Category Archives: Inspirational

Sunday Devotional: Sing a new song to our Lord

Psalms 40:2-18

Surely, I wait for the LORD;
who bends down to me and hears my cry,
Draws me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the muddy clay,
Sets my feet upon rock,
steadies my steps,
And puts a new song in my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
Many shall look on in fear
and they shall trust in the LORD.

Blessed the man who sets
his security in the LORD,
who turns not to the arrogant
or to those who stray after falsehood.
You, yes you, O LORD, my God,
have done many wondrous deeds!
And in your plans for us
there is none to equal you.
Should I wish to declare or tell them,
too many are they to recount.

Sacrifice and offering you do not want;
you opened my ears.
Holocaust and sin-offering you do not request;
so I said, “See; I come
with an inscribed scroll written upon me.
I delight to do your will, my God;
your law is in my inner being!”

When I sing of your righteousness
in a great assembly,
See, I do not restrain my lips;
as you, LORD, know.
I do not conceal your righteousness
within my heart;
I speak of your loyalty and your salvation.
I do not hide your mercy or faithfulness from a great assembly.

LORD, may you not withhold
your compassion from me;
May your mercy and your faithfulness
continually protect me.
But evils surround me
until they cannot be counted.
My sins overtake me,
so that I can no longer see.
They are more numerous than the hairs of my head;
my courage fails me.
LORD, graciously rescue me!
Come quickly to help me, LORD!

May those who seek to destroy my life
be shamed and confounded.
Turn back in disgrace
those who desire my ruin.
Let those who say to me “Aha!”
Be made desolate on account of their shame.
While those who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you.
May those who long for your salvation
always say, “The LORD is great.”

Though I am afflicted and poor,
my Lord keeps me in mind.
You are my help and deliverer;
my God, do not delay!

Sing along! Here’s the lyrics:

Sing unto the Lord a new song
Sing unto the Lord all the earth (x2)

For God is great and greatly to be praised (x2)

He put a new song in my mouth
A hymn of praise unto our God
Many will see and fear – And put their trust in the Lord (x2)

As we worship the Lord in spirit and in truth
Let the voice of the Lord be heard in all the earth

And may the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: The Importance of the Baptism of Our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan
to be baptized by him.
John tried to prevent him, saying,
“I need to be baptized by you,
and yet you are coming to me?”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he allowed him.
After Jesus was baptized,
he came up from the water and behold,
the heavens were opened for him,
and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove
and coming upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying,
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The account of Jesus’ baptism is significant for at least two reasons:

(1) The Baptism of our Lord by St. John the Baptist is one of several instances in the Old and New Testaments  — see also Genesis 1:26, John 5:7, and Matthew 28 — when the nature of the Triune Godhead is revealed as the vexing mystery of three Persons in one God.

Our greatest theologians had sought in vain to plumb the mystery of the Triune Godhead — of three Persons in one God.

St. Thomas Aquinas concluded in Summa Theologica:

We cannot come to the knowledge of the Trinity by reason alone, that is, by the natural and unaided efforts of the human mind. By our natural reason, we can know that God exists; that he is the First Cause of all; that he is one, infinite, simple, immutable, etc. But that the one God subsists in three really distinct Persons is a truth that can be known only by supernatural means. That is a truth beyond the reach of human reason to know, to prove, or to disprove. We know this truth by divine revelation, and accept it by supernatural faith; we take it upon the authority of God himself.… By aid of the light of glory the soul in heaven sees God himself clearly and truly.

And so we accept our human limitation and believe, putting our trust in the words of St. Paul that we shall understand fully when we see God face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:11-12

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;
when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly,
but then face to face.
Now I know in part;
then I shall understand fully,
even as I have been fully understood.

(2) Matthew 3’s account also speaks to the importance that Jesus holds for Baptism. Though a sacrament meant for sinful humanity, the sinless Son of God chose to be baptized before He began His public ministry.

These are the words on Baptism of His apostle St. Paul:

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” -Romans 6:3-4

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” -1 Corinthians 6:11

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” -Galatians 3:27

Baptism purifies and sanctifies (makes holy) the person, making him/her a dwelling of the Holy Spirit. That means that without Baptism, a person is without the Holy Spirit and rendered defenseless against the Evil One.

I don’t know what other Christian denominations believe about baptism, but in the Catholic Church — notwithstanding its many flaws, including the terrible sins committed by its clergy — the sacrament of Baptism is an act of exorcism:

Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. The celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan. (#1237 of Catechism of the Catholic Church)

In this manner, through the exorcizing sacrament of Baptism, “all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.”

Moreover, through Baptism we receive the gift of grace from the Holy Trinity — to believe in God, to love Him, and to grow in goodness. “Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.”

So if you are a Christian, don’t make the mistake of postponing the baptism of your child(ren) like a friend of mine (see “Without Baptism, we are abandoned to the wolves“). Baptism — clothing your child “with Christ” — is the most important thing you can and will ever do for your child.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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The Epiphany: The Magi and the Christmas Star

Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

The Oxford Dictionaries defines “ephiphany” (with a small “e”) as “a moment of sudden revelation or insight” and “a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being”. The word “Epiphany” (with a capital “E”) refers to “the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi”.

