Listen With Your Heart

God simply told me: Comfort Her.

I was disappointed when I realized how much student loan debt I would have if I began college this Fall to pursue a dream. See, I knew that I was supposed to pursue a degree in counseling. I just knew that it was finally going to become a realization. I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to burden my family with student loan debt at my age. I’d be in the nursing home before it would be profitable for us.

Fast forward a month. A certain ministry peaked my interest. After researching it I was struck with the fact that what I would be doing would be a form of counseling.

Fast forward a few more days.

My favorite day of the year was today. Special holiday? Birthday? Nope. It was my annual appointment at that place that all of us ladies just LOVE to go. {insert sarcastic laugh}

Not only was it my favorite day, but I had to miss the second week of my BSF (bible study fellowship) group! Ugh.

That waiting room (the second one that they take you to) was packed. I sat down at the back wall that allows me to face the entrance and other people. You know, to people watch.

This young girl came back from the third place we ladies get to go. The area where we get to stand fully clothed with all of our jewelry on and wait for the magic number to appear. She was alone. She was talking on her cell phone to friends.

I thought: “she’s talking on her phone and all of us are sitting here listening or pretending we were not listening.” Why in the world. People these days.

I began to listen. She was sitting on the seat right beside me. I couldn’t help it.

Then it struck me. She was serious when she said she was about to cry. She repeatedly said it. Among other things. She was alone.

I’m a Momma. It’s the best “job” I’ve ever been blessed with. My favorite job. I’m also a little older than I used to be and I hope a little wiser.

I was filling out my forms. Yes, we are so lucky that we get to fill out the same forms every single time. Do they lose them? Asking for a friend.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you that I have never heard God speak audibly. Like I haven’t heard an actual voice with my ears. Did you know that you can listen with your heart?

Then came that nudge. Could not ignore it. Meanwhile, everyone else can hear what’s going on and can tell she’s upset while looking over or not looking over their cell phones. (I’m guilty sometimes too.)

Today I purposely chose not to scroll through my phone and ignore my surroundings. (Don’t pat me on the back. I normally scroll.) I took my Sudoku book to keep me occupied and I worked on an advertisement for the business.

The voice I heard, the voice I always hear, is a whisper in my head and a stirring in my chest. It is a voice that I cannot ignore in good conscience.

God simply told me:

“Comfort Her”.

I thought about it a second… or two.

Instinctively, I reached over and rubbed her right arm. She just looked at me with tears in her eyes and stopped talking on the phone. I asked her name and asked how old she was. Just a baby herself. I stroked her arm while saying: “It’s gonna be okay. It’s all gonna be ok. This baby will be a blessing. You may not have been prepared for this and you may not have expected this, but God knew. And it’s going to be ok.”

That’s all I said. Then I went back to what I was doing. She went to the room to see the doctor. I never saw her again.

Y’all, I did not have those words prepared. You know, just in case this type of incident ever takes place. Nope. Sure didn’t.

Could have heard a pin drop in that room. I swear that either we were invisible or everyone else was blind or had earplugs in. I pray that I always pay attention to the opportunities around me where I can comfort and encourage others.

I’ve been that person that didn’t see. Oh what blessings I must have missed along the way.

This is NOT about me at all. Whatever you take from this blog post, remember that this message is not about ME. It’s about God. It’s a message about the comfort that he gives us. The comfort that God gives us through the obedience of others.

I’m so thankful for the people in my life that have been obedient and brought me His comfort.

She was all alone. In a crowded room. All alone and terrified.

The instructions were simple.

COMFORT HER

Just two words. No more, no less.

God is The God of Comfort.

How does he comfort us?

Through the obedience of His people. Through the hugs, the prayers, the smiles, the words of wisdom. So many ways. He comforts us. And HE cares! So much so that he will whisper little commands to us. Commands that are meant for bringing HIM GLORY.

There are many times in my life that He has asked me to say or do something that at times seemed so tiny to me. But when I obey… WHEN I obey. I don’t always obey or listen. But when I do, I realize the reason.

Listen with your heart. We all have fallen short. We all still fall short. BUT God. But Grace. But…COMFORT HER.

At the same time, God comforted me. Again.

He reminded me. Again. You don’t need a degree to love people. You don’t need a degree to care. You don’t need a degree to counsel and encourage people. You just need to open your eyes and listen with your heart and use your gifts wherever I place you.

Open your eyes. Listen with your heart. Use your gifts wherever God places you.

I pray that you never feel alone. I pray that you know the love of God. I pray that you use your gifts wherever God places you.

