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But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15

JESUS My Lord and Savior

© All Rights Reserved -Anastasia Diamond

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Prayerful Reflections of an ordinary day that stands out because of  valuable lessons learned about what is truly important.

I was born and lived in Boston’s South End at a time when there was row after row of old brick tenement buildings; certainly not the best address in town; often called the slums; today we would call it a ghetto. Instead of porches, patios and backyards…we had front steps, fire escapes, the street, alleys, and the roof.

They tore the buildings down years ago, but the memories remain.

Our family lived in a fourth floor cold-water flat in a melting pot of diverse cultures, religions, crime, and hope of new beginnings. Without the luxury of private bathrooms, we shared a hallway toilet with other tenants…and anyone wandering in off the street. We saw and experienced some things in the neighborhood that children should not. But it was home for that season.

The kitchen was the center of family life.

The big metal sink doubled as a bathtub for the little kids. My mother heated water on a coal and wood burning stove that doubled as a warm and cozy fireplace to sit in front of while our mittens hung on the door to dry after a snow ball fight in the cold New England winters. My mother cooked everything from scratch. I am still in awe of how she baked cookies, cakes, and lemon meringue pies to perfection in that old oven. Delightful memories also linger, of the variety of other wonderful smells drifting through the hallways at suppertime.

So often, our mother would tell us…

“It doesn’t matter where you live, what you have, or don’t have. We have soap, so you can always be clean.” We bathed nightly in that kitchen sink, and were always clean. “It doesn’t matter if your chair is broken; polish it.” Our furniture, though worn and somewhat tattered, was clean and polished regularly. “It doesn’t matter if your clothes aren’t new; just be sure they are clean and ironed, and sew them when they’re torn.” Our clothes were mostly hand-me-downs from the Saint Vincent-de-Paul, but they were clean, mended, often starched, and always ironed.

One sun-shiny spring day remains deeply etched in my memory.

My petite, Italian mother washed a mountain of laundry that morning, all by hand, as usual. I remember watching on tip-toe as she filled that big old kitchen sink with water she heated on the stove. It must have been so difficult for her to carry all of those heavy, wet loads up two flights of stairs to the roof, where she hung everything to dry. I don’t ever remember hearing her complain. I do think that particular day must have been extra tiring, because she washed clothes for all five kids, our father, her self…sheets and towels too.

On the rooftop overlooking the Boston skyline…

My brother and I played under the blue skies and fluffy clouds while our mother lifted, shook, hung, and pinned. I am sure we left little fingerprint smudges of this and that on the clean, wet sheets as we twirled in and out, and ran round and round through them as they flapped in the warm, sweet breeze. When she finished, every line was full with happy colorful clothes, tattered but clean towels, and sparkling white sheets and pillow cases.

Trusting the hot sun and gentle wind to do their assigned tasks…we left the rooftop to go on with a very ordinary day.

Later that day, just before dark, my mother went to the roof alone to gather the laundry. However, after just a few minutes, and much too quickly, the door swung open again. Ma’s strong smooth arms, which should have held the first basketful of sweet-smelling, sun-dried clothes, hung empty at her sides.

She just stood there looking at us…and said, “Everything is gone.”

“What?” we asked. “All of our clothes are gone?” My brothers, sisters and I clamored around her, all talking at once and full of questions: “Where did they go? Who took them? Let’s tell the police. What will we wear?” Though still stunned with shock herself, and probably pondering similar questions, our precious mother listened to all of our concerns; then she said…

“Anyone who would steal children’s clothes and sheets needs them more than we do.”

Though I am sure she was devastated, our mother used this opportunity of our loss to talk to her children of forgiveness, compassion for others, and remind us to thank God, for it was only clothing, sheets and towels that were missing, not us.

Our mother demonstrated a living example of forgiveness that I have never forgotten.

I really don’t remember what else happened that afternoon. I don’t think my mother ever found out who the thief was, or if he, she, or they were ever caught. I do however remember looking at people on the street the next day to see if they were wearing our clothes…but never saw anything familiar.

Though I have no real memory of when or how our mother replaced everything, I have a strong feeling she made many more trips than usual to the Saint Vincent-de-Paul…and that our local church probably helped too.

