Emotions

I was recently given the opportunity to receive a PDF copy of Emotions by Charles Stanley if I would be willing to read it and write an honest review. I thought about it for about 3 seconds and jumped at that opportunity.  As my tagline says, “I believe there is always more to be learned.” My review is what appears below.

emotions-product

For those who know me you know you would not describe me as being emotional. You would likely describe me as wearing my emotions up my sleeve as I generally don’t express them outwardly very often.

For that reason a book with a title of Emotions is probably not one that I would have thought would be very interesting  based on the title or have caught my eye on the bookshelf of my local book store. This book is not about the “Rah! Rah! Go Team!” expression of emotions but the emotions we all feel and experience but seldom discuss with anyone else because we think we are the only ones experiencing them.

The fact that it was written by Charles Stanley of course did catch my eye and does give it credibility for me as I have listened to hundreds of his sermons on his In Touch radio program and podcasts over the years. I am glad I decided to accept the opportunity to read it as I have once again learned some things or been reminded of some things I needed to be reminded of which is the benefit I expect to receive when reading any book.

Summary

Dr. Stanley first builds a case for what emotions really are and where they originate and makes two very important points at the outset.

1) Trusting Jesus Comes First – If you cannot trust Jesus enough to save you, then nothing I write here will do you any good.

2) Saving Faith Models Trust In God – The second reason I am talking about salvation at the beginning of a book about emotions is because your saving faith is a model for the kind of trust in God you’ll need for healing.

Once that foundation – that for any of this to apply you must be a believer – is established, he describes several types of emotions including rejection, bitterness, guilt and despair and how we can deal with each using God’s word as the basis for his discussion.

 

The format he uses at the end of each chapter includes 5-10 questions for personal reflection or group study. It has been my experience when there are questions such as these provided if you read these before you read the chapter you will get more out of the reading since you have clues as to what the author is trying to communicate in that chapter. That does hold true for this book as well.

 

Many of the chapters also have a “The Enemy’s Lie — God’s Truth – Our Defense” table with an issue or situation we often face and discussed in that chapter on the left and the truth from God’s word on the right we can lean on to face that situation. For example in the Guilt chapter:

God’s Truth – Our Defense – 

There is also a prayer at the end of each chapter that is an example you can use to pray yourself through that situation when you are dealing with it yourself. These end of chapter conventions alone would be worth the cost of the book.

I did learn much from this book and now have a reference to reach for when these emotions arise in my life or in the lives of those I care about. I think anyone who invests the cost of this book and time it takes to read it will find something they identify with that can help them whether that is a revelation or reminder. We all need both.

You can learn more here about In Touch Ministries and read many more reviews at Amazon.com at Emotions.

Deeper Dive

Taking a closer look at Emotions, here are some highlights that stood out to me. Quotes from the book are in blue.

Chapter 1 – Choosing to Triumph

He begins by asking the questions, Can we heal and harness our emotions — taking control of this powerful influence within us? And can we choose to express the positive, life-enhancing emotions rather than the destructive ones?

His supposition that is supported and defended throughout the book is stated as: Only the Father can pinpoint where we’ve been injured and what destructive coping mechanisms we’ve developed to protect ourselves. Only He recognizes what lies we believe about ourselves and which attitudes keep us in bondage.

Chapter 2 – What’s Going On Here?

God will work through your emotions to help you understand His purpose for your life.

Many people try to manage their feelings in unhealthy ways that are not at all helpful.

  1. The belief that emotion is a weakness
  2. The inclination to suppress or stifle emotion
  3. The drive to drown out emotions
  4. The need to express all emotions without a filter

Chapter 3 – The Root of All Painful Emotions

“Starting With Fear – …I believe that the origin of every other negative response we face is some kind of anxiety.”

Chapter 4 – Reviewing the Evidence

…if you ever find yourself driven by the thought, If I don’t act now, I’ll miss the opportunity and may never have another chance–rather than whether or not that choice is God’s will for you–then it is likely that you’re acting out of anxiety and you will not come to a wise conclusion.