Seeking Him,

I’m Not a Good Christian

I was thinking of how often we use the term : “good Christian“. It’s become so cliche. “She’s a good Christian woman”. “He’s a good Christian”.

Are they even authentically a Christian?

Is there a good Christian? Is there a bad Christian? One implies the other. (Honestly, the term Christian is used incorrectly at times as well.)

There are different levels of spiritual maturity. There are saved and unsaved people, real and fake in regards to people. (“Good”unsaved. “Good” saved. )

Obviously there are different levels of wisdom. Hello. I’m not Rev. Billy Graham. I guess if I had to call someone a good Christian then he would be one of my top picks. But what I’m getting at is the worn out term “good Christian“. Again. I use it too. Not judging.

I don’t know about you, but I do know about me.

I’m not a good Christian. I’m a woman with a real relationship with THE Real GOD. He is good.

I am nothing. Zero. Nada. Without God. Only because of The Holy Spirit within am I empowered. Nothing without Jesus. I’m a wretched woman without my God. He is good.

Jesus in me is good!

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭13‬ NIV)

Me. I’m just a woman who is pursuing holiness and chasing after who God is calling me to be. Christ-like. That’s who and what HE is calling me to be.

Some days I want to hide. Some days I want to just be normal. Or what I want to think normal is. Or maybe “disobedient” is a better word. But some days I want to blend in. Without that constant urge to do more. Because it can be tiring. It can be hard. It can be doggone exhausting mentally. Does that make me a bad Christian? No.

But God.

There’s that BUT GOD again.

He whispers ever so gently. Softly. He holds my hand. He reminds me that HE is good and HE is faithful. HE gives me strength. HE gives me courage and HE makes me want to be brave DAUNTLESS.

He says to not grow weary in doing good. HE says that he’s not finished with me yet. I’m reminded of who HE is and who I am because of HIM.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (‭Galatians‬ ‭6‬:‭9‬ NLT)

Not a good Christian. But a real Christian. A Jesus loving, needy of my Savior, redeemed, unfinished Christian.

Maybe a better way of saying it is that I’m an authentic follower of Christ that is pursuing goodness. Pursuing holiness. Pursuing God.

for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭16‬ NIV)

And the best part is that Jesus loves me. He loves me flaws and all. He loves me in spite of me. And HE can’t love me anymore tomorrow than HE already loves me today. His love isn’t performance based. He loves me and because of that love I’m sure of one thing. All that matters is what my Father God knows and thinks of me. He knows my heart.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭8‬ NIV)

Those who are authentic believers and followers of Christ should be on a journey of pursuing holiness and pursuing righteousness. The only thing we should compare our goodness to is to God. His is the standard of goodness.

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (‭Luke‬ ‭18‬:‭18-19‬ NIV)

Just remember that if you are an authentic follower of Christ, you are unfinished. A work in progress. And so am I. Better than I was yesterday (sometimes). Hopefully closer to who HE wants me to be tomorrow. Growing. Always growing. Not becoming stagnant. Following in the footsteps of my Savior.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NIV)

Until Next Time.

Pursuing HIM,

Heather

{ Linking up with Faith Filled Friday }

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The ME God Sees

Nya didn't think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.
Nya didn’t think she was worthy. But JESUS loves her and she came to believe that on this day.

When did I grow up? I’m pretty sure that I still think I’m like 20 something. Until I look in the mirror. Or wake up with an ache. Or somebody that must be not much younger than me says “Mrs. Heather” or “yes ma’am.” Maybe it’s because in my 40s (41 to be exact), I’m learning to like me. Learning to slow down. Learning to breathe.

Maybe it’s because 41 is honestly better feeling than 25 or 29 or even 35. I’m okay with the bad hair days. I’m okay with the lines .. Well, I’m better than I was at 38 about them. I’m good with whatever you think of me now. More so than I was in my 20s or 30s. I have gained wisdom and life experiences by the grace of God. I’m realizing the beauty of God’s love. I have experienced HIS grace and that is beautiful. I have experienced raw grief and felt HIS LOVE so strong. A love that truly did and does the same for me as HE did for David in the Psalms. A love that lifts me out of the miry pit. A love that restores, renews, and refreshes.

I’m learning to love me because Jesus does.

It’s a process. Learning to embrace ME. The ME God sees.   I mean think about it. {Insert yourself into the ME statements.}

JESUS knows me. The REAL me. AND. HE still loves me!

How awesome is that?!?! Pretty awesome if you ask me. I mean come on. I know I am hard to love at times. Aren’t we all? You know what? That same love that HE has for me, HE has for you. He loves you, the real you, the you that HE created you to be.