I have no idea what impact that blue-skied spring day had on my brothers and sisters. I don’t actually remember them talking about it after that day; at least not with me, as I was the youngest; only about four or five years old. For that matter, I don’t remember discussing it with my mother either. Unfortunately, she died long before I was mature enough to tell her how much that day, her insightful response, and guiding advice affected me, and still does today.

Thank you dear mother…

You planted seeds of compassion, thankfulness, and forgiveness on that ordinary day so very long ago. Because of your compassionate example, I learned very early, that even in the face of adversity, we can and should be thankfully gracious, compassionate, and forgiving…and that people are always more important than things.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/learning-forgiveness-compassion-and-thankfulness/ Bookmark and Share

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Lean on JESUS

JESUS My Lord and Savior

©All Rights Reserved -Anastasia Diamond

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https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

When life is challenging (that’s every day)…lean on Jesus

When time stops on rewind, and hard memories replay…lean on Jesus

When resources are scarce, or finally run out…lean on Jesus

When hope turns to hopeless…lean on Jesus

When promises crack, and are broken…lean on Jesus

When sad songs are the melody of your life…lean on Jesus

When prayer feels impossible…lean on Jesus

When sorrow engulfs you…lean on Jesus

When tears overflow, and will not stop…lean on Jesus

When truth is made false, and lies become truth…lean on Jesus

When home is a place where there is no peace…lean on Jesus

When faith is only a distant concept…lean on Jesus

When disappointed in people, places and things…lean on Jesus

When grief is your constant companion…lean on Jesus

When friends cannot be found..lean on Jesus

When defeat is an option, and you want to give up…lean on Jesus

When loss overwhelms you…lean on Jesus

When love isn’t lovely, but tainted or worn…lean on Jesus

When abandoned, alone and forsaken…lean on Jesus

When comfort from others, leaves you still wanting…lean on Jesus

When joy is elusive…lean on Jesus

When sleep doesn’t come, in the middle of the night…lean on Jesus

When words have wounded, and cannot be taken back…lean on Jesus

When anger and rage spew like an erupting volcano…lean on Jesus

When addiction is your secret companion, destroying you life…lean on Jesus

When confusion reigns, clouding your thinking…lean on Jesus

When death is knocking on the door of your life…lean on Jesus

When evil, and false gods beckon you…lean on Jesus

When laughter depends on bad jokes, or hurtful pokes…lean on Jesus

When justice is unjust to the innocent…lean on Jesus

When suicide feels like the only way out…lean on Jesus

When family are not supportive, or far, far away…lean on Jesus

When change is unwanted, but inevitable…lean on Jesus

When envy is deep, deep green…lean on Jesus

When peace isn’t perfect…lean on Jesus

When pleasure is an empty and bottomless pit…lean on Jesus

When trouble surrounds you…lean on Jesus

When sin consumes you…lean on Jesus

When goodness, mercy and grace are foreign to you…lean on Jesus

When marriage vows break…lean on Jesus

When pain burns in every fiber of your being…lean on Jesus

When thoughts take you to dangerous places…lean on Jesus

When burdens are heavy…lean on Jesus

When communication crumbles…lean on Jesus

When wisdom departs, or wise men act foolishly…lean on Jesus

When bitterness is turning your heart to stone…lean on Jesus

When children or parents disappoint…lean on Jesus

When guidance is poor or lacking, and your path is diverted…lean on Jesus

When illness invades your body, mind, or spirit…lean on Jesus

When fear cancels all logic…lean on Jesus

When God feels like a stranger who just doesn’t care…lean on Jesus

When doubt fills your every thought…lean on Jesus

When actions cause negative consequences…lean on Jesus

When heaven feels far beyond your reach…lean on Jesus

When plans shrivel and die…lean on Jesus

When forgiveness isn’t easy, or doesn’t come at all…lean on Jesus

When you shatter and break, gather all the pieces at the foot of His cross…and lean on Jesus.

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/            Bookmark and Share

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Love is the Question Love is the Answer

JESUS My Lord and Savior ©-Anastasia Diamond

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As parents, we tend to love our children unconditionally…in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances, even when we do not like or approve of their actions or behaviors. As children, we tend to love our parents with expectations and conditional love. How much is this like our Abba Father’s love for us…and our response to Him?

God, our Father, loves us with a divine, unconditional love that gives us the free will to choose to reflect it back to Him…or not.

How broken-hearted are parents when their children do not return the love they feel and express to and for them? How can we even begin to measure the broken-heart of God the Father when we, His children, respond negatively to His divine love?

