Blessings upon blessings

How abundant are the good things that You have stored up for those who fear You,

that You bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in You.”* This verse, Psalm 31:19, is one of the many verses that talk about God’s blessings. God promises to bless us when we trust in Him. He promises to be our refuge and to be our provider and to pour blessings upon our lives. We can expect an abundance of blessings. We can expect breakthroughs. We can expect miracles. All these things should be our reality as we stay in the Lord. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have problems. Many are the afflictions of those who trust in the Lord. We will all have bad times and bad days but the Lord’s blessings will outweigh the bad moments. We can also expect victory when things are bad. We should actually expect that the Lord will bless us in the middle of our difficulties. I am learning to expect blessings upon blessings. I am learning that God’s blessings are chasing after me. I am blessed because of Jesus. I am not blessed because I am nice or because of my deeds. I am a magnet for blessings because Jesus is in me, with me and for me. Blessings can’t stay away from me. That is a promise from the Lord and I am standing on all of His promises. Expect blessings upon blessings, friend. Expect blessings when life is tough and when nothing seems to go your way. That is when you should know that God will make a way for His blessings to come to you.

The first thing we should always remember is that Jesus is the originator of all our blessings. They come from the Lord. They are orchestrated by God. They are brought into our lives because of Jesus’ sacrifice and His resurrection. Jesus made it possible for us. Jesus paved the way. Our faith manifests those blessings for lack of better words. Our faith is the point of contact between our blessings and us. We believe in Jesus and we should expand our faith to the place where we trust that blessings are ours. We should widen our faith and trust that Jesus is blessing us. It is important that we thank the originator of our blessings and we acknowledge Him. I thank the Lord for my blessings. I thank Him more and more for the blessings that can seem minute to other people. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to thank the Lord and to show Him that I appreciate all blessings, big and small ones. I am so blessed because the originator of my blessings is with me all the time. Jesus is King and He is the King of all blessings. Do you ever see Him that way? He can do all things and His blessings will blow your mind. I expect “mind blowing blessings.” I expect big favor and huge blessings. I know who the originator is and I know He is capable of a lot more than I can think.

I am thankful for my family and friends and a lot of my blessings are connected to them. If they do something for me, if they bless me in any way, I thank them but I also know who the true originator of my blessings is. I believe we should always thank people and give thanks for the people in our lives. We should always let them know how much we appreciate them and how much we love them and we should give God the glory for them. My family is a huge blessing in my life and I thank God for them. My friends are a huge blessing in my life and I thank God for them. My job is a big blessing in my life and I thank God for them. I also thank God for the air I breathe, for the water I get to drink, for the bed I sleep in. God is opening my eyes to all His blessings and they are a lot more than I had imagined. It is when we thank God for the small things that He trusts us with even bigger things. With the Lord we go from glory to glory. We climb mountains of blessings and we never have to look down. Let’s look up at the blessings. Let’s speak about God’s blessings in our lives and let’s declare His big blessings. We are blessed, friend. We have Jesus. We have the originator of all blessings. We can’t go wrong when we expect His blessings. Friend, you are going to get blessings upon blessings in your life so start thanking God harder today for His blessings. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you! Expect great things!

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 28:1;  Psalm 31:19*; 2 Corinthians 9:8

Bridging the love gap

It tears me apart when I hear people say they left the Church because of the way they were treated. I know people who were judged, criticized and even ostracized by their church. I can’t believe that a place of worship, a place of love can become a place of hate and a place of rejection. It is not the case for all churches obviously but it happens and I know that it saddens the Lord to see how people are kept from knowing Him. When hatred, division and seclusion are present in the church, faith is damaged, love is harmed and hope is destroyed. We are to walk in love. What we are told to do is to love God and love others like ourselves and not to just love God and judge others because of our own thinking, interpretation, feelings and bias. God is love. There is no way around it and there is nothing we should change about that truth. We can’t represent God correctly if we subtract His biggest trait from our representation. Love is His biggest trait and we should portray Jesus with love. It is love that attracted me to God. It is love that spoke to me. It is love that made sense to me. It is love that healed me and that still heals me. It is love that works with faith. Faith without love is useless. I don’t want to have useless faith. I want faith that moves mountains. That faith is powered by the love of the Lord. 

