LOST…

I don’t believe I have posted this before, but if I have, please forgive me.

The following is the first poem I ever wrote.  I recall speaking with a friend of mine at the time who was in charge of a poetry group.  She knew I wrote children’s stories, and urged me to try writing poetry.  I told her I knew nothing about writing poetry, but would pray about it and see if it was something God wanted me to pursue.  That same night, I was awakened with the following words traveling through my mind at the speed of light.  Afraid of missing anything I was hearing, I jumped out of bed,  grabbed the first piece of paper I could find, (which was the back of an envelope,) found a pencil, (it was an eye make up pencil,) went to the bathroom, and wrote this with the night-light on.  The words were coming so fast, it was done in about five minutes.

I guess God DID want me to pursue poetry, for I am still writing!  Hope you enjoy!-anita

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Lost?  I’m not lost…not lost in Your peace;

Not lost, although I want to be…

Lost like a flame burning bright at noon…

Or maybe a raindrop in the sea!

I struggle with life from day-to-day,

Trying to do things my own way;

Even though I’ve heard folks

say and say, “Jesus has peace,

And He just gives it away!

He don’t require worry, blood, sweat, or tears;

Just call out His name,

And He’ll vanquish your fears!”

So, I said to myself, “I’m gonna give this a try,

Cuz if things don’t change soon, I’m gonna die!”

Well…it’s all different now,  I’m happy to say.

When fear comes now, He just casts it away!

With one word on my lips, I just have to say, “JESUS!”

And…POOF! …fear goes away!

Now, I won’t lie and say I never hear

Another voice sometimes speak loud in my ear.

This voice says, “You’re lost!  You’re lost!!

And things are SO unclear!”

And, momentarily, I listen…

Momentarily, I fear;

But then the name, JESUS, shines in my head bright as day,

And I turn with boldness, and to this voice I say…

“Lost?  I’m not lost!  Not lost, although YOU want me to be.

See…I’ve been found by the ONE who died for me!

When I call out His name, He casts away fear…

So, go on now!  Go away!  Disappear!”

Then peace like a river starts flowing through me…

There’s no more chaos…only harmony!

By:   Anita Mondragon -December 2004

THAT’S WHAT GOOD FATHERS DO!

For all of us who have children that have gone astray…here is a really good post for you to read!  This is from one of our new writers.  This is awesome Jon…keep ’em coming!-anita

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I have usually looked at the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15&version=NASB)  from the son’s viewpoint and I think this is how most people look at it. After all that is how the parable itself is told to us and the bulk of the story does deal directly with the son. I’ve also heard some teaching on the elder brother who is, according to most interpretations I have heard, supposed to represent the Pharisees or others among the Jewish people who considered themselves as above reproach. However, I have never heard much teaching about the father.

                If the elder brother is the self-righteous, religious leaders and the younger son represents those who have sinned and, knowing this, approach God with a humble and contrite heart (Jesus mentions them a few chapters later in Luke 18:9-14 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+18&version=NASB) then who is the father? It seems reasonable to assume that he must represent God himself. He is the source of every good thing in the brothers lives – the inheritance that the younger one squanders, the ring and robe he’s given on his return, even the fat calf that is for everyone (even the sour elder brother) to enjoy. You see this too in his responses to his sons throughout the story. Never does he respond with anger or bitterness or frustration. He is the perfect illustration of patience, peace and lovingkindness; truly a “good, good father.” I, on the other hand, am all too human.

 You see, I have a 38 year old son of my own who is on a long, prodigal trip and not yet ready to stop certain behaviors and give control of his life back to God. The younger son is a pretty good fit for him. I, of course, am the father. I wish I could say that I always deal with this situation with the Father’s love, compassion and kindness but the truth is I don’t very often.