He loves you just the way that you are. You don’t have to get all fixed up in order to impress HIM. He made you. God knows exactly what you are capable of through JESUS. In fact, you can’t fix yourself up in your own strength without him. He already knows every single thing about you. AND He loves you still.

His love is deep. His love is wide. His love is grace-filled. Grace upon grace upon even more grace. His love never ends. His love never fails. His love never runs out. His mercies are abundant. He loves you and me more than we could ever even fathom. It is a miraculous love. A true love. A love without borders. One that cannot be matched by any other.

  If you are feeling sad or unworthy or unloved, think for a moment about “The ME GOD sees”. Stop focusing on the negative. And then, believe that YOU are worth it.

You ARE loved. (Read that again.)

20121214-205458.jpg HE loved you so much that HE willingly went to the cross. For you and for me.

It says that even in our sins, he loved us.

Enough so that he let them wrongly accuse him, mock him, call him names, beat him, spit on him, strip him of his clothes, publicly humiliate him,make him carry a heavy cross, hammer very large nails into his body, and hang him up on that cross.

Then, those moments of complete separation from God the Father before he died. ( You can read about it in Matthew 26 and Matthew 27) And then…oh praise GOD! Three days later HE AROSE! HE IS RISEN. HE lives. HE loves, and HE will come again.

But that’s not all. HE didn’t just go to HEAVEN and leave us. HE lives in each one who follows him and believes in HIM. Sound like a fairy-tale? It’s not. The love of JESUS is evident in those who are HIS. In those who are surrendered to HIM. (John 14:1-4,6 see below in Relevant Scripture)

Through HIM alone, we are able to love others. God is love. Period.

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                                    REFLECTION

Oh friends, I have to ask…

DO you know HIM? Does HE know YOU?

We aren’t promised the next breath..much less, tomorrow. If you don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, what are you waiting for? I don’t care what you have been told or led to believe. JESUS CHRIST loves you and desires a real relationship with you. It isn’t complicated. If HE is whispering to you..If you feel a pull or a curiosity and want to know more, please don’t wait. There is freedom and peace and a joy like you have never known that can only be found in a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking that you aren’t worthy of the love that Jesus so freely offers you.

He loves you. God sees you. He sees the YOU that HE created.

To my friends who do know HIM:

Are you living like you believe that HE LOVES YOU? He does.

The ME (you) God sees. That ME (you) is loved. Treasured. Precious. Worthy. 

heatherdawkins.com
heatherdawkins.com

                                                                              RELEVANT SCRIPTURE

John 14:1-4 (NIV) ~ “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

John 14:6 (NIV) ~ Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

1 John 4:10 (NIV) ~ This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Psalm 40:2 (NLT) ~ He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

1 John 4:19 (NLT) ~ We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:8 (NLT) ~ But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.


LINKING UP with 3-D Lessons for Life on Thought-Provoking Thursday

Until Next Time,

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Welcome To My Monday Morning

(One of my favorite verses. I even wear it daily on a bracelet I had made.)
Romans 12:12 ~ Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

As I start my day, I am so blessed to look at this Thankful Tree on my kitchen table and see the leaves of thanks that my family has hung on the limbs. Now… When I first woke up this Monday morning, I wasn’t so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It takes me a few minutes or so to wake up.

Nevertheless …..
Truly a beautiful and refreshing sight to see gratitude in even the smallest things. Makes me want to leave it up all year long. Definitely a tradition that I plan to keep going for years to come.

Traditions are something that I’ve been mulling over for a little while now. For those who are new here, my Daddy died April 1st of this year. Yeah. Man.. Seems surreal to even type that sentence out. We are all still grieving and going through the motions and emotions. Don’t even know what Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years will look like this year.. Except.. Different.

For my mother, it’s even harder. As her daughter, it’s so hard to watch her suffer and being that God gifted me with highly sensitive empathy, I feel the emotions around me times 10. I am a fixer. A doer. Tell me what to do and I’ll try my best to make it better. But, this is something that I can’t make better. For her. For me. For my children or my siblings.

We are all different. Grieving different. And that is OK!

For those of you who have lost a parent or husband or wife, and if you were extremely close to that loved one, you know what I’m saying.

So back to the traditions. Honestly, I don’t know what it will look like. I just know that I want to bring glory to God even in the midst of grief. I know my family has been held in HIS arms for the past 7 months. There’s no doubt that my God has sustained us.

I don’t know how people who don’t know Jesus personally survive.

I know I’m not alone. I know we are not the first family to have been through these kind of hard times.
I know.