…fear generally causes us to be pessimistic, self-focused, and unwilling to take risks. We ask, Why me? instead of Father what is it You are teaching me?

Freedom Through Change

Do you experience any of the symptoms of anxiety? Does a persistent lack of peace plague you? Are you tormented by a divided mind–your life characterized by a lack of focus, progress, and wisdom in making decisions? Do you constantly second-guess yourself because of the fear that you’ll be rejected, deemed unworthy, or found to be inadequate? Are you relationships strained, unfulfilling, and, at times, even alienating? Is your body deteriorating as a result of undue stress? Have you found yourself unable to grow spiritually as you hoped you would?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, then there is evidence that some form of anxiety is driving you…you need to deal with your fears in God’s strength and wisdom in order to enjoy the freedom He created you to experience.

Chapter 5 – The Courage to Stand

It is exceedingly important to find the origins of your fears so that you can then deal with them–and the thoughts they generate in you–effectively. Otherwise, you are only addressing the surface symptoms of you anxiety, rather than the profound issues that make you feel helpless and out of control.

…I would still fret about the sermon right up until the moment I reached the pulpit. I didn’t have freedom from the fear until I pinpointed the true reason it bothered me.

Origins of Fear

  1. Attitudes we’re taught as children
  2. Our imaginations
  3. Lack of information
  4. Wrong view of God’s nature

 

Triumphing Over Abiding Fear

Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

  1.  Acknowledge your anxiety to God
  2. Identify the root causes of your fears and confront them – The spirit of God working through the Word of God in a heart dedicated to Him will always succeed.
  3. Change your focus from fears to God
  4. Give the Lord praise and thanks

Chapter 6 – Rejection

Rejection strikes at the foundation of our identity, distorting what we think is true about who we are and what we are worth.

And the truth of the matter is, if we fail to recognize the presence of rejection in our lives and deal with it, it will continue to cause us pain and corrupt every relationship we have. Therefore, we must root out every false message of being unloved, unwanted, and unworthy that has been implanted in our lives and replace it with the truth of Scripture (Ps. 107:20)

Chapter 7 – Bitterness

At the outset of bitterness we must recognize two truths.

  1. Denying that your bitterness exists doesn’t work, so acknowledge it.
  2. Bitterness continues to wound as long as it persists–so root it out.

What bitterness and unforgiveness produce spiritually

  1. Bitterness hinders our prayer life
  2. Bitterness impedes our worship
  3. Bitterness prevents peace in a church body
  4. Bitterness damages a person’s ability to represent Christ

Reasons People Choose Not to Forgive Others

You cannot live a happy, healthy, effective, fruitful life if you are harboring unresolved resentment.

Gaining Victory Over Unforgiveness

  1. Ask God to reveal any bitterness in you
  2. Assume full responsibility and ask God for forgiveness
  3. Ask God to help you forgive the offender
  4. Pray, with thanksgiving, for the person who wounded you

Chapter 8 – Guilt

In this world, there is most likely no one who is as critical of you as you are. In fact, you have the potential to pick yourself apart with greater intensity and cruelty than anyone else ever could or would think to. No one else can torment you with negative thoughts every waking minute as you can.

He knows the pain, insecurities, and fears you face, and He wants to help you break free from them and from the unforgiveness you feel toward yourself. You don’t have to live under a terrible cloud of shame that suffocates your soul.

So, in summary, we must understand these two things:

  1. Legitimate guilt comes from violating God’s standard
  2. False guilt comes from wrong thinking

…it is not pardon they struggle with, but self-condemnation. They have not let the sin go, even though the Lord has.

Friend, you only have to turn your iniquity over to the Father once for it to be forgiven. Psalm 103:12 promises, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” You may repeatedly recall what you have done, but God does not. In His mind, it is absolutely forgotten. He promises, “I…will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again” (Isa. 43:25, NLT).