                Today, for example, he called. We’ve been playing phone tag all week; he’ll call and we don’t seem to be near the phone then we’ll call back and he’s not there. But he called today and I answered. Right there is an opening for God – Lord, what do you want me to say, how should I respond, how can I bless and encourage him today? I wish I thought of these things before the fact but, far too typically, I don’t. The conversation didn’t go well. He wanted to yell about a lot of things from the moment I said hello and say things that I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean. Opening number two – Lord, what in the world am I supposed to do with this? How would you respond this in a positive and encouraging way? Again, I wish I responded this way but I didn’t. Instead I let him have it and finished up with a pretty significant profanity. Then I hung up on him. Opening number three – for the Lord to deal with me with considerably more gentleness than I showed.

                That is the significance of the father in the story for me. The younger son and the elder brother are easy to see as ourselves because they are imperfect and flawed from the start. The father however is far harder to see as myself because he is good in ways that I want to be and too often fail at. So now, instead of “well done, good and faithful…”, I find myself living psalm 51, “against you only have I sinned…” because that is what I have really done. As much as I have sinned against my son I have sinned much more against God who loves all the characters in the story with the same love. And yet I find that in the midst of the guilt and the shame is a nugget of grace. I was approached during the Sunday service by someone who said “You should write for the blog.” I think it was God since I had been wrestling with exactly that idea.  I’m glad when he talks to me that way because I had been wondering if he was still there – and he was. With that comforting thought in mind, he gave me a test which I promptly blew but God works all things together for good. Even as I was feeling pretty bad about the way things had gone, God was saying, “Look up…” I responded in my humanity but he responded in his godliness, without anger or recrimination. So, instead of wallowing a self pity or anger I got up and kept going.

                My son came over today. I sat in the basement working. Finally, I gathered my courage and went upstairs to meet him. We both said sorry and looked each other in the eye and just like that it was as though the whole thing had never happened. It was good to be reconciled. As we sat talking he said, “I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately; been thinking about going to get some counseling, I think its time.”

                Hallelujah! God took my sinful outburst and reduced it to its real size and then he gave me a gift I hadn’t even been expecting. I’m pretty sure he was smiling. Because that’s what good fathers do.   

By:  Jon H. Roark

 

THE CROSSROADS…

crossraods

Here is a poem I wrote in March of 2013.  It was at a time when I had some serious choices to make, and was unclear about the direction I needed to go.  I’m sure we can all relate to this dilemma! -anita

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I’m here at the Crossroads, once again,

Remembering now how hard it’s been,

To make these choices all on my own;

Not getting things right…

Opportunities blown!

So, this time, I’m coming

Straight to you.

I know that You’ll tell me

Just what I should do.

Which road should I take?

Which choice should I make?

Lord…speak loud and clear…

Only Your voice, let me hear!

Show me which way

I should go today;

My trust is in YOU…

My friend, tried and true!

By:  Anita Mondragon March 2013

THE WAR IS NOT OVER!

“Things are not what they seem.  This is a world at war.  Each of us has a crucial role to play….  A battle is raging,  And it is a battle for your heart.” -John Eldredge

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Years ago, I read a book by John Eldredge, entitled:  Waking the Dead.  There were many things in there that spoke to my heart!  In one chapter called, “Spiritual Warfare”, he says, and I quote, “This is the heart of our Enemy.  He is determined to hinder and harm and ruin God’s image bearers.  To steal and kill and destroy…the story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you COULD be, and fears it!”

The other morning, I read something in “Our Daily Bread”.  It was talking about a World War II soldier who continued to guard his post and refused to surrender until 1974-almost 30 years after the war had ended!  The soldier did not surrender because he was not convinced by all the leaflets dropped, telling him the war was over.  He would not relinquish his post until he got the official order from his Commanding officer.  His former Commanding officer had to travel from Japan to the Philippine Islands, where he (the soldier) was posted in 1945, to rescind the order…face to face.

This is the way Believers should be!  In this day and age, with all the Media, and Technology, we are being bombarded, and brain washed into believing our Faith is a thing of the past…too old fashioned for this century.  Even some big name preachers (I can’t call them pastors, because pastors protect the flock) will tell you the “War” is over; And it’s OK to lay down your weapon (The Word of God)…just tolerate…accept the world as it is…accept change!  Don’t offend anyone…

But, the “War” is NOT over!  It won’t be over until Jesus comes back and establishes Peace on this world.  If you are aware of this, and try to bring souls to the salvation of Jesus Christ, the Enemy will hunt, and track you down.  He will throw everything he can at you to try to convince you that there is no “War”.  Don’t believe him!

