Day 28 - Treat someone!

One of the greatest delights in my marriage has always been when Craig and I go out to eat and we look around the restaurant and pray for the people in the room.  Often, we will tell our waitress to give us the check of another family who is dining at another table.  We tell her not to tell them who picked up their check, but just to let them know that God is taking care of them!  What fun!

Sometimes when I am in the drive through at a fast food restaurant or coffee shop, I will tell the person in the window that I am paying for the car behind me.  It doesn’t cost much ... perhaps less than $2 ... but Oh!  The joy of knowing that I have just blessed some unsuspecting person!

Life is so short and sometimes it is the little things that make the biggest difference.  What extraordinary joy to give for no reason at all!

What blessing to be part of God’s gift giving strategy!

If you are weary today ... give to someone else!  Buy a cup of coffee!

Tip your waitress with a $10 rather than a $5!  If she deserves a $10 ... give her a $20!  There is no end to the pleasure of giving not because someone deserves it but because we serve a God Who knows the joy of 100 fold giving!

How about buying ice cream for all the neighborhood kids when that ice cream truck rings its little bell?

How about inviting that newly widowed woman at church out to Sunday lunch with you and your family?

How about slipping your pastor a gift card to the mall?

How about it?!

And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” - 

Matthew 10:34

“Give, and it will be given to you.  They will pour into your lap a good measure - pressed down, shaken together and running over.  For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” - 

Luke 6:38

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Day 27 - Ask God to Reveal Himself to You in Big Ways and in Little Ways.

Are you brave enough to pray this prayer, “

Lord, would you reveal Yourself to me this  year?  Would You reveal Yourself to me in little ways and in big ways?”

If you will courageously and consistently pray that simple prayer, you will have an awareness of God’s presence and power that has never before been entrusted to you.

You will hear God’s voice in the majesty of a sunset.

You will see God’s smile in the daffodils of spring.

You will know His peace in the rustle of the autumn leaves.

You will feel His hand guiding and providing as you cheerfully give to His Kingdom.

You will know His thoughts as you read His Word.

You will feel His delight in moments of worship.

You will be overcome with His strength when you are at your very weakest.

You will experience His presence even in the storms of life.

God takes pleasure in revealing Himself to His children.  He has only been waiting for you to ask!

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the word of His hands.  Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” - Psalm 19: 1 & 2

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Day 26 - Listen to music!

Listen to worship music every moment that is humanly possible. Fill your life and your home with the music of His presence.  Sing along with the great hymns of the faith and the contemporary lyrics of today.  One of the most important choices that you will make every day of this new year is to spend some time with worship music turned up, your hands in the air and your voice lifted in praise!

Music has been an integral part of my life since I was a little girl.  I learned to sing and play the piano before I could even complete a full sentence.  There is nothing that calms my heart like music.

There is nothing that causes me to dream like music.

There is nothing that excites my soul like music.

Although worship music and the great hymns of the faith are my primary choice of musical preference, I also listen to other types of music throughout my daily routine.

I love to listen to Broadway show tunes!  The music of Rogers and Hammerstein and Irving Berlin never fails to put a spring in my step.

I love to listen to the classical compositions of men like Gershwin and Chopin. Enlarge your musical vocabulary and learn the joy of having classical music playing in the background of your life.

Discover the joy of unlocking an untapped musical arena with a new artist.  Ask your friends and family members if they could suggest an artist that you have never before known.  I have recently found the music of “The Annie Moses Band” and have thoroughly loved this family of Juilliard-educated musicians who give new meaning to the word “creative”!

One of my musical addictions on the computer is to go to

 and create my own station.  I simply type in the name of one of my favorite artists or composers and what ensues is a gold mine of musical wealth!

Fill your home with music.  Fill your car with music.  Fill your shower with music.  Fill your heart with music.  Music is a sweet gift from heaven meant to enrich our lives with a sense of daily delight and creativity.  Don’t miss the extraordinary depth that only music is able to bring to a weary soul.