People are leaving the Church or not joining the Church because of the lack of love and welcome they experience. We are the Church, friend. We are the ones who should welcome everyone and who should be vessels of love. It is time we bridged that gap of love. It is time we became the warriors of love that will love no matter what and no matter who the people are. We have a role to play. We are imitators of the Lord and representatives of the Lord. Let’s put all politics aside and focus on Jesus. Let’s focus on who He is and let’s present Him to the world the best way we can. When we walk in His love, we walk in power and our faith is strengthened. A lot of us are working on our faith and I think it is crucial but the love walk is the most important walk. When we get filled with God’s love, everything else falls into place. Love is the way through everything. Love is the invitation many people have been waiting for. Love is the hope that lights the hearts of the world. We can ignite so many hopeless hearts by giving people love. When we use the flame of love to interact with people, we can change the world. I see so many unlit candles around me and I understand that God’s love can give those people their flame back or can introduce them to a joyful light.

There is a gap that needs to be bridged and like I said it is up to us to make that happen. My prayer is that we change our focus and prioritize God’s love. I pray that we nurture His love so we can spread it all around us. This shouldn’t just take place in the church. The love gap needs to be bridged in our everyday lives. There is always someone who needs love. There is always a broken heart that needs a hug and a nudge from Heaven. There are many lost souls that would love to be touched by love and that long for Jesus’ love. I am learning all the time about God’s love. I am learning how to get rid of my preconceived notions and how to delve into the love of God. I am learning that I have to put myself on the back burner and let God’s love be the fire that I use to interact with others. I am learning that my faith takes a hit when love is out of the picture. I am learning that God wants us to love unconditionally and it is possible when we stay in Him and we remain in His presence. I am learning that love is the answer to all my problems and it is the answer to everyone’s problems. I am learning that without love, I am nothing. I am learning that Jesus is the King of love and without my King I am poor in all my ways. Let’s bridge the love gap, friend. Let’s give hope to people and let’s shower them with love. Everyone deserves God’s love. Everyone! May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Proverbs 17:17; Luke 6:31; John 15:12

Into the ring of fire

When trials and tribulations are all around you, you might feel like you are in a ring of fire. You might feel like everything is burning around you and you have. No way of getting out. You might think that all the good things in your life are going up in flames. Have you ever been in that ring of fire? I am pretty sure that the answer is yes. I have been in that fire many times and the truth is that I am going to be there again. I am not being pessimistic. I am quoting the Bible. In Psalm 34:19, we are told that “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.” Jesus Himself said that in this life we would have many tribulations. We are righteous and we are children of God and we are not immune to problems. That ring of fire is real but it doesn’t mean that we are going to burn up. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be relief and we won’t come out of it.

What we need to do is bring Jesus into that ring of fire. You are probably thinking that Jesus is always with us and He is but our faith has to reach out to Him and help us connect to Him. Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all. It is because we believe that the Lord delivers us. We can easily load up our thinking with all sorts of negative thoughts that distance us from Jesus who is right there with us. We can easily go with the fire and let our hope burn and crash. We have to bring Jesus into that ring of fire and declare that our Lord won’t let us burn. Our Lord is going to deliver us from that fire and we are going to make it. Jesus said that He had conquered the world. That is the truth we need to bring into that fire. That is the wind of change we should expect.

When the three Hebrews were in the fire, the Lord was with them. They didn’t burn. They didn’t perish. There were four people in the fire and not three. Friend, you are not alone in the fire. There are two of you. You are in the ring of fire with the Lord. Bring praise into that ring of fire. Start dancing in the fire. Start celebrating Jesus. There is no better place than wherever you are to celebrate the Lord. Lift up your hands in the middle of the fire. Sing praises and give thanks to the Lord even in the fire. That ring of fire will go away. The fire will stop burning. Your problems will get resolved. You are not going to be in that ring of fire forever but be sure to bring all your A game into it. By “A game” I mean the powerful combination of prayer, praise and thanksgiving. Don’t be intimidated by the fire. Hold on to Jesus in the fire. Hold on to the promise that the Lord is your refuge and an ever present help in times of trouble. That ring of fire is a time of trouble. The Lord is protecting you. Stay strong. Stay in faith. You are going to come out of the fire. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 34:17; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Peter 4:12-13