Our orders from God, our Commanding officer, is to STAY IN THE FIGHT;  Do not surrender until God Himself officially rescinds that order and relieves you of your duties.  Then…and ONLY then will the “War” be over for YOU!

DO NOT ABANDON YOUR POST!  ON YOUR FEET SOLDIER!  PICK UP YOUR WEAPON…You ARE at war!

Anita Mondragon 2016

Fight the good figh

MY FATHER…

GodAbbaFather

Here is a good one from Nicole.   All the Scriptures below, are worth looking up!  -Enjoy! -anita

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GOD…SCRIPTURE

Loves me!… John 3:16

Cares for me!… Matthew 6:26

Forgives me!… Psalm 103:12

Is Compassionate!… Psalm 103:4-5

Is Giving!… Romans 8:32

Is Understanding!… Psalm 139:1-2

Is Accepting!… Psalm 139:1-6

Satisfies!… Psalm 107:9

Persistently Pursues me!… Luke 19:10

Is Reason!… Isaiah 1:18

Pardons!… Psalm 103:3

Heals!… Isaiah 53:5

Redeems!… Job 19:25

Is Loving & Kind!… Psalm 86:15

Renews!… Isaiah 40:31

Is Righteous!… Jeremiah 9:23-24

Is Gracious!… Ephesians 1:7-8

Is Sovereign!… Psalm 103:19

By:  Nicole Shapiro

Personal Holiness in Response to a Holy God. Sermon notes by Dan Leavitt

 

The Big Reveal in Leviticus

Vayikraˈ “He called”

 

Hebrews 10  (MSG)

10 1-10 The old plan was only a hint of the good things in the new plan. Since that old “law plan” wasn’t complete in itself, it couldn’t complete those who followed it.

 

Romans 15:4 (AMP)

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.

 

John 5:46-47English Standard Version (ESV)

For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

 

Leviticus 1 (NIV)

The Lord called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When anyone among you brings an offering to the Lord, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.

3 “‘If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the Lord.

 

Maybe the Saddest, Most Glorious Verse in the Bible

2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

4 You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. 5 You are to slaughter the young bull before the Lord, and then Aaron’s sons the priests shall bring the blood and splash it against the sides of the altar at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 6 You are to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces. 7 The sons of Aaron the priest are to put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. 8 Then Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, including the head and the fat, on the wood that is burning on the altar. 9 You are to wash the internal organs and the legs with water, and the priest is to burn all of it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the Lord.

 

2 Corinthians 2:15-16The Message (MSG)

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.

 

Types of Sacrifices and types of Sins

The Burnt Offerings

The Burnt offering was performed to atone for the peoples sins against the Lord and was a dedication offering of ones life before the Lord continually.


The Meal Offerings

The purpose of the meal offering was an offering of gifts and speaks of a life that is dedicated to generosity and giving.
The Peace Offerings

The peace offering was a meal that was shared with the Lord, the priests, and sometimes the common Israelites.  It was required to make offerings while making a vow of ones life to God and thanking Him with praise while free-will offerings were voluntary.
The Sin Offerings

The sin offering expiated (paid the debt in full) the worshippers unintentional weaknesses and failures before the Lord.

Lev 4:1-4 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them, ‘if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering. ‘He shall bring the bull to the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD, lay his hand on the bull’s head, and kill the bull before the LORD.
The Trespass Offerings

The trespass offering was very similar to that of the sin offering but the main difference was that the trespass offering was an offering of money for sins of ignorance connected with fraud.

 

There is no sacrifice for an intentional sin against God.

 

Psalm 51 (NIV)

 

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

 

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.

2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me … and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.

19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

 

Jesus Explains Things Using Leviticus

 

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV)

You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

 

Atonement

Leviticus 17:10-11

10-12 “If any Israelite or foreigner living among them eats blood, I will disown that person and cut him off from his people, for the life of an animal is in the blood. I have provided the blood for you to make atonement for your lives on the Altar; it is the blood, the life, that makes atonement.