Today is the great feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the Magi — an event that had been foretold in Isaiah 60:1-6 some 800 years before the birth of Christ.

Isaiah 60:1-6

Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you….
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you….
Then…the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the Lord.

The Magi were wise men — non-Hebrew pagans from the East. Bearing gifts fit for a king — those of gold, frankincense, and myrrh — their coming to Jerusalem to pay homage to “the king of the Jews” shows that they seek in the messianic light of the Christmas star, the one who will be king of all nations.

It is noteworthy that the first creatures to see the newborn Jesus were his human parents, Mary and Joseph; angels on high; humble farm animals; lowly shepherds; and Gentiles — the Magi.

The Epiphany, therefore, signifies the manifestation of Jesus as Son of God and Savior of the world — not just the Old Testament‘s oft-prophesied messiah of the Jews. God is not a tribal deity, exclusive to only the so-called “chosen people”. Jesus the Christ came for Jews and Gentiles. He came for all of us, no matter our race, gender, language, country, or creed.

As St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians 3:6:

[T]he Gentiles are coheirs,
members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise
in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Noteworthy also is the fact that the Magi, as the first Gentiles to find Jesus, were also the first Gentiles to receive His salvific grace. As recounted in Matthew 2:12:

And having been warned in a dream
not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country
by another way.

By the way, astronomers, using software programs reproducing the night sky exactly as it was thousands of years ago, have determined there really was a Christmas Star or Star of Bethlehem. David Reneke, news editor of Australia’s Sky and Space Magazine, said: “We found out something startling. It looks like the ‘Christmas star’ really did exist.”

It’s generally accepted by most researchers that Christ was born between 3 BC and 1 AD. On 12 August, 3 BC, Jupiter and Venus appeared very close together just before sunrise, appearing as bright morning stars. It would have been visible in the eastern dawn sky of the Middle East from about 3:45 to 5:20 a.m.

But it didn’t stop there. The crowning touch came ten months later, on 17 June 2 BC, Venus and Jupiter joined up again in the constellation Leo. This time the two planets were so close that, without the use of our modern optical aids, they would have looked like one single, brilliant star.

Venus is known as the planet of love; Jupiter as the planet of kings; and Leo denotes royalty and power.

See these other cases of science confirming Biblical accounts:

May the joy of the Epiphany and the peace and love of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, be with you!

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Let the peace of Christ control your hearts

Colossians 3:12-17

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

Below are 6 ways we can have the “peace of Christ” in our hearts (h/t Christian Post; In Touch Ministries; WikiHow):

(1) Examine your conscience. If you are troubled by something or someone, examine your conscience and ask yourself: “Did I do the right thing? What were my motives? Was I fair?”. And if you answered the questions honestly and determined that your action was righteous, then let the matter go and be at peace. But if you were not righteous, then change your behavior and make it right.

(2) Ask for God’s forgiveness. Peace with God is the foundation for peace in every other area of our lives. Jesus is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and it’s only through a relationship with Him that we will ever experience true contentment. When we sin, we break that relationship. The way back is by repenting and asking God for forgiveness, after which let go of your guilt.

(3) Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing and competing with other people is one of the fastest ways to lose your peace and joy. Accept who you are, without being jealous of someone else’s skills or achievements.

(4) Accept other people the way they are. As the joke goes: “How many psychiatrist does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: One, but only if the light bulb really, really wants to change.” Stop trying to change other people. The only person we can change is our own self.

(5) Be kind. Studies found that being kind and generous actually make us happier, less likely to be depressed, decrease the stress hormone cortisol, promote mental health, increase our peace of mind, and even extend how long we live (New Republic; HuffPo). Here are some ways to be kind and generous:

  • Volunteer at your church, a senior center, an animal shelter, a soup kitchen or another community service organization.
  • Donate to a charity or worthy cause.
  • Help a friend or family member in need by listening to them and  lessen their problem with your labor or money.
  • Let go of a grievance or grudge. No one is perfect; neither are we.

(6) Be grateful. Studies found that being thankful is not only good for our physical health, it is also good for our mental health. Gratitude decreases toxic emotions like envy, resentment, frustration, and depression, and increases happiness. (See “”)

(7) Trust Him. God gave each of us a mind and the ability to reason and plan, which we are expected to use to good purpose. After we have done our utmost to be prudent and responsible, stop fretting and let it go. Put your trust in God — in His timing and purpose. As Proverbs 16:9 says: “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.”

And may the peace of love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

~Eowyn

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Christmas: The light of the human race

John 1:1-5, 9-14

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

The Parable of the Farmer and the Geese

There once was a farmer who, though a decent man, was an unbeliever because he could not understand why God would become man, only to be crucified to death, abandoned by his friends.

The farmer loved all animals, but especially loved birds.

One morning, news came of the imminent arrival of a terrible snow storm. Anxious to protect his flock of geese from the coming blizzard, the farmer put his heavy coat on and went out to get the geese into the shelter and safety of the barn.

