedema, however, has left me with a lifelong condition that I must battle until He takes me home.

In April, I was hospitalized with a staph infection caused by a small cut on a finger on my right hand. Due to the fact that I lost most of the lymph nodes in my right arm during my breast cancer journey, my body had trouble fighting off the infection, and my arm swelled with thick lymphatic fluid.

After spending four days as an in-patient in the hospital, and seven more as an out-patient, my doctor pronounced me infection-free. He referred me to a lymphedema-certified occupational therapist at Via Christi rehab hospital in Wichita.

Anita taught me exercises to increase the strength and fluid movement in my arm, but the majority of the time spent together was bandaging. I had to learn a five-layer strategy to squeeze and cover the entire length of my right arm, from the tips of my fingers to the top of the shou…

The Fight Isn't Over

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Joshua 8:18 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand.


Joshua had led the Jews across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The next order of business was to conquer the indiginous peoples. It was a horrible business; God had commanded that they destroy not only their enemies, but also their property.

Joshua 13:1 Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

There were many exhausting battles. Joshua and the Israelites quit before they had conquered the entire region. They only realized part of their dream and God's plan for His people.

They were weary of fighting and just wanted some peace and quiet. Instead, they had to settle for the little they had gained, and a lifetime of strife and wars for what was rightfully theirs by the Father.

We all lose heart from the fight, and long for a …

The Best is Right Now

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John 2:1-11 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; a…

Mercy Me

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Diva

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