Category Archives: Faith and Spirituality

woman with hands bowed in prayer

The best meal you can eat

 

“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.  Matthew 5:6 CEB

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

 

 

Matthew 5:6 Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness

 

 

The Upper Room® is a global ministry dedicated to supporting the spiritual life of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully.

From its beginnings in 1935 as a daily devotional guide, The Upper Room has grown to include publications, programs, prayer support, and other resources to help believers of all ages and denominations move to a deeper level of faith and service.”

Copyright 2018 The Upper Room

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This verse is from a Bible passage called the Beatitudes, Matthew 5: 3-11, which starts  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. This version, The Common English Bible,  uses “happy”, while most others use “blessed” as The Message does

 

 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. Matthew 5:6, MSG

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

The Contemporary English Version puts it a different way, making God the subject of the sentence.

“God blesses those people who want to obey him more than to eat or drink.
They will be given what they want!” Matthew 5:6 CEV

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

 

And in Spanish, the Nueva Biblia Viva reads

“¡Dichosos los que tienen hambre y sed de justicia, porque quedarán satisfechos! “Mateo 5:6 NBV

© 2006, 2008 por Biblica, Inc.® Usado con permiso de Biblica, Inc.® Reservados todos los derechos en todo el mundo.

THE BEST MEAL YOU WILL EAT-WWW.WATERCRESSWORDS.COM-

 

What do these verses mean to you?

Using this guide from The Upper Room, try praying these Scriptures- use one of these versions, all of them, or others that you prefer.

“When we Pray the Scriptures, we begin by reading a few verses of the Bible. We read unhurriedly so that we can listen for the message God has for us there. ” Continue reading at 

Praying the Scriptures

man with hands folded in prayer

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In her memoir, FIRE ROAD- the Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness and Peace ,  author  Kim Phuc Phan Thi  wrote,

“One of the passages that never failed to comfort me when I was feeling especially down was the Beatitudes, the  list of blessings Jesus proclaimed to his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount.”

Please continuing  reading at my related post

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

 

Thanks for joining me to read and explore these words of faith, hope, and love and for helping me share the HEART of health. 

 

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope and love in cursive letters

another inspirational graphic from the Lightstock.com collections of stock images, an affiliate link

 

 

 

 

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two women sitting on the floor with open Bibles

Living and giving lavishly

 

Exploring the Golden Rule from the Sermon on the Mount

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Matthew 7:12 ESV

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Matthew 7:12 NIV

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

LIVING AND GIVING LAVISHLY-www.watercresswords.com- exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

 

 

The Golden Rule-from the late Reverend Billy Graham in his book

The Journey-How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World 

“How different our lives would be if we actually practiced this!

Instead of ignoring people or treating them harshly, we’d handle them with respect and kindness.

Instead of manipulating them for our own purposes, we’d help them achieve what is best for them.

We’d also try to see life through their eyes. Most of all, we’d point them to Christ, for the greatest gift we can offer anyone is His salvation.”

(from Chapter 21-When Others Disappoint)

 

also by Billy Graham (these are affiliate links used to help this blog share the HEART of health)


Life Wisdom: Quotes from Billy Graham

Life Wisdom: Quotes from Billy Graham


The Enduring Classics of Billy Graham

The Enduring Classics of Billy Graham

Understanding the Golden Rule from desiringGod.org 

“The word so indicates that Jesus’s teaching is his conclusion from what he’s said previously. The entire Sermon on the Mount might be in view.
But it may be that Jesus is thinking more specifically of what he has just said, in Matthew 7:7–11.
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’
There he tells his followers that God is their loving Father and always gives good things to those who ask.
Therefore, because God is so generous to us, we’re to be lavishly generous to others.
The Golden Rule is glorious overflow.”
Read  the rest of Stephen Witmer’s  article at desiringGod to find out

Three Things Jesus Didn’t Say

 

 

Does this make you think differently about the Golden Rule, what it means, and how it plays out in your interactions with others?

Who has been “lavishly generous” to you?