Whatever it is

“Whatever it is that comes my way I can deal with it because of Christ that is in me.” This is one of the confessions we should make every day. We should have the confidence that no matter what, we will be more than ok. We should have the confidence that greater is the Lord that is in us than the devil that is in this world. We should have the confidence that no matter what comes our way, God will make a way. We should have the confidence that no matter what happens, God is in control and He will make great things happen. 

Come what may, God is still God and He is greater and better than anything we will ever deal with. Anything we will ever deal with. He can do the impossible. He can do more than we expect. He can give us exceedingly more than we imagine. He is more powerful than all the bad circumstances in our lives combined. Whatever is it, friend, God is going to help you, bless you and protect you. 

Today you need to take a stand for God and declare with boldness that whatever comes your way or whatever is in the way now is not greater than God. Declare today that your Lord Jesus Christ will always be your refuge and your protection. Nothing is going to stop God from blessing you. I love saying that. I love saying that nothing and no one is capable of stopping God from blessing me. This means that even in the middle of a crisis God can bless me. Even when I am not feeling well and I am distraught, God can bless me. 

My feelings and my emotions are not going to prevent God from acting on my behalf. My bad circumstances are no match for my God. He makes me rise above it all and He keeps me high above it all. My God is stronger. My God is invincible. Adopt those declarations and stand firm on your faith. Stan firm on Jesus and you will never fail. Stand firm on Jesus and you will never perish. He came to give you an abundant life and He came so you wouldn’t perish. No matter what is happening, God is working on something very good for you. Rejoice, friend. God has what you need and He is going to deliver it to you. 

Whatever it is that is in the way now will not last. God will make sure that you get out of that tribulation and you will win that trial of life. God is your advocate and your Supreme Court judge. He pleads in your favor and He adjourns the court once everything is good and you are free. Jesus came to set the captives free and that includes you today and tomorrow. Those problems you are facing can be like a prison but you don’t have a life sentence. Jesus has the key to open that cell and set you free. Jesus is the key. 

Like Paul and Silas, you can praise your way out of that jail as you keep your eyes on Jesus. You are going to make it no matter how bad thing look and feel. Freedom should be your expectation. Freedom is rightfully yours in the name of Jesus. Remember that greater is the Lord in you than the negativity and the evil that is confronting you. God always wins. God won. You are going to be more than fine. Whatever it is that is attacking you shall not prosper. Those weapons of the enemy are not going to destroy you and they are not going to take you out. God has a plan. God has the best plan. God has the power to deliver you from every single circumstance. Meditate on that and learn to believe it all the time. Great things are coming in the name of Jesus. Stay in faith. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Romans 8:31; Ephesians 6:12-13; 1 John 4:4

For the hopeless

If you are hopeless today, this message is for you. We all get to a point where we find ourselves hopeless. No matter what we try, nothing seems to work. No matter where we turn, no help seems to be coming. I have been in the hopeless zone a few times. One time I was the king of hopelessness. I didn’t want to hear from God or to hear about God. I closed that door. I closed my heart. I closed my faith. I shut down my faith because I couldn’t understand why what was happening was happening to me. I had been a devoted Christian. I thought I was doing all the right things and going through ordeals was very unexpected. My trials felt like a slap in the face of my faith. It was as if I was being punished for being a Christian and the punishment was strong. I didn’t know what to do and what to think. I was very hopeless. In my mind staying in bed was the solution. However, my spirit had a different idea about how to deal with the situation and God was not out of the picture.