I ask you to pray for us. Especially momma. I also ask for ideas and advice on how you may have coped during the holidays while grieving. Seriously.. Share. It may help more people than you know.

Before I go, I want to say a special Thank You to those who have reached out when it wasn’t convenient. To those who have shared their hearts with me about their losses and offered prayer and support. Thank you to those who have encouraged me and been there through it all. You may not even realize that you did anything at all. But you have. Thank you for the prayers most of all.

We know where Daddy is.. So we have peace and comfort and hope. But… Anyone who knows the loss that we feel knows that the grief comes in waves and so if you see someone who is sad or has tears in their eyes or even who is laughing and smiling, know that there is NO TIME LIMIT for grief. There really is no end point honestly. Those who have told you that it ends or goes away.. They either had a different relationship with their lost loved one or they just don’t know what to say. It’s ok. Listen to your heart. I’m listening to mine.

Until Next Time,

Heather

P.S. I am not on social media right now. Sometimes you hear a still small voice during your morning quiet time and you know you must be obedient. I’ll only be on my photography page to post for clients as needed. If anyone needs to reach me you can comment here on the blog, text or call me, email me, or visit 😉 .

I also want to recommend a book that someone I highly admire wrote. I just know that we would be great friends if we lived in the same town! She speaks boldly. She writes her heart out. She doesn’t pussyfoot around. She is Lisa Whittle and the book is : I WANT GOD.
I received the book probably six weeks ago but GOD.. Yes, God knew when exactly I needed to read it. It challenged me and convicted me to seek HIM even more than I already do. Which led to breaking away from social media. My blog will still post to it but I will not be on to check comments, etc. If you want to comment.. Comment here. Love you all! ~HD

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When The Memories Hurt

It’s hard to share personal pieces of my life. There was a time when I was extremely private. I still am even though I share lots of my family and life moments through photos on social media. I share bits and pieces of myself with the world through this space here called Simple Truths. I share in hopes of reaching someone for Christ, and to let you know that you aren’t alone. With that being said, today I am sharing a piece of my heart with you. Raw. Real. Transparent. Not for pity. Only to let whoever needs to hear it know that they are not alone and that there IS HOPE. 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the memories. Sometimes though, they hurt.

Like being punched in the gut. They hurt. Because, I don’t want them to just be MEMORIES. I want to still be making memories with my Daddy.

It’s very selfish. I know.

I should be happy to even have the memories, and I AM. They don’t always hurt. They bring me joy. They comfort me. BUT, sometimes the “wanting to make more memories” hurts.

I am learning to roll with the feelings as they come and go. Like waves in the ocean. I don’t fight them, I just make my way through them.

I have cried more in these past six months than I have my entire 40 years of life.

This is real life. This is a part of life that we can’t avoid. Death. Grief. Loss.

The emotions that come with them are normal as well.

As the holidays approach, the ones that I always spent with my daddy, I can’t predict how I will handle them. As some of you have been there and done that, you know what I mean.

When the memories hurt, I will try to choose joy. When the memories make me ache deep within, I will praise my LORD for the memories and that my Daddy is with HIM and I WILL see him again.

How? Because my Daddy knows Jesus and Jesus knows him. I know Jesus and Jesus knows me. That is how I KNOW that I will see my Daddy again. I know Jesus personally and I KNOW that HIS WORD is true.

John 3:36 ~ Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

John 6:47 ~ Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.

John 10:27,28 ~ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

GOD is good all the time and ALL the time GOD IS GOOD. When the memories hurt, GOD is good. When we experience loss, GOD is good. When we don’t understand life, GOD is good. All the time.

Psalm 37:39 ~ The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

 

 

Until Next Time,

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This world, for followers of Christ, is a pit stop. Just passing through. Heaven is our home. We will face adversity and loss as well as lots of wonderful things on this earth. While we are here we are to bring glory to God and make disciples. Through the good times and also through the difficult times. 

Do you know my Jesus? Is he your Heavenly Father too? Do you think that you have to clean up your act first and then begin your relationship with Christ? You don’t. Jesus wants you just like you are. HE is the only way to heaven. He is the only ONE who can make you righteous. YOU can’t get righteous without HIM. He is the only ONE who can wash your sins as white as snow. Salvation comes from Jesus Christ alone. Life is short. No time like the present to KNOW that you KNOW Jesus and that HE knows you. Jesus is THE source of HOPE.

 

 

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Beach Trip
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Daddy visiting

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Without JESUS

I’ve found that with grief comes moodiness. Some days I’m more irritable than others. Some parts of the day I’m “ok” and at other moments I’m not.