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Day 25 - Be a better listener than you are a talker!

Press pause.  Take a breath.  Take a deep breath.  Listen to someone else.

When you are listening, don’t be distracted by playing a game on your phone or by picking  at your fingernails.

Look in the communicator’s face and listen to their heart.  It is one of the greatest gifts that you will ever give to someone.

I always try to remind myself that everyone I meet is someone more important than I am.  They have valuable opinions and deep heart pain that needs to express itself.

Often, when meeting someone for lunch, my agenda is to simply have no agenda so that my lunch companion can have the full pleasure of sharing life from his or her point of view.

Anybody can talk long and hard ... but it is a person of pure gold who chooses to listen well.

When you listen with your whole heart, it is then that you may be communicating friendship’s strongest message of all, “You are valuable to me.”

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Day 24 - Be Physically Fit!

We are not all Olympic athletes or marathon runners.  However, we should all do whatever it takes to be as physically healthy as possible.

Your body does not belong to you but it belongs to God.  You are merely the steward of your body until it wears out.  So ... take good care of it!  Make sure that it doesn’t wear our sooner than the Maker intended it to wear out!

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” - I Corinthians 6: 19 & 20.

This is a good question to answer as you contemplate how to treat your body in 2013, 

“What does it mean to glorify God in my body?

If you know that you eat too much junk food, limit junk food to only once a week.  Perhaps you should decide to only have a dessert once a week and commit to eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meat for 6 days of the week.

Healthy food still tastes great!  Instead of eating chips - have popcorn!  Instead of eating ice cream - have a piece of fruit with some yogurt!  Instead of eating french fries - have a baked potato with veggies!

Make a reasonable exercise goal and then stick to it.  It’s ridiculous to commit to working out 2 hours a day when last year you only worked out 2 hours in the entire year!

Perhaps a reasonable goal would be to walk to the mailbox every day in the month of January.  In February, walk to the corner and back every day.  In March, walk a mile for 4 days a week.  Build up and become strong!

God wants to use you so get in tip-top shape for Him and Him alone!

What 3 choices can you make to ensure that you will be healthier in 2013?  Write them down and then commit to them.  You might want to find a buddy who will hold you accountable for this new and healthier life!

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Day 23 - Try to track down an old friend and re-connect with him or her.

Remember your best friend in the third grade?

Remember the little girl who lived around the corner from you with whom you would always ride bikes?

Remember the middle-school friend who came to your house every Wednesday after school?

Remember your fifth grade Sunday School teacher?

Remember the woman who worked at the corner drugstore and would always slip a piece of extra candy in your bag?

Remember the English teacher who taught you how to love the classics?

We all have people from our past with whom we long to re-connect.  There is no time like the present!  Choose one of those folks from your distant past and try to track them down.

It’s easy to do in this age of Facebook, e-mail, twitter and white


There is an indescribable joy in finding someone who knew you when you were young and filled with possibility.  There is a mountain of delight in walking down memory lane with someone who knew you before you had wrinkles!

The years are quickly flying by so don’t let another year pass without finding that one person who made a difference in your life when you were young.

“Make new friends ... but keep the old.  One is silver and the other gold.”

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Day 22 - Once a Week ... Clean Out a Drawer or Closet

Do you have a junk drawer?  Or a messy closet?  If I am not careful, ALL of my drawers are in danger of becoming junk drawers and ALL of my closets are in danger of becoming out of control!

I am “messy” by nature and have to work diligently at obtaining a certain degree of order and neatness in my home.  But, I will tell you, that when I conquer a drawer or a closet ... I feel victorious!  I feel like someone should hang a gold medal around my neck at that very moment!

Every Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, I spend between 30 minutes and 2 hours, cleaning out a drawer or a closet.  What a feeling of accomplishment!  I can open my drawers and smile in satisfaction.  I can actually walk into my bedroom closet and know exactly where things are!