Clearly, God the Father and Jesus, the Son are our divine role model for earthly parent-child love.

Yet, even among those who know the Father and the Son…there is often conflict within the minds and hearts of parents and their children.

As parents, we are by nature positioned to forgive our children’s trespasses… with a genuine heartfelt love. However, the forgiveness our Abba Father and Jesus lovingly model and bestow upon all of us is often sadly missing from us to Him…and from children to their parents.

Many of us knowingly or unknowingly hold a grudge against God when disappointed due to unmet or false expectations of life and people.

We may say, “I am angry with God. Why did He do that? Where was He when I needed Him? He must hate me. How could He have let that happen? He is cruel. I will never forgive Him.” Does that sound familiar? Interestingly, these are also many of the things children often say to and about their earthly parents.

Children cannot learn to love their parents until they forgive them their human trespasses. God the Father and Jesus the Son, who love us eternally, model forgiveness and love for us.

Children…forgive your parents; that you may learn to love them. Parents continue to love your children unconditionally…that you will always forgive them.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/


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I like this Flower...I LOVE my Children

JESUS My Lord and Savior

©All Rights Reserved –Anastasia Diamond

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How often do we say, I love this or I love that…when talking about some thing that has no known eternal value?

Our casual wording gives everyday stuff a place of equal importance with the most treasured people and relationships in our life. In doing so, we speak words that unthinkingly may appear to lessen the value of our most important love relationships by comparison.

Should the words we speak equally compare the lustful attraction we may have to a chocolate chip cookie, piece of jewelry, an electronic gadget, a sport, a game, or a new car…with the blessings of the love we have for and share with, our children, husband, wife, parents, family, friends…or Jesus?

What a ridiculous comparison. Yet, every time we speak the word love in relation to stuff…we verbally exalt that stuff to a place of honor…while diminishing by comparison, the value of our love relationships with people and with God.

I don’t know about you, but I am wondering how I can possibly continue to use the same word when saying I love (fill in the blank with your favorite stuff) …I love you…and I love Jesus?

Continuing to do so feels like an implied insult to our loved ones…and most especially to the holy name and nature of God our Creator, His Holy Spirit, and His Son; Jesus Christ.

Clearly, English lacks the love-word options offered in Greek and some other languages. However, I can train the English words of my mouth to define the differences. Therefore, I challenge myself to this change.

This is my prayer:

Heavenly Father, I want the position of my heart and the words of my mouth to match.

May my words express that I like my stuff…and I love my people; most of all You dear God.

Father, I pray for Your Holy Spirit wisdom, discernment and knowledge…that I will make proper word choices to express my emotional attachment, attraction, or reaction to…all worldly stuff.

No matter what stuff I am talking about… I submit all stuff – every thing – to You for clarification of its’ true worth: home, belongings, gifts, music, movie, song, TV show, computer, car, circumstance, antique, money, flower, collectible, furniture, food, book, restaurant, color, clothes, shoes, phone, place….and more. I submit it all to You.

I pray I will remember to save all of my true love-words for people…and for You.

Dear Abba Father, I love You.

I pray You will continue to teach me…that I will receive and understand more from Your precious mind and heart of love.

These things I pray…in the name, power, and authority of Your Son, Jesus. Amen…and amen.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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The Royal Family of the KING of KINGS...With Privlege Comes Great Responsibility

The Royal Family of the KING of KINGS .....With Privilege Comes Great Responsibility

JESUS my Lord and Savior

©All Rights Reserved-Anastasia Diamond

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When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are grafted into the royal family of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Therefore, as is tradition in all royal families, with privilege…comes great responsibility.

Earthly sons and daughters of royalty have inherited an obligation to stand for the heritage of their time-honored family, and the world-presence of their nation. These royal offspring are given amazing favor, acclaim and protection wherever they go. However, they are also held to a higher standard. They are expected to be goodwill ambassadors for their family and kingdom …and to the people of all the nations.

The rest of the world watches these favored children. How are they different? How are they the same?  How do they live? What do they think? What do they say? Where do they go? What do they do? Who are they with? What are they wearing? What are they eating? What are they drinking? Watching – watching ever so closely… to see if they will stumble.

If for any reason these children of earthly royalty do fall, the watchers are there waiting…snaring, pointing fingers, and declaring their wrong doings for the entire world to see.