 

Hebrews 10  (MSG)

10 1-10 The old plan was only a hint of the good things in the new plan. Since that old “law plan” wasn’t complete in itself, it couldn’t complete those who followed it. No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution. If they had, the worshipers would have gone merrily on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins. But instead of removing awareness of sin, when those animal sacrifices were repeated over and over they actually heightened awareness and guilt. The plain fact is that bull and goat blood can’t get rid of sin. That is what is meant by this prophecy, put in the mouth of Christ:

 

You don’t want sacrifices and offerings year after year;

you’ve prepared a body for me for a sacrifice.

It’s not fragrance and smoke from the altar

that whet your appetite.

So I said, “I’m here to do it your way, O God,

the way it’s described in your Book.”

When he said, “You don’t want sacrifices and offerings,” he was referring to practices according to the old plan. When he added, “I’m here to do it your way,” he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan—God’s way—by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.

 

 

  1. Personal Holiness is the Response to a Holy God
  2. There is no way to achieve Holiness apart from a Holy Lamb of God

 

 

 

YOUR LOVINGKINDNESS LORD…

Here is the promise I picked from my box of Promises today.  It is for all of us to partake of.  A year or so ago, I decided to write down every blessing that God did for me on a daily basis.  I was amazed to see His hand working so prevalent in my life!  Especially when I looked at those blessings a year later!  I had completely forgotten some of the things He’d done for me.  His loving kindness truly IS better than life!-anita

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“Because Thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee.”  Psalm 63:3

Here is a little poem that went along with the promise…a little reminder to praise our God in ALL situations.

“O Lord, whatever my path may be,

If only I may walk with Thee,

And talk with Thee along the way;

I’ll praise Thee for it ALL, some day!” -Unknown

Anita

TWENTY THINGS A MOM SHOULD TELL HER SON…

Here’s another one of those ‘lost files’ I found in the garage the other day.  I think most mom’s will relate; for we have said at least one…and perhaps all of these things to our sons at one time or another!  Enjoy!-anita

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1. Play a sport.  It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, …work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble.  And, maybe even throw or catch!

2.  You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don’t take something away from her that you can’t give back!

3.  Use careful aim when you pee.  Somebody’s got to clean that up, you know!

4. Save money when you’re young, because you’re going to need it someday!

5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom.  Now…please, go use them!

6. Pray and be a spiritual leader!

7. Don’t ever be a bully, and don’t ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself!

8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you!

9. Treat women kindly.  Forever is a long time to live alone and it’s even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts!

10. Take pride in your appearance!

11. Be strong and tender at the same time!

12. A woman can do everything that you can do.  This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3 A.M.  Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship!

13. “Yes ma’am” and “yes sir” still go a long way!

14. The reason that they’re called “private parts” is because they are “private.”  Please do not scratch them in public!

15. Peer pressure is a scary thing.  Be a good leader and others will follow!

16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea!

17. It is better to be kind than to be right!

18. A sense of humor goes a long way in the healing process!

19. Please choose your spouse wisely.  My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren!

20. Remember to call your mother…because I might be missing you!

-Unknown

WHICH JAMES?

Here is an interesting one from Lee!  Enjoy…anita

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I’ve managed to come up with what I think is a real enigma concerning James of the Bible, a name given to several prominent NT people. My concern/interest was around the identity of James of the NT book bearing that name.

I had always understood that James (the book) was written by Jesus’ half-brother, James. One of the things that always bothered me a bit, though, was that the Bible names four brothers for Jesus [Mt 13:55 names James, Joseph, Simon and Judas], and points out that they were not followers of His [John 7:5].