I have discovered that it is truly the little things in life that give big rewards.  I am not ashamed to have people in my home and live in fear of what drawer or closet they will open.  I know exactly where my stapler is ... where my pink nail polish is ... and where my black sandals are safely placed.

Do you need a band-aid?  What size?  I know where they are!

Are you looking for my electric knife AND the cord that goes with it?  Third drawer down.

Do you want to borrow that great gray sweater with the bow on it?  Yep ... I can put my hands on that momentarily!

I can confess to you today ... it is worth every minute that I spend in little tasks of organization.  It will be one of the greatest gifts that you give to yourself in 2013.

Now ... if you will excuse me ... I need to straighten up my pantry!

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Day 21 - Watch Great Movies!

Please ... please ... please don’t waste every Friday night of 2013 watching a movie that is not fit for human consumption!  Set some personal standards for yourself and then live by them!

If a movie is rife with profanity and sexual scenes ... that is called pornography.  Call it what it is and stay away from it!

If a movie is filled with gratuitous violence and profanity ... do not lower yourself to absorbing such a film.

Perhaps this scripture from the book of Psalms should be our standard when it comes to choosing films:

“I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me.” - Psalm 101:3

Here are 12 of my very favorite movies of all time!  I have tried to include a variety of historical films, old films, new films, a beloved musical and even an animated classic!


- Quo Vadis


- The Sound of Music


- Mrs. Miniver


- The Best Years of our Lives


- Chariots of Fire


- Father of the Bride


- Beauty and the Beast


-Anne of Green Gables - Kevin Sullivan edition


- Driving Miss Daisy


- Cheers for Miss Bishop


- Since You Went Away


- White Christmas

Now ... pop yourself some popcorn ... invite a friend or two over ... and enjoy!

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Day 20 - Ask God to give you a Scripture or a verse for the year.  Study it.  Memorize it.  Pray it.  Live it.

When our 5 children were growing up, one of our New Year’s traditions was that every year on January 1, we would give each of them a personal Scripture verse for the year.  My husband, Craig, and I would always pray during the month of December and choose a significant Scripture that seemed to fit each child’s life and what they were currently encountering.

The year that our oldest son, Matt, was a senior in high school, he was assigned this verse, 

“But the noble man devises noble plans, and by noble plans, he stands.” - 

Isaiah 32:8.

The year that our second son, Chris, began leading worship at our church and at his high school chapels, we gave him this verse, “

This I know, that God is for me.  In God whose word I praise, in the Lord whose word I praise; In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.  What can man do to me?” - Psalm 56:9-11

When our young daughter, Joy, was enthralled with the princesses of Disney fairy tales, we gave her this important verse, “

The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is interwoven with gold.” - 

Psalm 45: 13

Ask God to give you a significant Scripture verse for the calendar year 2013.  Ask the Holy Spirit, our Teacher, to reveal to you the personal meaning of your chosen Scripture.

When you go to bed at night, pray the verse over your life.  Memorize this verse during the month of January.  Try to find a framed version of the Scripture or a plaque that you can hang in your home.

God does, indeed, have a will for your life and it is found in His Word.  You will never be the person that God intends for you to be until you start living out His Word.

Ask God to help you live your verse every day of every month in 2013!

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Day 19 - Pray for Divine Appointments!

Have you discovered the joy and delight of praying for divine appointments?!

Every morning, after I have my morning devotional time in the Word of God, I bow my head and simply pray, “Father, Your Word says that You order our steps.  I pray that You would order my steps today and give me divine appointments.  I pray that You would bring significant people into my life today.”

Then ... I see what God will do every minute of that day!

The young mom in front of me in the grocery store line with 3 out-of-control children no longer is a frustration but a divine appointment!

“I have 5 children and remember your season in life so well!  Can I put your groceries on the check-out line for you so that you can help your little ones?”