Some of these privileged children may choose to denounce their royal heritage. In doing so, they make life choices that are against the dictates of their royal family calling… and walk  from the covering of royal protection. In doing so, they choose to abdicate their honored position and relinquish all former royal favor and award. In doing so, they choose to not carry out their royal birthright responsibilities as a child of their king.  In doing so…to their family, kingdom, and the world…they become a commoner among the people.

Do you see similarities with earthly royal children and the blood-bought royal family of believers of Jesus Christ? He wore a crown of thorns for us…so we can be crowned in eternal glory with Him. By accepting and receiving our royal birthright as children of the King of Kings, we have acclaimed distinction and favor – coupled with a Divine covenant of mercy, grace and responsibility. And, because God will not force HIS will on anyone…we have free will to choose to follow Him…or the world.

The world also watches Christians. How are they different? How are they the same? How do they live? What do they think? What do they say? Where do they go? What do they do? Who are they with? What are they wearing? What are they eating? What are they drinking? Watching – watching ever so closely… to see if they will stumble.

If for any reason these children of heavenly royalty do fall, the watchers are there waiting…snaring, pointing fingers, and declaring their wrong doings for the entire world to see.

With the privilege of being HIS child…comes great responsibility. With the honor, favor and reward that comes with being a royal child of the Most High God…also comes the call to stand for His Kingdom. All Christians… AKA Christ followers, are called to be salt and light in the darkness. They are called to repent and turn from their sins. They are called to be pure and holy as He is pure and holy. They are called to live a righteous life…causing none who see them to stumble or fall. They are called be ready to give a testimony of the cause of their hope. They are called to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. They are called to anoint, lay hands, and heal the sick. The are called to not be ashamed of HIM. They are called to praise Him in all things. They are called to pray in the name of Jesus. They are called to judge not…lest they be judged. They are called to stand when all around them are falling. They are called to submit their will to their Father’s will for them. They are called to have God’s Word written in their hearts. They are called to live each day, ready to go home with HIM. They are called to be fishers of men. And then comes the call  to carry out the great commission…to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

Sons and daughters of heavenly royalty are Princes and Princesses in His Kingdom. They have inherited an obligation to stand for the Divine heritage of the family of God and the presence of His divine Kingdom. These royal offspring of the King of Kings are given His amazing favor, acclaim and divine hedge of protection wherever they go. However, they are also held to a much higher standard. They are expected to be Almighty God’s goodwill ambassadors for His eternal Kingdom – to the people of all the nations.

Some of God’s  privileged children may choose to denounce their royal heritage, in and through Jesus Christ. In doing so, they make a free-will choice that is against the mind and heart of God, and His perfect will for their life. They choose to step out from under His Divine covering of royal protection and Holy Spirit guidance. In doing so, they choose to abdicate their honored eternal position in heaven; relinquishing all royal favor and reward. In doing so, they choose to not carry out their royal birthright responsibilities as an anointed child of the King of Kings.  In doing so…they again become a commoner among the people.

You can choose to walk away from HIM and live in the world…to go the way of the world and do what they do. Or, you can choose to follow in the way of the Master. Choose wisely dear one. Worldly gifts and pleasures are temporary and tarnish with time. God’s gifts and rewards for HIS children are eternal and shine with HIS Divine Light. The privilege of being a royal child of the King of Kings comes with the blessing of the profound responsibility to carry HIS Word on the narrower road into an eternity with HIM.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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He leads me beside the still waters

He Leads Me Beside Still Waters

JESUS my Lord and Savior

©All Rights Reserved –Anastasia Diamond

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David’s 23rd Psalm reminds us that the Divine Shepherd’s rod and His staff will comfort us. Clearly – David makes distinction between the two.

His ROD is for discipline, correction…and reformation.

His rod comforts me. His rod bestows caution, reproof…and gives me wisdom. His rod, which may often feel harsh – is to protect us from a greater harm.

His STAFF is for leadership, assistance…and direction toward His narrower road.

His staff comforts me. His staff bestows supervision, guidance…and redirects my path. His staff, which may often feel restrictive – is to keep us going in the right direction.

The Good Shepherd tenderly cares for His sheep.

He comes alongside…watches over, directs and disciplines His flock…in love. We, being good parents – are to shepherd, correct and guide our children…that they will choose the right path.

Is our heavenly Father any different? Indeed not.  He has set the shepherding model through His rod and His staff.