When we get our spirit used to the Word of God and we give it spiritual injections through prayer and praise, it will not let us down in times of crisis. The other great thing is that the Holy Spirit is in us since we are believers. Now, that doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit is going to take over and push us in the direction of faith when things get hard. He is gentle and He gives us little reminders. When I was very hopeless, I didn’t turn to the Holy Spirit right away but my spirit knew I could do more. My spirit knew there was more. My heart knew that God could take me, little hopeless me and change me. I needed a change of heart. I need a dose of God’s love and God’s hope. I said a quick prayer. I didn’t feel like it. I forced myself. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary. If you are hopeless today, say a few words to God. Be very honest. Be honest about how you are feeling and what is going on through your mind. Don’t sugarcoat it. Let it rip. It is a good way to give it to God. Present yourself to God as the human hurting and aching being that you are. He will take it from there and help you out.

God is after your heart, friend. He wants you to express your heart and He wants you to turn to Him. Turning to Him even in doubt is a step in the right direction. I was hopeless but He put the hope back into my heart. How? I vented and prayed. I also told Him that I knew He was still God and that His hope wouldn’t let me down. Did I believe it? My heart did but my mind didn’t. At least I declared it and the more I said it, the more hope came into my heart. What I did was send God’s words back to Him. I listened to myself speaking His Word. Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. In your hopeless season, friend, listen to the Word. Listen to yourself speak the Word. It will change your perspective and it will change your mind. The Word of God is the Word of the King of hope. His Word has power. His Word has power to bring back hope and to change your circumstances as you are being changed on the inside. Hopelessness is a bad feeling but faith is above all feelings and can sweep away all hopeless thoughts and emotions. Jesus, the author of your faith will take care of anything that is bringing you down now.

Friend, hope never leaves. Events and circumstances blind us to the truth of God’s hope. Trials and tribulations set a bridge between us and hope. God can bridge that gap so talk to Him. Talk to Him in the middle of your despair. He will assist you. He will do something for you. He will strengthen you and bless you. Not feeling hope and not having hope doesn’t mean that it is not there with you. It is and so is Jesus. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Stay encouraged! May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Colossians 1:27; Ephesians 1:18; 1 Peter 1;13

10 nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 236)

There is a love that transcends all understanding. A love that is unconditional and unrestricted. It is the love of God and it is for you today and every day. God loves you without limits!

Trust God in all yours ways. He will never let you down. He will carry you and help you. He will keep you safe and keep you well. Put all your trust in Him!

Take heart! Jesus has overcome the world. Your trials and your tribulations are not too difficult for Him. He already won. Let faith, peace and patience bring the victory to you.

God won’t leave when life gets hard so stay with Him. He will hold your hand. He will hug you with peace and He will shower you with His love. Don’t give up!

Don’t visit prayer from time to time. Live where prayer is. Dwell in the house of the Lord. Talk to Him and you will hear Him all the time. That is what God meant when He said you should pray without ceasing!

Don’t let yourself be exploited by fear. Fight back with the Word of God. It is a weapon that tears down fear, doubt and worry. Keep it close to your heart and fill your mind with it.

God can do the impossible. He is not limited by human understanding and by physical restrictions. He can do anything anytime. Believe in the God of the impossible!

There is going to be restoration in your life. God is going to fix what is broken, mend your heart and wipe your tears away. A new day is coming. Stay encouraged. God is going to do something amazing for you!

Jesus is glorious. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is King and yet He loves you and He treats you like a prince and a princess. Praise Him!!!!

Desire more of God. Want more of God. Seek God more. Talk to God more. Listen to God more. Spend more time with God. Follow God more and you will have more peace!

Suggested reading: Luke 6:38; John 1:16; 3 John 1:2

Your strength in your weakness

Some days we are stronger than other days. We all have moments of weakness. We are human and it is normal to go through weak times. For me it is when I haven’t slept enough or when I haven’t eaten enough that I experience moments of weakness. When it happens, there seems to be holes in my faith and it is easier for me to bend under pressure. However, God says that in our weakness He is our strength. Take a moment to meditate on what that means to you. Every time you are weak, God is still strong. Every time you have holes in your faith, God is still God. Our weak moments don’t change God. God changes us during those moments. He remains steadfast and He remains faithful. God is God all the time. It is a very simple and yet a very powerful reminder. Your God is God almighty 24/7. If you are experiencing weakness today, I want you to remember that God is your strength. Your weakness doesn’t define who you are. You are still a child of God and God defines who you are. You have all the strength you need to face today. You have all the strength you need to stand and to keep going. Don’t look at how weak you are feeling. Look at how strong the Lord is. 