Who have you helped to “achieve what is best for them”?

Please share your reflections , share this post, follow this blog for more watercress words of faith, hope, and love.

Dr. Aletha 

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles

These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

 

BROKEN ARROW PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

Kristin Chenoweth, Oklahoma’s sweetheart, a little bit WICKED

A review of

A LITTLE BIT Wicked:Life, Love, and Faith in Stages

a memoir by Kristen Chenoweth

Like me, Kristin Chenoweth was born and raised in Oklahoma; unlike me, she is an award winning singer and stage, screen, and television actress.  She is loved and admired here in our home state, being an inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

The Performing Arts Center in Broken Arrow

flies the flags of Oklahoma, the United States, and Broken Arrow.

I have been to the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center in Oklahoma where she conducts an annual Broadway Bootcamp.  But I didn’t know much about her until I listened to the audiobook version of her memoir A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages, read by her. Now I almost feel like we are best friends.

The Kristin Chenoweth Theatre sign

Sign in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center -the theatre bears her name

From the opening paragraph, Kristen is candid, no nonsense, transparent, and hilarious. She’s one of those “you never know what she’s going to say next” people and you don’t want to miss  any of it. She is just as up front sharing her failures as she is celebrating her successes.

This part of the country is referred to as the “Bible belt” and Kristen admits to reading and believing it. So don’t be surprised when she mentions and even occasionally quotes from the Bible in her memoir. Like when she talks about the circumstances of her birth.

Kristen’s faith and family

Kristen was adopted at birth by a couple who had one child but were unable to have more. She describes herself as the product of “forbidden love.” Her biological mother was an unmarried flight attendant who became pregnant. Instead of  abortion or  raising a child alone, she opted for adoption. Kristin joined the Chenoweth family soon after birth.

Her adoptive parents have loved her and supported her career and she is immensely grateful to them.

Rather than being angry or bitter, Kristen is grateful to this woman who she says was kind enough to “let me go”. To illustrate, she tells a Bible story from the Old Testament about the wise King Solomon. It goes like this.

One day two women (prostitutes in some Bible versions) came to King Solomon,  and one of them said:

“Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.

One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. 

Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me.

In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.”

 The other woman shouted.

“No! He was your son. My baby is alive!”

The first woman yelled.

“The dead baby is yours. Mine is alive!”

They argued back and forth in front of Solomon,  until finally he said,

“Both of you say this live baby is yours.  Someone bring me a sword.”

“Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.”

The baby’s mother screamed.

“Please don’t kill my son. Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.”

The other woman shouted,

“Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.”

Solomon  pointed to the first woman saying,

“Don’t kill the baby. She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.”

Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.

From 1 Kings 3

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

She compares her birth mother to the woman who loved her child so much she would rather lose her than see her die. She believes,  “The ultimate test of love is letting go.”

Kristin won’t try to find her birth mother, refusing to intrude  on her privacy. She hopes she is happy, has a family, and knows how blessed Kristen’s life has been.

Kristen’s personal life

Unlike many entertainment celebrities, Kristen doesn’t seem to have any skeletons in her closet; she has avoided problems with alcohol, drugs, abusive relationships,  financial problems, or other scandals. 

Kristin makes living with  Meniere’s Disease sound like a sitcom. Meniere’s causes dysfunction of the inner ear, resulting in sudden, unpredictable, debilitating attacks of vertigo(dizziness),  nausea, and vomiting. Episodes resolves after a few hours or sometimes days.

There is no cure for Meniere’s except a radical ear surgery which might leave her with hearing loss. As a professional singer she doesn’t want to risk that, so she copes with the condition with humor and an unwillingness to let it stop her from fulfilling her work commitments.

Memorabilia from Kristin’s career on display at the theater in Broken Arrow

Kristin has her serious side, evident as she describes singing at her beloved grandfather’s funeral, and supporting her mother through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

She sometimes feels caught between  the Christian community which criticizes her liberal social views and her friends with unconventional lifestyles who are turned off by her uncompromising Christian witness. As she puts it, she wants to love and help everyone in the same way Jesus did; she doesn’t want to take sides or exclude people just because they are different. 