The Consequences of Guilt

  1. Guilt stops you from achieving your goals
  2. Self-reproach drains your energy and destroys your peace
  3. Guilt makes you feel insecure
  4. Persistent shame can cause physical and mental illness
  5. Self-condemnation can cause compulsive behavior
  6. Guilt can make us vulnerable to manipulation

Chapter 9 – Despair

The Challenge of Choice

  1. A Negative Inward Focus
  2. A Poor Testimony
  3. Self-Destructive Actions
  4. A Desire to Quit – Permanently

John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand”

So the Lord reminded Elijah of one of the most important principles any of us will ever learn: Whenever problems arise, get alone and listen quietly for God. Take time to intentionally kneel in silence before His holy presence. He will speak to you. Dwelling on your problem will never make it go away, but focusing on the Father is always the pathway to success.

Like Elijah, you can hold on to God no matter what happens or how discouraging your situation may become — knowing that your greatest moments of victory are often preceded by moments of seemingly insurmountable defeat.

Zephaniah 3:17 affirms, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

Chapter 10 – All The Way To Victory

He taught me that I was so occupied doing His work that I was actually missing His voice. I was not taking time to listen to Him.

So make the most of the opportunity God has given you. Share His love with others verbally, physically, patiently, gratefully, generously, tenderly, forgiving, devotedly, cheerfully, and honorably.

Conclusion

The preceding highlight are just that, highlights. There is no way I can convey to you the full depth of this book in this review. There is too much there. What I have attempted to do is give you some examples of the subjects Dr. Stanley discusses in this book. If you see some that do resonate with you then you will likely receive some benefit from this book. If you don’t then you might need to re-read them. I think most people will see something that reminds them of themselves.

Will Emotions by Charles Stanley resolve every emotional issue you are experiencing right now or in the future? No

Will Emotions by Charles Stanley teach you something new or remind you of something that you once knew that will help you face and walk through many of the emotional issues you are facing right now or will face in the future? Yes

For that reason I believe it is worth the investment of a few dollars and your time to purchase and read Emotions by Charles Stanley. It will be a worthwhile investment.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

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Outrageously Good

 

The Outrageous Life

In the OUTRAGEOUS life Dwayne Morris challenges the reader, and himself as well I believe, to live the outrageous life that God has planned for us instead of settling for any plan we can devise and try to execute on our own. God’s plan is always better and we have to have the faith to trust God that his plan is the best for us. That statement sounds weird but it is how most of us live our lives, thinking we know better than God. This book WILL challenge you – so if you don’t want to be challenged then I suggest you look for something different.

Here are some highlights from my first time through this book.

“In our attempt to make sure our plans are part of His plans, we must seek Him through the pages of His Word and build in time to simply listen in silence.”

“We need a healthy level of fear to keep us dependent more on God and less dependent on ourselves.”

Something I learned or realized for the first time in reading this book, although I have heard and read the story from the Bible many times when Jesus fed the multitude with two fishes and five loaves of bread, is the twelve baskets of food left over was just enough to feed the 12 disciples. I am sure some of them shared theirs with Jesus.

One line that really resonated with me is, “For years, I have felt like I had a book in me…” as I have and still do have this feeling. Maybe this book will challenge to do something outrageous and write it.

If you are looking for a book to challenge you as Gideon was challenged in the Bible to live an Outrageous Life then I highly recommend you purchase the Outrageous life and ‘let God take you from ordinary to outrageous’.

You can also learn more about the author, Dwayne Morris, and connect with him at his web site at MorrisMatters.com .

In case you were not aware you do not have to own a Kindle to read Kindle books. Amazon.com has free Kindle readers you can download to your PC, tablet, or smart phone that allows you to read the books wherever it is most convenient for you.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 10/25/2013

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Speak Life

Maybe I Did Learn Something In Literature Class

If your experience in school is anything like mine was, there were some classes you were required to take because they were part of your core curriculum that you thought or maybe even said, “I will never use this again after I get out of this class.” Does that ring any bells?