Not many people see those sides of my grief. Or if they do, I don’t even realize it.

Truth is, I don’t know when the low moments will occur. Anything can trigger them. They may last 5 minutes. They may last 5 hours.

I’m learning that it’s part of the process. Riding the waves of grief. Learning to swim in it. Getting better at holding my head above the waters so that I don’t drown in it.

If I drown in it then I’m not shining Jesus like I should.

As the saying goes: “My lifeguard walks on water.”

I’m so thankful for this TRUTH.

Without JESUS I’d surely drown in grief.

I don’t share these truths for pity. I share them so you’ll know that you are not alone. Everyone will experience their own losses.

We are all appointed once to die. Eternal life is a gift promised to all who believe and call upon The Lord to be saved.

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47 NIV)

That’s where my hope rests.
That’s where my source of peace is found.
JESUS.

Without JESUS I’d have no hope.
Without JESUS I’d have no peace.

Grief is real. You never “get over” the loss of those you were closest to. You just don’t. Nor should you. They are a part of you. You just learn to swim in the ocean of grief. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes the water is choppy. You just learn to navigate through and soon it becomes your new normal.

With JESUS it is possible to smile through the tears and shine through the rain.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8, 9 NIV)

Believe me. It’s true. But only WITH JESUS.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

Striving to SHINE,

Heather

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Time Doesn’t Stop For Anyone

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15 ESV)

When I knew my Daddy was definitely dying, (I believe he had coded 2 or 3 times by this point) as we all surrounded him in the hospital, I sang “Jesus Loves Me” and “Zippity Doo Dah” in his left ear. (He used to sing the last one loudly around the house when I was a little girl) .. Softly, as I rubbed his hair and gave him kisses and cried, because I wanted to comfort him and for him to not be afraid; because he was always my comforter. Even though rationally I knew that Daddy was already being held by Jesus.

After the 4th code blue, we knew we had to let him go. He was already gone. Shock was among the emotions I first felt, and denial and anger and overwhelming grief and heart ache.

Heart Ache. Literal aching.

Losing my hero and the first man I ever loved was a change that I wasn’t ready to make and would have never been ready to make. I learned some things about myself while watching my Daddy die. I learned that when choosing fight or flight mode in an awful tragedy that I stand and fight.. Like my daddy. That when someone I love most is in danger that I will stand and fight.

I learned that by God’s grace I can face loss and not be alone. That GOD truly supplies all of my needs. I learned that grief cannot be stopped at a certain time no matter what anyone says or what I’ve ever said to anyone about not staying stuck in a phase of grief. There are no time limits.. Every loss is different.

My daddy and I shared a special bond, and at age 40 I was still Daddy’s little girl. I felt like part of my heart went to heaven with him. Only someone who has had the exact relationship as I did with my Daddy or a similar one will understand.

My mother’s loss is different than mine. My brothers and sister and the children each are experiencing their own loss. Every person who’s life was touched by a loss experiences their own grief. Grief is different for everyone.

When it was over, I asked “is that it? Is he gone?” Just like that.. Everything changed. One breath to the next.

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I knew he was gone was: “what happens when your Daddy dies and you were Daddy’s little girl? Are you still Daddy’s little girl?”

And the answer to that is: “ABSOLUTELY”

Whatever any of us were before in relation to any loss, doesn’t get deleted like a file on a computer just because they no longer walk on this earth with us.

I say all of this to share with you that time doesn’t stop for anyone. You think you will have tomorrow to handle things or to say hello or to go visit. You think that because yesterday you had tomorrow that today you will too. Think again. Nobody is promised tomorrow.

But even though I never went more than a week without seeing my Daddy, I still wish I had visited more. Like one of my brother’s said: “no matter what, we would always want one more time.” One more visit, one more hug, one more “I Love You.”

It’s been 3 weeks, and if you see my family and we are smiling or laughing, it’s not because we are over it. No, we smile because we know Daddy is with Jesus. We smile because God is providing strength and peace because of HIS love and grace and mercy. Undeserved.. But freely given.

My family and I are truly grateful for the love shown to us by so many friends and family members. We are so rich in family and friends. Gifts from God. That peace.. That strength.. Gifts from God.

All men are destined to die once. For authentic believers, that death leads to eternal life. That’s where my hope lies.. That’s where my comfort rests. You, too, can have that hope and peace and assurance as well, if you don’t already. It comes from trusting in Jesus and following HIM.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, (Hebrews 9:27a ESV)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, 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. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30 ESV)

Until Next Time,

~ Heather