The postal clerk who is grumpy and out of sorts no longer becomes the object of my criticism of all that is wrong with the world but becomes a divine appointment!

“I just want to tell you that I appreciate you!  I am sure that working here is not always easy but your job is so vital to so many Americans.  I just want to say, “Thank you!”

When your talkative neighbor stops you as you take out the trash cans, you no longer perceive it as an interruption but as a divine appointment.

“Hey!  Just wanted to tell you that I have been praying for you and your son!  We serve a good God and I know that He is in control!”

What divine appointments have we missed due to our busy schedules, misplaced judgement or critical spirits?  We live among people who are desperately in need of a kind word, a minute or two of our time and our intentional prayers.

Praying for divine appointments has always been one of my very favorite disciplines in life!  It never ceases to amaze me what God can do because of this simple prayer.

Now ... if you will excuse me ... I need to go and meet some of my daily divine appointments!

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Day 18 - Spend Quality Time with Older People

Are your grandparents still living?  When was the last time that you called them?  When was the last time that you wrote them a long, newsy, loving letter?

Are your parents still alive?  When was the last time you had them over for dinner?  When was the last time that you sent them an e-mail “just because”.  When was the last time you spent an afternoon just listening to them share their heart with you?

Do you have a favorite aunt or uncle who doted on you as a child?  Are you still finding time to fit that  wonderful childhood influencer into your adult life?

Life is short and the generation that is older than you will soon be gone.  Trust me ... I know.  When they are gone ... you can still visit them.  But the place that you will visit them will be at their resting place in a cemetery.

Visit them now!  Ask them questions about their childhood.

Ask them to sing the songs of their generation to you.

Ask them who they voted for in presidential elections and why.

Ask them about their first love.

Ask them about their best childhood friend and favorite toy.

Ask them what historical event happened during their lifetime that impacted their life.

Ask them what new inventions were impressive when they were young.

If your family members are all gone, then build a relationship with someone older at your church or in your neighborhood.  Take your family to a nursing home on a monthly basis and play checkers with the residents.  It’s easy to do ... just set aside the time and then do it.  Try the third Saturday morning of every month.

Initially, you will mistakenly think that you are spending time with an older person for 


 benefit but it won’t take long before you realize that you are the true beneficiary of a golden friendship.

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Day 17 - Listen to the voices of children ... look into their eyes ... smile at them ... hug them!

There is nothing so miraculous as the voice and insight of a child.

There is something so magical and eternal about the sparkle in the eyes of a child.

When a child breaks into a grin ... it’s as if the entire universe is smiling!

And, to hug a child, is to mold the future.

Assertively and proactively look for children to influence and to love.  Children in the neighborhood ... children at church ... children at the grocery store ... children in a restaurant ... children in your own family ... children in your own home.

You will be richer for your investment in the life of a child.

A day is never wasted when spent in the presence of a little one.

Hold babies.  It is not a waste of time.  It is an investment in the history of tomorrow.  Babies don’t need much in terms of materialism.  All they really come into the world desiring is just for someone to love them and nurture them.

You don’t need to buy children “stuff” or “things” ... but they do ache to make a memory or two with you.

Bake cookies together.

Go for a walk and look for frogs.

Spread a blanket out on the grass at night and count the stars.

Go to the library and read 10 books out loud.

Make an ice cream sundae and share it.

Pack a picnic lunch and go to the park.

Hold the babies in your life.  Rock them.  Sing to them.  It is time that you will never, ever regret.

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Day 16 - Do One Thing To Make Your Home More Beautiful This Year.