Well, the literature classes I was required to take in college such as English Literature and American Literature and maybe a Mythology class or two fit into that category for me. At least I thought they did at the time. You know the ones where you had to read something you didn’t want to read and then interpret it to try to match whatever the instructor thought it meant. I tended to agree with Mr. or Mrs., not sure which, Cliff since I used their notes when available.

Lately though I have been thinking maybe I learned more than I thought I did. I think songwriters today are comparable to the classical literary poets and authors of old studied in school. Maybe I learned to recognize and appreciate artistry when I see or hear it.

If you listen to music on the radio or by other means do you listen to the words of the songs?

I am old-fashioned in that when I get a new release I like to open the CD case and read the lyrics as I listen to the music the first or second time through. As a side note, even if you don’t buy music and get the CD most lyrics can be found online somewhere so you don’t have to buy the CD to be able to read the lyrics.

This ensures I am not mis-hearing any words and helps me to really understand the music. I know the melody and beat of the music is important but the lyrics are just as important, probably more important to me. I am of the old school that believes that what you put into your mind has a lot to do with your mood and outlook on everything you do. If you are listening to negative, degrading words over and over to a beat you will hear them and they will be ingrained in your sub-conscious mind and that will affect your mood and possibly your behavior. You might not even think you are listening to the words, you just like the music, but whether consciously or not your mind is hearing them.

Positive, upbeat is better than negative, explicit

So, whenever possible, I listen to positive, upbeat, encouraging songs. If any music has to have an “Explicit” label on it you will not find it in my catalog of music. I have a similar standard for comedians as well. If you can’t be funny without the vulgar, explicit language then you are just not funny. I wrote about this a while back in Adult? Language.

Because of the way I listen to music a song will often come to mind as I travel through life that speaks to me, encourages me, and makes the journey more enjoyable, or, depending on the situation, bearable.

I will be sharing some of these lyrics from time to time and hope by doing so that someone else might discover the poetry and artistry contained in many of today’s songs in ways you might not have before. It might even introduce you to some new artists that might be an encouragement to you too.

For your consideration, this song was written by Toby McKeehan, Jamie Moore, and Ryan Stevenson.

Speak Life

Some days life feels perfect, other days it just ain’t workin’ / The good, the bad, the right, the wrong, and everything in between/ It’s crazy, amazing, we can turn a heart through the words we say/ Mountains crumble with every syllable, hope can live or die

So speak life, speak life / To the darkest night / Speak life, speak life / When the sun won’t shine and you don’t know why / Look into the eyes of the broken hearted / Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope, you speak love / You speak life

Some days the tongue gets twisted, other days my thoughts just fall apart / I do, I don’t, I will, I won’t / It’s like I’m drowning in the deep / Well, it’s crazy to imagine words from our lips as the arms of compassion / Mountains crumble with every syllable, hope can live or die

Lift your head a little higher / Spread the love like fire / Hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say / Raise your thoughts a little higher / Use your words to inspire / Joy will fall like rain when you speak life with the things you say / Lift your head a little higher / Spread the love like fire / Hope will fall like rain when you speak life with the words you say.

Words like that encourage me and I think they would encourage you too. It is also how I try to use my words. I am not always successful but it is a goal I strive for. This one is not too hard to interpret.

You may or may not have recognized the first author’s name.

He is more popularly known as Toby Mac

Toby Mac - Six Flags - St. Louis - July 24, 2009
Toby Mac – Six Flags – St. Louis – July 24, 2009

and this song comes from his latest release called Eye On It. I am not generally a fan of the hip-hop music genre which is one category his music usually fits into. He started out as a rapper with DC Talk. I was fortunate enough to see him in concert at Six Flags in St. Louis a little over four years ago. I was impressed by the professionalism and artistry of their live show

Toby Mac and DiverseCity – Six Flags – July 24, 2009

as well as the message in the music. There were a few of his earlier songs I did like but I was not really a Toby Mac fan until after this show. My kids were fans and now I was too. I think they were more DC Talk fans though and I am more of a Toby Mac fan.