Kristen’s gown from her Broadway show is displayed in

the Performing Arts Center lobby

Kristen’s performing career

Kristen has and still does perform on the stage, movies, and television, and records albums. She won a Tony award as Sally Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

an evening gown on display next to a photo of Kristen Chenoweth

Kristen receiving her Tony Award, photo and her evening gown displayed in the theatre lobby

I hope you will read, or better yet listen to Kristen’s memoir.

She may be “A Little Bit Wicked”, but I think you will love her as much as we do here in Oklahoma.

A Little Bit Wicked

These are affiliate links which support this blog in sharing the HEART of health.

Enjoy Kristin’s singing

Listen on Apple Music to COMING HOME

Buy on the iTunes Store THE ART OF ELEGANCE  album

And find it on Amazon

Thanks for joining me to meet Kristin Chenoweth and see a little bit of our home state.

If you have enjoyed this, please share and follow this blog. See you next time.

Dr. Aletha

 

WICKED- cover of a program from the musical

After hearing how wonderful it is, I finally saw the touring production of WICKED and it is every bit as “wicked” as everyone says.

Although Kristin no longer performs in it, other actresses bring Glinda and Elphaba to life with singing, non-stop action, and gorgeous costumes.

It may be based on a children’s story, but WICKED is a touching saga of love, friendship, betrayal, courage, and forgiveness. Don’t miss it if you have a chance to see it.

You can stream the WICKED album free with Amazon Prime (affiliate link).

 

 

Do you wonder why Kristin’s home town is named Broken Arrow? Find out here.

History of the name of Broken Arrow

man with hands folded over a book

Why pray The Lord’s Prayer

 

Matthew 6:9-13, NIV 

(Jesus said)

“This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

give us this day our daily bread

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And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Lord’s Prayer

This passage from Matthew may be the most quoted from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Although traditionally called the “Lord’s Prayer”, it might also be called the disciples’ prayer.

In the book of Luke, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.

He said to them, “When you pray, say:

“‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.

various types of bread

Forgive us our sins,for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.’”

 

 

Christians pray these words exactly as written (although there are now many different Bible translations and paraphrases), or may use them as a model or outline for prayer. They are prayed during church services and in private devotions.

Why pray the Lord's prayer

 

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer has been set to music in various forms. A family friend sung it at my wedding. Some choose it for funerals or memorial services.

Singers ranging from amateur to professional have recorded The Lord’s Prayer in multiple languages. I enjoyed this Kenyan choir singing it in English.

Umoja English choir, Nairobi, Kenya 

In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster writes,

“Jesus taught us to pray for daily bread. Have you ever noticed that children ask for lunch in utter confidence that it will be provided. Children do not find it difficult or complicated to talk to their parents, nor do they feel embarrassed to bring the simplest need to their attention. Neither should we hesitate to bring the simplest requests confidently to the Father.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord’s Prayer at iTunes 

The song has been recorded by a diverse group of artists including Andrea Bocelli, Susan Boyle, Barbra Streisand, Jackie Evancho, Elvis Presley. 

Find these and others at iTunes.

Itunes lrg f870299f99c48616f0cea96f29b076d24f47eeb4810e15dbe68bbf991d157081

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Share your thoughts about The Lord’s Prayer

What does The Lord’s Prayer mean to you? Do you pray it, or use it as a guide to prayer? Please share your thoughts about this powerful prayer.

wooden plaque available at Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for joining me to reflect on The Lord’s Prayer. 

Please visit some other posts with words of faith, hope, and love from the Sermon on the Mount.

                            Dr. Aletha  Faith, Love, Hope

Opportunities to do good

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

5 lessons learned when the lights went out

THE GREATEST PRAYER

group of lanterns with glowing lights

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out

LIGHT -Matthew 5:14-16

From Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

5 lessons I learned when the lights went out-www.watercresswords.com-exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love

 

 

 

 

 

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The day my lights went out

On a cold December morning I awoke to no electric power in my house.No heat, no coffee,no hot breakfast, no television happened that day.