Whether five years old, fifteen, thirty, sixty-five or eighty…we are often like rebellious little children in need of parental discipline and guidance. We are little sheep wandering about…in need of a shepherd’s rod and staff.

He is the Good Shepherd.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will correct, guide, and direct His sheep; that we will not wander too far from Him. That we will graze only where He allows. That we will drink only from His water source. That we will listen, and obey only His voice; that we will trust Him and follow only Him. That we will live a life of service to Him…and will remain in His flock forever.

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who sacrificed all for His flock…that none will stray. Not even one. Fear not little flock – trust in Him. Go where He leads. His rod and His staff will comfort you.

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used; provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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JESUS my Lord and Savior

All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010 -Anastasia Diamond

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My Abba Father loves me yesterday, today and forever

My Daddy Died…He Can’t Wear a Tie

My earthly father died in February the year I was seven years old. The following June brought an empty Father’s Day to a little girl still mourning the loss of her daddy.  However – to my first grade teacher – making a Father’s Day tie was the scheduled class project that Friday. Everyone would make a paper tie to surprise their fathers…even me.

With mist clouding my eyes, I attempted to refuse. I stammered as I told her I just couldn’t do that – my father was gone. He went to the hospital and never came back. She looked at me with unseeing eyes and listened with unhearing ears…telling me, “Everyone must make a tie today.”

Tears welled up in my eyes that morning, as they are again…this many years later. I protested – telling her as clearly as a shy and stuttering seven-year old could: “You don’t understand, my daddy died on the operation table…he can’t wear a tie.” I will never know this woman’s heart, mind, or motivation at that moment – as she continued her stern demand that I make that tie…and without tears.

My daddy can’t wear a tie…

I Felt Defeated…and So Very Small

I felt defeated and very small, as I  chose brightly colored crayons, thought of my daddy…and made him a paper tie that he would never see or wear. A tie that he would never applaud or make me feel special for giving it to him. My best friend hugged me and told me I made the best tie –  my daddy would have loved it. I started thinking that maybe he really could see it. However, I crumpled and tore it up before that Father’s Day came and went.

It took a while for me to forgive my teacher – but I did. However, I spent many more years missing my father…knowing I would never feel the safety of his arms again.  He would never again cuddle me to him and tell me how much he loved me.

I Know My Abba Father Was There

Today, I know that my heavenly Abba Father was there while I made that paper tie – loving me through my loss, grief, frustration and anger. Today, I know that He is with me in all of my struggles on my journey. Today, I go to my Abba Father, who draws me close and tells me how much He loves me – yesterday, today, and for eternity.

HE is the Father Who Always Has Time for You

Children – you may have a great relationship with your earthly father…or that relationship may be non-existent; through death, distance,  indifference or distain. No matter what the past or present circumstance with your earthly father, please know that you have a heavenly Abba Father, the Creator of all that ever was or is…who loves you more and better than anyone else ever will, could, or would. Please look to Him for the guidance, wisdom, advice, and love you seek. He calls you and all of His children to Him. He is the Father who loves all of His children equally, yet appreciates and acknowledges each of your individual precious and unique gifts and talents. He is the Father who always has time for you.

HE is Patiently Waiting to Give You Fatherly Guidance

Fathers – love your children. Look to your heavenly Abba Father for the strength, wisdom, courage, guidance, and ability to be the man He created you to be as you parent your children. Your Father God,  His Word, and His  most Holy  Spirit will show you the way. Seek out Godly counsel when you are confused, angry and unsure. Talk with your Abba Father. Tell Him your concerns. You can tell Him everything. There are no surprises with Him. There is nothing to big or too small to share with Him.  He is patiently waiting to give you the Fatherly wisdom, guidance, and advice you seek as you parent your children.

HE Sent His Only Begotten Son to Die for You

Celebrate this Father’s Day with your Abba Father. He is waiting to hear from you. He is the Father who loves you so much…He sent Jesus, his only begotten Son to die for you…that you may live.

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All Rights Reserved ©2009-2010…”JESUS my Lord and Savior-ANASTASIA DIAMOND’S Prayerful Reflections…and Photographs on a Spiritual Journey from Darkness into HIS Light” Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Anastasia Diamond is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided full and clear credit is given author/photographer and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content at: https://jesusmylordandsavior.wordpress.com/

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