I became an even bigger fan when I learned he was a father of five and only about 3 years younger than me. I am a father or four. I don’t know about you but when there are things I share in common with others that helps me identify with them more. He is a Christian, husband and father and I am too. We both enjoy good music but that is where the similarities end. I cannot sing, cannot dance or perform in front of thousands of people. However I might one day write a song or two. We’ll see.

This is only one of the songs I really like on this CD. There are many more such as Steal My Show, Eye On It, Unstoppable, Forgiveness and Favorite Song to name a few. If you have never listened to Toby Mac here is your chance. You can go hear and listen to Speak Life now. I hope you enjoy it. Maybe you will find a new artist, author or poet you like too.

Until next time…Speak Life!

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Carried by Angels

Carried by AngelsWhen I decided to read Carried by Angels by Phillip Hatfield I was not sure exactly what to expect. After finishing the book I no longer have to wonder.

A lot in common with the author

I knew he worked for the Ziglar Corporation and that is an endorsement that carries a lot of weight with me. Zig Ziglar has had a positive effect on my life since I first saw him speak on November 12, 1991 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He encouraged and continues to encourage me, as he does millions of others, even after his death last year.

I knew he had a motorcycle accident which resulted in his leg being amputated. Two of my daughters were hit head on by a drunk driver 8 years ago so I thought I could identify with the accident part of his story. If you are interested in that story you can read more at Unlike Any Other.

I knew he was a Christian. I am a Christian so I knew I could identify with that.

I knew he was a real person in that I had heard him speak on the radio and via webinars. I am real person too.

Another book about angels?

So there were several things I knew I could identify with and were all indicators I would enjoy and learn something from this book and Phillip’s journey so far. However, even knowing all that, I was still not sure what to expect – another book about angels? I wondered what his take on angels would be and would it agree with or be at odds with mine?

No longer have to wonder

As mentioned earlier, before reading Carried by Angels I wondered. Since I have now finished the book I no longer have to wonder. I know I was moved by the story, inspired by his attitude, and challenged by the examples of service from Phillip and all those around him, his angels, throughout his life and during his recovery from his accident. I suspect most who read the book will experience similar enjoyment and benefits.

The description of his accident, which became his greatest tragedy and his greatest blessing will draw you in and have you wanting to learn more about what led to this event. The story of the black radio preacher will make you laugh. There is also murder, gambling, business, and dating in this book so there is something there for most anyone.

What I don’t know and what I do

I don’t believe you have to have all of the markers I had in common with Phillip to enjoy, learn, laugh, and cry while reading this book.

I do know if you do get a copy and read it, and do share just one commonality, you are a real person too, you will benefit from having done so. I am glad he heeded Zig’s encouragement and wrote the book.

Get your copy of Carried by Angels today. It might just change your life.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

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Yes, No or Not Now

Need to be reminded

 

Many of you may already know this or maybe not. I guess that is one of the reasons I write. Those that have knowledge on a particular subject, including me, often need to be reminded. Those that don’t might just learn something new or get a new perspective on what they already know. Come to think of it, that is one of the reasons I read too. I like to learn new things and often need to be reminded.

 

Today’s post is about a topic I have known to be true for many years. I remember hearing a sermon on this subject when we lived in Birmingham in the late 1980’s and have heard it many times since then in other sermons, bible studies, and in conversations with others, which is who I normally have my conversations with.

God, Not Listening?

Many people claim they have been praying for something for years and God is not listening to them or must not care about them because He hasn’t answered their prayers.  You might be wondering to yourself,

“I wonder what Garth Brooks has to say about this?”

Well, he did have a song several years ago on the subject of thanking God for unanswered prayer.  I couldn’t help it because of my peculiar mind but every time I heard this song I either said to myself or to anyone who might be with me at the time, “there is no such thing as unanswered prayer” as that is what I believe.