During the previous night rain fell, quickly turning to ice so thick that it brought down exposed power lines. It also took down tree limbs which in turn knocked down more power lines. By dawn, a city of a half million people was largely without power, including my home and clinic.

Upon arising, we started navigating the challenge of life without electricity. We had no heat, could not cook, wash clothes, watch TV, use our computer, or recharge our cell phones.

So, after opening our automatic garage door manually, we drove around looking for an open restaurant , finding traffic signals not working, and many businesses also closed. I didn’t go to my clinic since it didn’t have power either.

Somehow we made it through the day; it was something of an adventure at that point. But at sunset, we faced an evening and night in the dark.

My house had no power for 5 days, some people as long as 2 weeks. By the third day my clinic reopened so I had access to a computer, could charge my phone, and had a warm place to spend the day.

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As inconvenient as all the other things were, the thing I missed most was light.

I felt grateful to have candles and flashlights, but they weren’t the same as being able to flip a switch on the wall or turn the switch on a lamp and have bright light flood the room.

By living in the dark for 5 days I learned

I should not take light for granted.

Natural sunlight lasts from 8 to 14 hours per day, depending on where you live- unless you live at the north or south pole,where you may be in darkness for 24 hours part of the year. Once the sun sets, you are in darkness unless you create light in some way.

Light is a great equalizer.

It didn’t matter who you were or what part of town you lived in. Rich and poor and everyone in between experienced the power outage. Some people already had generators or were lucky enough to find a store with one for sale. Otherwise, you were in the dark.

Life without light is difficult.

Sitting in the living room listening to our battery powered TV (now a relic) by candlelight, wrapped up in blankets wasn’t too bad. I just had to remember to take a flashlight to go to the bathroom or into my closet to change clothes. With no power or windows to catch a little moonlight, these areas of my home were pitch black. We couldn’t cook, and could not safely store cold food-I had to throw everything in the refrigerator and freezer away by the third day. We quickly tired of peanut butter and crackers. Dirty clothes stayed dirty for the time being.

a sketch of 5 lit candles in a row

image from Lightstock.com, affiliate link

 

It takes work to produce light.

Power company crews worked around the clock, helped by  crews from other cities and states. It still took 2 weeks to get power back to everyone. It took even longer to get all the broken tree limbs picked up from  streets and yards and hauled off to a central site for burning. Subsequently the city undertook a plan to trim trees that posed a hazard to power lines  and to bury power lines.

Light should be shared with others.

Residents and businesses who had power invited others in , providing places to eat, wash clothes, charge phones, and stay warm. We were all in this together, and everyone seemed to make an extra effort to be kind to each other.

 

New York City at night

We enjoyed a view of the lights of New York City from the Empire State Building

 

 

Related scriptures about light 

Mark 4:21

Luke 8:16

1 John 1:5-7

Previous posts in my series on Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount . 

Opportunities to do good

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

 

 

God's Promises for Women NIV Bible

God’s Promises for Women NIV Bible

 

God's Promises for Men NIV Bible

God’s Promises for Men NIV Bible

Share your “lights out” experience

I would love for you to share comments about a time you learned a lesson from a difficult experience. Or can you look back on a hard time and now see something that it can teach you?

Please share your insights, share this post, and follow watercress words as we explore the HEART of health and more words of faith, hope, and love.

 

Dr. Aletha 

faith, hope, love spelled out in wooden block letters

Faith Hope and Love , a graphic from Lightstock.com

gold stars on a blue background

Do you celebrate Christmas in July?

Isaiah 9: 6, ESV

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

© 2001 – 2018 CROSSWAY

from the English Standard Bible 

Why am I sharing a Bible passage about Christmas in July? Not because stores may already be selling Christmas decorations.

This selection was read on Daily Audio Bible (DAB)  recently. I told you about DAB before and hope you’ve been listening to it with me daily or as often as possible.

DAILY AUDIO BIBLE screen shot

I listen to the chronological version, meaning the text is read in the order it happened or was written, rather than the order the books are arranged in the Bible.