He first tried coaxing the geese, gently shooing them into the barn. But the geese, being geese, refused to be coaxed.

He then tried luring the geese into the barn. He got a bag of grain and left a trail of seed from the outside into the barn. The geese ate the seed but stubbornly refused to enter the barn.

Meanwhile, the wind began to howl, and heavy snow began to fall . . . .

Now desperate, the farmer thought he would try scaring the geese. So he took a hammer and banged on a metal pan, so that the loud noise would frighten the geese into the barn. But the geese again refused to budge.

So the farmer gave up and retreated into his house.

In the warmth of his living room, he stood helplessly at the window, watching the blizzard descend on the geese. He knew they would surely die in the freezing storm.

In despair, a thought came to the farmer: “If only I could become a goose, then maybe the geese might listen to me and follow me into the barn . . . .”

At that, the farmer finally understood.

Falling on his knees, sobbing and choking with tears, he said: “Forgive me, Lord. I know now why You became man….”

Today we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Light of the world.

Rejoice!

May the joy of CHRISTmas be with you this glorious morning,

~Eowyn

See also:

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Christmas is God’s answer to Solstice

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. – Isaiah 9:2

Let the Son shine into your heart

Solstice is the darkest part of the year in the northern hemisphere. The days become troublingly short, with night falling before afternoon is over. For those with “seasonal affective disorder” it can be a time of dangerous heavy depression.

The Church chose the period near Solstice to replace the pagan bacchanal celebrations with holy gatherings to honor the Nativity of Jesus Christ

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
– John 1:1-5

PEACE

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Sunday Devotional: Are you the one who is to come?

Today is the third Sunday of Advent — a season observed by Christians as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the incarnation and birth of the Second Person of the Triune Godhead.

The term advent is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. And so, this season of Advent is also about a second advent or second coming — His return at the end of all things.

And how do we know that He is the One?

Having created us with the ability to reason, God fully expects us to use our minds — to good purpose.

Did you know that even John the Baptist did not believe blindly, but used his rational faculty to sift through the available empirical evidence and determined that Jesus indeed was whom he was awaiting — “the one who is to come”.

Matthew 11:2-6

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

So, on this third Sunday of Advent, do not be disheartened by the darkness of our culture, polity and society, but take comfort in these words from the Epistle of James.

James 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and with all your strength.

May the peace of love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb

Today is the second Sunday of Advent — a season observed by Christians as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the incarnation and birth of the Second Person of the Triune Godhead.

The term advent is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. And so, this season of Advent is also about a second advent or second coming — His return at the end of all things.

Isaiah 11:1, 3-9

On that day…
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
but he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

The above passage from Isaiah 11 foretells that on that second advent, predator and prey will lie peaceably together — the wolf with the lamb, the leopard with the goat, the lion and the calf — because the predator will no longer look upon or need the prey as food (“the lion shall eat hay like the ox“).

This is not some fanciful dream for there are already glimpses of friendships between predator and prey when food is removed as a motive. See, for example:

May the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Be prepared, for you do not know on which day the Lord will come

Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

The term advent is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent — a season observed by Christians as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the incarnation and birth of the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, and of His return at the end of all things.

Did you know that the coming of Jesus the Christ had been foretold in the Old Testament? How cool is that! Below are some examples.

Isaiah 7:14

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Jeremiah 23:5

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Jeremiah 33:14-15

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will fulfill the promise
I made to the house of Israel and Judah.
In those days, in that time,
I will raise up for David a just shoot ;
he shall do what is right and just in the land.

Micah 5:2

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Numbers 24:17

there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Psalm 16:10

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Psalm 22:1, 16, 18

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
they pierced my hands and my feet.
They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Zechariah 9:9

behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Zechariah 11:12

So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

And how are we to be “prepared” for His coming? By being “blameless in holiness“.

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. 

And may the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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Giving Thanks Today

Psalm 118 v. 1-4
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say:
“His love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say:
“His love endures forever.”

Let America say:
“His love endures forever.”

We give thanks today to the “high and holy One who inhabits eternity.” The Lord is not limited by the dimension of time. He stands outside time, and rules it, speeding it up, slowing it down, stopping it, even turning it backwards. He is Lord of time.

“His love endures forever”

This means that the greatest expression of His love, Jesus Christ, who is Love, and is in fact God, is always present with us who believe. Even when all our news, all our emotions, all we see with our eyes, is in contradiction to His message of undying love.

The first Christian martyr, Steven, facing imminent murder, saw with eyes of faith the lord Jesus Christ standing beside the Father and welcoming him into glory, even forgiving his persecutors. (Amazing, all it takes for me to miss the point is a sore throat.)

The Pilgrims of Plymouth suffered greatly in their mission to carry the Gospel to a new land

Their losses were horrible. So many died that first winter that it is hard to understand their stamina, unless we remember that they were seeking an eternal city, whose builder and maker is God.

Happy Thanksgiving America,
His Love Endures Forever

~ TD

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