Stand on 2 Corinthians 2:10. It says “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul wrote this chapter and he was under a lot of pressure. He was persecuted and he faced a lot of adversity. He knew what trials and tribulations were all about. He had problems and difficulties all the time. Yet he knew that when he was weak, he was strong because Jesus was his strength. Jesus was the power behind him. Jesus was the fuel that kept his engine going. Jesus was the cornerstone on which he was built. Jesus was the Savior that gave power to the powerless. Paul wasn’t strong because he had a special power. He was strong because he had Jesus and during those hard times, Jesus was still with him. You have Jesus, friend. He is your strength when you are weak. Just like Paul, declare that when you are weak you are strong. Declare that Jesus is all the power you need. Declare that you are going to make it. Declare that you are made strong by the One who can do anything. 

Problems can make us sick and they can make us sad. Problems can take your peace away and give you internal turmoil. Problems can weaken your faith and leave you empty. You are not going to be able to avoid problems but what you can do is face them with Jesus. Face your difficulties with the problem solver. Hand your problems to Him right away. Don’t stay in a state of perpetual wondering and doubt. Don’t let your weakness get the best of you. Give your weakness to the Lord and He will make things better. Keep turning it over to God. Do it multiple times. Keep doing it until your faith in His strength is stronger. He is there with you and in you. His strength is there. What you need to do is unearth it and let it take over. Let it take over your mind and take over your heart. You have the power of God in you and trust me, His power is sufficient. His grace is sufficient. His love is sufficient. I declare that Jesus is my strength when I am weak. Make the same declaration. Don’t let the enemy dominate your thinking with his lies. You know the truth. The truth is that when you are weak, God is still strong and He keeps you strong. You are blessed and you are favored, friend. This hard season will pass and you will go through it with the power of God. Stay strong! May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Exodus 15:2; Isaiah 41:10; 2 Corinthians 12

Keep your hopes up

“Keep your hopes up” is what I told a friend yesterday after her flight home got canceled. It is not the kind of thing we like to hear when something bad happens. When something bad seems final, we don’t think that anything good can come out of the situation. There is no hope on the horizon and all we think about doing is packing our stuff and going home so to speak. When Jesus died on the cross, His suffering and His death seemed final. There was no hope in sight. All that could be done was bury Him. He was put in a tomb but the tomb could not stop Him. Death could not stop Him. Jesus came to give a message of love, of hope and of salvation. His message is still alive today. No one and nothing can stop it. His message says “Keep your hopes up.” It is not a direct message but it is implied. When all seems lost, keep your hopes up. It is not the end. The tomb can’t keep your breakthrough, your blessing and your miracle from coming to life. Keep your hopes up, friend. Something great, something better is coming.

Jesus preached to huge crowds talking about His Father, talking about love and giving every person in attendance hope. He declared that salvation was here. He called Himself the Son of God. The One who can save the world. He also talked about how nothing was impossible to the one who believes in God. You are saved and you believe in God. Nothing is impossible. God can do the impossible for you. Even when your circumstances are telling you to give up, you should continue to hope. Keep your hopes up and let your faith do the talking. Talk back to the doubts. Talk back to the circumstances. Claim your blessings in the name of Jesus. Speak hope into every situation. Jesus was not defeated on the cross. You are a believer in Jesus so you are not defeated. Speak hope against failure. Maintain a healthy level of hope in your everyday life. Hope works with faith. It is not bothered by circumstances. It relies on Jesus the author of our faith and according to Him, hope is alive and well.