(Affiliate links are used in this post. Using them allows you to assist in funding this blog at no extra cost to you. )

More info about DAB is in this previous post.

DAB is free and you can download on the App Store Appstore sm 0fc8af054ef36729b6ef1ee711c8be883bbf7600b04a74ca69fb961dec5b4d41

George Frideric Handel and Messiah

George Frideric Handel used this scripture from Isaiah in his famous work, Messiah, first performed in 1742, performed or heard by millions of people since then.

Although it’s usually performed at Christmas, Handel wrote it for Easter.

Handel’s father  was a barber-surgeon. Barber-surgeons were physicians in medieval Europe, who as the name suggests performed surgery, often treating wounds from war injuries. Eventually, surgery and barbery became separate occupations.

 

When is “Christmas” for you?

Do you plan for Christmas year round, or wait til the week before? What does Christmas mean to you? Please share your thoughts.

 

 

Thanks for exploring the Bible, Christmas, and the HEART of health with me.

Please share this post and follow this blog where I regularly inform and inspire you about health and share words of faith, hope, and love.

I appreciate your interest and support. Please visit my Reader Resources page

and help me share the HEART of health.

Dr.Aletha 

FAITH LOVE HOPE- words created with letter tiles

These three remain, faith, hope and love, and greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (graphic from Lightstock.com)

man praying on holy bible in the morning

Opportunities to do good

Matthew 6:1-4, TLB-Giving to the Needy

“Take care! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, for then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven

When you give a gift to a beggar, don’t shout about it as hypocrites do- to call attention to their  acts of charity! I tell you in all earnestness, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 

 But when you do a kindness to someone, do it secretly—don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. 

And your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.”

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

if you do one good deed your reward is to do another and harder and better one. C.S. LEWIS,

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C.S. Lewis, author 

Author of the popular The Chronicles of Narnia fiction book/movie  series,

C.S. Lewis was a writer, teacher,  and lay theologian.

His books on Christian belief are read and quoted widely, years after his death.

The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis

Women and C.S. Lewis

Helping in Secret

Leslie Koh, writer/editor for  Our Daily Bread  reflected on this passage in a devotional from November 26, 2017.

He wrote about  Denise, who mentored a hurting young woman in her church. She met with her frequently, counselling and praying.

But when a church staff member was assigned to work with the young woman, Denise felt overlooked and unappreciated.

Leslie reminded us that when we feel unappreciated (and all of us do at times) God recognizes what we do even when no one else does.

I think we might ask ourselves- What is my motive in helping others?

  • To serve myself by receiving  praise and recognition from other people?
  • To serve God, to receive His reward?
  • To serve others, obeying God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 19:19?

Helping the distressed

Recently Leslie  reflected on the Christian response to the world wide refugee crisis. In this piece for The Christian Post, he encourages us to

not mistreat foreigners and migrants-embrace them.

OPPORTUNITIES TO DO GOOD-watercresswords.com

“Some time back, people from abroad who work in my country started gathering on the church property for a picnic every Sunday.

This evoked a range of responses from fellow churchgoers. Some fretted about the mess the visitors would leave behind. But others saw this as a divine opportunity to extend hospitality to a wonderful group of strangers—without even leaving the church       grounds! “(excerpt)

I hope we all find “divine opportunities” to extend hospitality  and help to friends and strangers.

On my page, Share the Heart of Health, you will meet organizations that invite you to help them do good things for others around the world. Please visit it.

Learning from The Sermon on the Mount 

This post is based on a passage from The Sermon on the Mount by Jesus in the Bible book of Matthew. Here are some other posts about that passage.

The surprising blessing of discomfort

How to be blessed, happy, and healthy

How to satisfy hunger and thirst

5 unexpected rewards by ditching a critical spirit

Please share this post and follow Watercress Words where I share words of 

 faith, hope, and love

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Thank you so much.    Dr. Aletha                 

1 Corinthians 13:13, photo from the Lightstock.com collection (affiliate link)