Could our interpretation be wrong?

The prayers of God’s children, those who have accepted His gift of salvation and eternal life, are always heard by our Heavenly Father and always answered. However, we are often not perceptive enough or wise enough to understand the answer.

No

Often, we will get a no answer and believe it can’t be true because we “know” God wouldn’t do that to us so we ignore the answer and continue following our own plan.

Yes

Sometimes we get a yes answer and have a similar reaction. “God couldn’t really want me to do that” so, again, we ignore the answer we didn’t want to hear and forge our own path. That is called free will, which we all have, but along with that we have to accept the consequences of those free will choices we all make.

Not now

Probably the hardest answer to accept is the not now answer. This is because we all live in the “gotta have it and gotta have it now” world. This could be God trying to teach us patience, which is often a hard and painful lesson to learn or He could just be saying we are not ready yet or He has something better in mind.

.

How do I know what God is saying?

 

The way I understand this is our prayers are us talking to God and God’s Word, the Bible, is Him talking to us. Yes, He still speaks to us today every day through His Word. Of course the catch there is you have to be spending time in His Word to be able to hear and discern what He is saying to you. One of the benefits of my new Early to Rise challenge is helping me be much more consistent spending time in God’s Word reading my Bible every day.

Don’t be anxious

It Philippians 4:6-7 we are told, 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV

The peace that is mentioned here is one way I believe prayers are answered. You will not get an audible yes or no from God but He will give you a peace about a decision you are struggling with or praying about.  I have trouble with the not being anxious part from time to time but when the peace comes it is obvious.

I have received all three answers to different prayers in my journey through life so far. What you might see too is sometimes when you are praying and hoping for a yes from God He will give you a not now and you keep praying and the not now will become a no. At that moment it is often hard to understand but when we get past this experience and look back on it we can see how God has directed us to the best path for us – not just a good path – and it might not look anything like our original plan.

Sometimes our prayers change

You might also see that request you were asking for change to a different request as you pray and listen (read His word). This happened for me when my mother was battling cancer, which she did valiantly for 17 years. My prayers went from removing the cancer and healing her, which He did for a time, to removing the pain and cancer permanently by taking her home to be with Him, which He did as well.

Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.

Don’t take my word for whether this is true or not. My words will not always be accurate, not because I am intentionally trying to say anything not true, but just because I am human.

His Word, on the other hand, IS The Gospel Truth. Take His Word for it.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/25/2013

Sheep are dumb

While reading Dr. Kevin Connors post this morning called “The Lord is My SHEPHERD  this morning I was reminded of a truth from the Bible that is a little bit humorous to me as well as being a good reminder of who we are and who God is.  His post is very thought provoking or convicting depending on how your perspective and I recommend you take a look if you have a few minutes.

Sheep are dumb animals.  They don’t do much thinking of their own and tend to follow the crowd even if the rest of the crowd is walking off the edge of a cliff.  My point is they are not very intelligent creatures.  You might be wondering what this has to do with you or me.  Well, here’s the thing.  We, God’s people, are compared to and called sheep many times in the Bible.

English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh She...
English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh Sheep are not renowned for their intelligence, but these really take the prize for stupidity. But on the other hand, they are most unlikely to escape into the road, and there need be no worry about the bottom falling out of the market for lamb. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pause and extra space there was intentional.  Did you get the intended meaning? Sheep are dumb. We are called sheep, so, consequently we are dumb creatures too. This is a little bit humorous to me as I try to not take myself too seriously so I don’t mind being called a sheep.

It is also a very real reminder of just how much we really are like sheep and that we need a shepherd.  Jesus is the shepherd.

If you know Him when you hear him you will know his voice.

I hope you do know Him.  If not, He has a book out that has been a best seller for years.  It is His love letter to you. Get it or open yours and read it.

If you don’t have one you can get one free here at Bible.com for your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can hear His voice and you can know Him too.

The Lord is my Good Shepherd
The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/20/2013