You know all of those little things around your house that stare you in the face month after month?  Year after year?
Perhaps for you it is painting the kitchen or cleaning the bedroom carpet.
The paint around our back door needs to be scraped and then freshened up.  This little job would only take me one summer afternoon to accomplish.  Why do I keep putting it off when I see it every single day?!
I also have wanted to redo my home office for several years.  It wouldn’t take a lot.  Just stripping some wallpaper and then choosing a color of paint.
And also ... that tree in the front yard is way overgrown and we need to do something about it!  How many more years will pass before we hire some teen-age boy to come over and help Craig trim it up a bit?
This year ... just do one thing to make your home more beautiful.  It can be either one thing inside or one thing outside.
Perhaps you have long wanted to plant some tulips around your shrubbery.  Do it!
Maybe you have wanted to buy new towels for the guest bathroom.  Do it!
If you have been planning on painting your back deck for the last 3 summers ... there is no time like the present!
I have found that I am a happier version of me when I am living among little touches of beauty.  Drinking tea from one of my grandmother’s tea cups always gives my soul a sense of contentment.  Sparkling mirrors in the bathroom start my day more effectively than dirty, dingy mirrors.
Make a list of a few things that you would like to do to make your home a more beautiful place ... and then choose one of them to do this year!  Who knows?!  You may get really motivated and do more than one!
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Day 15 - Work on One Difficult Relationship This Year.

Let’s admit it.  We all have difficult relationships, don’t we?  People who are like fingernails on the chalkboard of life.  The Cruella deVille’s ... Barney Fife’s ... and Wicked Witches of the West ... in an otherwise Mary Poppins world.

Choose one of these relationships and choose to walk forward in forgiveness and hope when you are dealing with this person all year long.

Reach out to your difficult person with more kindness than they deserve.

Refuse to critique, criticize, judge or belittle this person.  Simply be kind.

Ask them to have lunch with you and listen to their hearts no matter how much self-control it takes on your part.

Ask this difficult and fractious person how you can pray for them this year.  Look for opportunities to serve this person.

Also, look for opportunities to talk in an encouraging way about this person  especially behind their backs.  Always give a good report no matter how they have talked about you.  Do not lower yourself to their standard of behavior but always choose to be the bigger person.

You might need to ask this person to forgive you for being impatient with them or unkind to them in the past.  Humble yourself in this way and expect God to do a miracle!

Your acceptance of them and encouragement toward them may help you to develop a lifelong and healthy friendship!  I believe that some of the most beautiful relationships are forged in the fire!

Don’t give up on this person but keep believing that God will help you to love this difficult person as much as He does.

And never forget ... you may be the difficult person that someone else is praying for!

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Day 14 - Choose a Fruit of the Spirit that is lacking in your life.  Ask for it.  Study it.  Pray it.  Live it!

We all know what our weaknesses in life are, but when was the last time that you made a focused attempt to overcome that weakness?  I have a strategy that just may help you this year.

Read Galatians 5:22 and 23.

Make a list of the 9 Fruits of the Spirit where you can see them every day.

Ask the Lord to show you which of the Fruits of the Spirit you need to focus on in 2013.

When you realize which fruit you need to work on, ask the Lord to fertilize it in your life!  Ask Him every day, “Lord, would you please help the kindness (or patience ... or goodness ... or whatever one it is that you are lacking) grow abundantly in my life?”

Do a word study in the Bible concerning this particular fruit and look up other verses in the Word of God containing your Fruit.

 is a great study tool as you desire to become more familiar with the Bible.

Ask God to give you other particular verses with this word in it and write them down in a journal.  Pray them over your life.  You might want to choose one or two of these strategic verses to memorize.

When you are at the Christian bookstore, look for books that are focused on your particular Fruit of the Spirit.

Listen to the lyrics of songs at church and on the Christian radio station and make a mental note to sing songs that focus on your particular fruit.

You will find that by the end of the year - you will have an abundant harvest of your chosen fruit!  Don’t be surprised when your ability to show this fruit is tested!  Display it with the strength and joy of the Lord!  Let others taste and see that the Lord is good!

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Day 13 - Pray for a Miracle! Have you ever been part of a miracle?!  A bona-fide miracle?!  If not ... have you ever prayed for one?

Evaluate your life right now.  What miracle do you need?  Or, perhaps, what miracle does someone in your family need today?