There is hope, my friend. There will always be hope. I know that at times it is very difficult to keep going and to keep believing. There will always be a good reason to keep believing and to keep hoping and that reason is Jesus. When all is said and done, Jesus still has the final say. He said that nothing was impossible to God and that is final. Say it to yourself. Repeat it to yourself. Keep your hopes up. Your Savior can turn anything around. It is not over until the Lord says it’s over. Hope is here. Something great is going to take place in your life so hold on to the King of hope. Jesus will make it come to pass. Stay strong. God’s got you! Keep your hopes up! May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Mark 16:15; Luke 4:43; Ephesians 2:8

God is looking out for you

God is looking out for you, friend. He is always on the lookout for you. He knows what’s ahead of you. He knows what’s around you now and He always knows what’s best for you. Rely on Him. Depend on Him. He will never mislead you or misguide you. There is no one more reliable than the Lord. Today I want to encourage you to trust that God is always looking out for you that and He has your best interest at heart all the time. He knows everything there is to know about you and about your life. There isn’t a step He hasn’t seen. There isn’t a second He hasn’t seen. Every second and every minute of your life are no surprises to God. He is watching out for you and He knows what you should do and how you should live your life. Because He is looking out for you, He left you an amazing Book. He gave you the Bible so you could understand His heart better and so you can navigate through this life with His help. He also gave you the Holy Spirit who can always guide you and direct you. God is not leaving you without any resources. He has all the supplies, resources and help you will ever need. 

God is looking out for you and this means that He has a plan that is excellent for you. You don’t need to know all the details. You just need to know that there is nothing to worry about and nothing to fear. Life will give you reasons to panic but God is giving you a reason to believe and to stay strong. His reason is that He is looking for you and He will always be your refuge. You are surrounded by His goodness. He has placed angels around you and He is keeping an eye on you. Keep an eye on Him. Stare at His love and embrace His protection. God so loved you that He gave Jesus in your place so you could have life and have it more abundantly. God is looking out for you and even when things seem to be out of order you have to remember that He will put everything back in its place. His order is not necessarily the order of the world. His order is the best order and it reflects how much He cares about you.

I have made decisions that seemed to be great until I fell flat on my face and realized that I had made a mistake. Did God leave me in those moments? He never did. He knew that I was going to make a mistake and He always knew how He was going to fix it. He is many steps ahead of me. As a matter of fact, He has seen all the steps. He is never taken aback but He takes back what the devil has stolen. God will make sure that you get double the amount that was taken from you and more. He will replenish your life and provide more than you can imagine. He has a whole list of blessings for you for every day and for every situation. When I started looking for blessings in my circumstances, I started understanding that the Lord is always looking out for me. People can let you down and they can forsake you but the Lord never will. Trust that what He is doing for you is the very best. You might not comprehend it at first but God’s logic defies all understanding and it is the best logic. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 37:23-25; Psalm 121:8; Hebrews 13:5

10 nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 235)

God is always there. Present in every corner. In the middle, above and under. Around when no else is. Involved in every situation and loving in every circumstance.

Don’t give up. There is more to come and it is going to be amazing because the God of the amazing is your God. Trust Jesus. Rely on His love. Great things are coming. Stay encouraged!

If you express fear all the time, you pitch a tent of worry. That tent is not a refuge. It’s not a place where you can find rest. Always speak faith against the fears and you will build a stronghold of hope!

God’s beauty is all around you and He is always with you. Stay in peace. The creator of the universe is your Savior!

God is an everyday God. He doesn’t take breaks from your life. He doesn’t hide and He doesn’t ignore you. Keep your eyes on Him. You are always on His mind!

God is visible even when your faith is invisible. Your blurred vision doesn’t mean that God stops being God. Faith shows you God but remember that He doesn’t need your faith to be God!

Jesus is here to stay. Hope is here to stay. Love is here to stay. Blessings are here to stay so stay in the moment with Jesus and keep on believing Him and trusting Him. He won’t let you down!

There is nothing to worry about and there is nothing to fear when Jesus is your Savior. There is everything to rejoice over and everything to look forward to when Jesus is your Savior!

God will not break your heart. God will not hurt your feelings. God will not disappoint you. God will not tear you apart. God will always love you, soothe you, support you, heal you, help you and bless you. That is the kind of God He is!

Go out of your way to be more like Jesus in all your ways! Go out of your way to love, bless and help others. Go out of your way with Jesus who is the only way!

Suggested reading: Acts 15:11; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Corinthians 12:9