Alphaeus is the father of Levi (later called Matthew) [Mk 2:14] and James (called James the Lesser or Younger) [Mk 3:18] both of whom were listed as Apostles. James, son of Alphaeus, is mentioned in Acts 1:13 as being in the Upper Room after Jesus’ Ascension where he is seen as praying devotedly with the other Apostles and awaiting the Pentecost. As an aside, verse 14 mentions in passing that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was there also along “…with His brothers.” So, apparently, the brothers, including the half-brother, James, had become converted to be believers of the Lord.

Where this starts to get interesting though is when you look at John 19:25, where three Marys are standing at the foot of Jesus’ cross. Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ mother Mary, and Mary, wife of Clopas or Cleopas. So the latter Mary is the sister of Jesus’ mother, according to this verse. Of course, I find this interesting to learn that two women in the same family had the same name. But, of greater note, is that the NIV Bible in its discussion of the history of the 12 Apostles, considers Alphaeus and Cleopas to be the same man. So this would make James the Lesser and Jesus cousins.

So it would seem reasonable to me that, since Matthew and John, both original Apostles, authored NT books, it would be somewhat consistent that James the Lesser also authored a book, the Epistle of James. So, I kept on researching to see what else I could find.

In an article written by Rev. Jim Cole-Rous for Global Christian Center (globalchristiancenter.com), the author concludes that James the Lesser is clearly the James who wrote the NT book of that name. In the NIV Bible article referenced above (“An Outline History of the 12 Apostles” p. 1277), the NIV explains, “According to tradition [James the Lesser] wrote the Epistle of James….,” but this same article allows that “…many conservative scholars dispute this.”

Apropos the statement just made above, however, the same NIV Bible has an introduction to the book of James that states, “The traditional view identifies the author of James the Epistle with James, the Lord’s brother.”  Then, in Galatians 1:19, Paul goes to Jerusalem to meet with Peter and mentions that he saw only one other apostle, James, the Lord’s brother. So now this James also is considered to be an Apostle. Gal 2:9 signifies that Peter, John and James were considered to be “the pillars” of the fledgling church, according to Paul.

So, is any of this important or relevant to our walk with the Lord? No, not really. Not any more important than who the author of Hebrews is, or any other books of the Bible for which authorship is in question. But, I find that as I dig more deeply into topics such as the authorship of James, the people listed in various places in the Bible become much more real and alive to me! For instance, I never picked up on the fact that Matthew and James were brothers. Or that there were two Apostles named James; I always just glossed over these facts. And I never recognized that Mary had a sister, also called Mary (I knew she had a cousin, Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist). But clearly all of these folks were real people with lives and relationships, just like you and me. And these were the people who started the church of which we now are a part as believers in the story, the sacrifice, and the kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

By:  Lee Pierce

 

PRAYER VS. PROFANITY

Isaiah 5:20New International Version (NIV)

20 Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter.

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I was shocked this morning, when I turned on the news and heard one of the stories they were airing.  It was called, “In Praise of Profanity!”  In this broadcast, there was a statement underneath a picture of a family that said, “Using profanity brings families closer together.”  WOW!  What has this world come to?  When I was growing up, there was a phrase that said, “The family that prays together… stays together!”  What a complete departure from that philosophy!

In verses 11-15, in the same chapter of Isaiah 5, the Scripture goes into more detail of the end of this new kind of thinking!  It says in verse 14, “Hell has enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure:  and their (those that call evil good) glory, and their multitude, and their pomp (arrogance), and all that rejoice (go along with, agree with, indulge in), shall descend into it (Hell).  That is a very clear picture of what will happen to those that pervert good for evil…Truth for lies.

I truly don’t know why I was so shocked at that story….  When you see the new TV shows that are already airing, and are to air this Fall, it should not have surprised me.  We have the series, “Lucifer”…and this Fall we are going to have a new show called, “Gomorrah.”  What a falling away from the Truth, we find ourselves in!

God made Eden perfect…but now this world has literally gone to Hell!  To quote one of my poems…

“It’s evident what’s lacking here…

It’s GOD, that we are needing;

Because, from what I see…

This is more like Hell…

I’m sure, it isn’t Eden!”

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world…” I John 4:1

Let’s all be careful not to fall into the lies of this world.  Pray with your family…Prayer changes things!

Anita Mondragon