Begin to pray for this particular miracle on January 1, 2013, and don’t give up praying.  Don’t ever, ever, every give up praying!

Pray for someone to be healed in Jesus’ Name.

Pray for a financial breakthrough that seems impossible.

Pray for a relationship to be healed that has been broken for years.

Pray for a life that has been in bondage to sin and addiction.

Every time that you pause to pray for anything at all, remember, also, to pray for this particular miracle!

Miracles still happen and the reason that they happen is because someone cares enough to pray.

Would the walls of Jericho have come tumbling down if Joshua and the children of Israel had not marched around it?  I don’t think so ...

Would the Red Sea have parted if Moses had not lifted up his rod?  I don’t think so ...

Would Jairus’ daughter have been raised from the dead if Jairus had not asked?  I don’t think so ...

I wonder what miracles we are not experiencing simply because we are not asking for them!

We serve a God Who specializes in the miraculous and we honor Him when we ask Him to do what He does the best.  Never underestimate His power or His desire to move on your behalf.

Pray for a Miracle!

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Day 12 - Go Somewhere that You Have Never Been!

You have never been to Niagara Falls?  Make plans to go in 2013!

Never been to the Empire State Building?  Why don’t you make plans to go this year!

The Grand Canyon?  Never seen the Mississippi River?  How about the State Fair?

I know that some places are out of our budgets and ability to visit - but there is always someplace new that you can go!  I bet that there is somewhere within a day’s drive of your home that you have never been!

The Baseball Hall of Fame!  Nashville!  Vermont!  Mount Vernon!

Vacations don’t have to be expensive or long to be refreshing.  All it takes is a little planning ahead both financially and with time.  Stay with a friend rather than stay in a motel!  Pack a cooler filled with sandwiches and a car-filled with snacks to cut down on food expenses.

Never been to a baseball game?!  GO!!

Never been to the opera?!  GO!!

Never been to the ballet?!  GO!!

Life is short so add an adventure or two to your life and make firm plans to visit someplace that you have always wanted to go.  If you have never had lunch downtown in your city ... you can do that next week!  How about to the state capitol?  Or to the college campus only 2 hours away?

One of the most exciting parts of the trip just comes in planning it!  Let your imagination run wild and determine to fill your mind and your heart with a new adventure or two this year.

Me?!  Where do I want to go?

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Homestead.

Prince Edward Island.

The Holy Land.


Always the beach.  ALWAYS the beach!

Who knows?!  Maybe I will see you there in 2013!

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Day 11 - Give more than you can afford to give.

If you are judging by the health of your checkbook whether or not you can afford to give, you will never give the amount that Jesus requires.  Sincere believers never determine their ability to give by their income, their savings account, their retirement funds or by the state of the national economy.  Sincere believers determine their ability to give by the size of the God that they serve.

“And He sat down opposite the treasury and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.

A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.

Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;

For they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” -

Mark 12:41-44.

How much have you given to the Kingdom of God this year?  What you could afford to give?  Have you given merely out of your surplus?

I believe that tithing to the local church is only where it begins in our commitment to giving.  Everything that I have and own is His!  It is my delight to give my time ... my finances ... my home ... my talents and gifts ... in service to His Kingdom.

If you gave 10% last year - then in 2013 make it your goal to give 11%.  Then in 2014 - give 12%

Or perhaps take a bolder, more audacious, approach to giving:  if you gave 10% in 2012, then give 15% in 2013 and give 20% in 2014!

This is what I know ... you can never out-give the Lord!  God always takes care of givers so give away!  Be a lavish and extravagant giver to the Kingdom of God!  Sing and laugh while you give to His work at this time in history!  I don’t think that it is possible to give until it hurts ... because whenever I give to Him ... He gives more abundantly back to me!  There is nothing painful about that relationship at all!

So ... in 2013 ... resolve to give more than you can afford to give!  After all, you can’t afford not to give!

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