Tag Archive | Encouraging

Inevitable Change

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Yes, that is a lizard in the picture!  I was outside checking on my plants the other morning, when I spotted this lizard being very still on the exterior wall of my home.   I really don’t do well with seeing lizards or any other little creatures around me, but this one had me reaching for my phone so that I could take a picture.  If you look closely, you will see what appears to be a white substance on the lizard.   My first thought was what did it get into, and then I realized that it might be shedding it’s old skin.

I tend to pay attention to the nature around me and I am always curious as to why God allows me to see or hear certain things. So after seeing this lizard,  I did a bit of research on lizards shedding their skins. I found out that shedding is an indication of growth and renewal.  I also found out that some lizards will eat the skin they shed for nourishment.  The shedding of the skin is an inevitable change the lizard will experience.

Does an inevitable change occur when we join with Christ? I surely hope so! Inevitable means that something is certain to happen.  Change means becoming or experiencing something different.  As we join with Christ we have to put away the former things and walk in our newness with Him.  Of course, this doesn’t mean everything will be easy from here on out, but it does mean we can find hope and peace in our newness with Him.  It means we can put all of our trust in Him instead of being so quick to worry and try to figure things out on our own.   It means we strive to be better and to make better choices.

II Corinthians 5:17(GNT) says “Anyone who has joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.”   When we join with Christ, are we similar to this lizard shedding it’s skin? I would imagine that in a way we are.  Hopefully, we are getting rid of what is old to embrace the new.  Hopefully, we are able to allow what we’ve been through to help us grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.  Just as the lizard may eat it’s shed skin for nourishment, we can take our past experiences to learn life’s lessons and move forward.

Another thought I had about this lizard shedding it’s skin is that you can’t put new wine into old wineskin.  Jesus says in Luke 5:37 NIV: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”  This parable came about when there was a discussion of John’s disciples time of fasting being compared to Jesus and His disciples not fasting.  Traditionally, fasting was a time of mourning over sins or an urgency for prayer.  Jesus was telling them it was a time of celebration; time to embrace a new covenant.  How often do we try to hold onto old traditions that no longer serve a purpose to help us move forward?  

When I was a little girl, one of my chores was to iron pillow cases after the laundry was done.  I have often wondered what was the purpose in ironing pillow cases when we were just going to wrinkle them as soon as we laid our heads on them.  I do understand it was to make everything nice and neat, but really, what was the point?  Fast forward to today, I’m thankful for wrinkle free pillow cases and those decorative pillow covers.  But just imagine, if I told you I was still ironing pillow cases! You’d probably think does she know how much better it is to embrace the wrinkle free and not waste time ironing! She’s ironing something that does not need to be ironed. There are times we just have to let go of the old traditions and embrace what is new.  (I don’t know if that analogy worked for you, but it made me smile!)  

Jesus offers us something new everyday.  The Bible tells us His mercies are new every morning.  What He offers us is so much better than what we have.  I would like to think the lizard felt so much better after the shedding process was complete.  Getting rid of the old and shaking off that extra burden from the old skin it was carrying around was probably a relief.  I’m sure it looked different from the appearance I captured in my photo.  I believe we look different when we grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.   We don’t wear worry  on our faces as much.  We don’t look like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, because we know  we can cast our burdens on Him.

As you draw closer to Christ, I encourage you to embrace the inevitable changes that should occur in your life.  You have to get yourself to a place where you don’t do certain things you used to do.  You have to resist fleshly desires and seek God for strength and direction.  You have to increase your faith in Him, and make wise decisions concerning you and others.  You have to pray more and study the Bible more.  You have to shed the old and embrace the new.

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Father, we come before You and give thanks to You for being a gracious and merciful God.  We thank You for being wonderful and loving towards us.  Lord, we thank You for all things new.  We know You are the one Who makes a new way out of what was the old way, and we look to You for all we need.  Dear Father, we seek Your guidance for the inevitable changes in our lives because of our relationship with You.   We ask You to  cleanse us with hyssop; give us joy and gladness in bones that were once crushed.  Lord, we know as we embrace change and seek You to forgive us that You hide Your face from our sins and blot out our iniquities. Lord, as we join with You and change for the better, create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us.  In the precious name of Jesus, amen!

While You Wait On God

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When you don’t know what to expect in your personal circumstances or what to expect in what is going on in the world today, expect God.  The definition of expect means to regard something as likely to happen.  Today, I encourage you to  expect God to show up and to work everything out on your behalf.   Expect God to make a way out of no way.  Expect God to be your Healer, your Provider and your Protector. While you wait on the Lord, you should wait with an expectancy.  Expectancy means the state of thinking  or hoping that something pleasant will happen.  While you wait on God, expect Him to be your Strength, your Hope and your Peace.

Psalm 130:5-6 says ” I wait on the Lord, my whole being waits and in his word I put my hope.  I wait for the Lord more than the watchmen wait for morning, more than watchman wait for the morning.” NIV

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Dear Father, thank You for being everything we need.  While we wait for You to do great and mighty things, we wait with a joyful expectancy.  We know that as we wait on You, Lord, You will move in a mighty way.  Dear Lord, even in the midst of chaos,  we still wait with an expectancy knowing You already have the victory.  While we wait, Lord,  we wait with our whole beings and we stand firm on the promises of  Your word.  Lord, we thank You that we can walk by faith and not by sight, confidently expecting Your promises to be fulfilled in our lives. In Jesus’ mighty and precious name, amen and amen again!

 

Thankful 2B Thankful

 

Be Thankful!     The other morning as I was saying my prayers, I said “Lord, I know I tend to be thankful for the same things over and over again. I thank You for waking me up. I thank You for my life and allowing me to see another day.  I thank You for keeping my children, siblings and friends safe. I thank You for the followers on Broken-2b-Restored. I thank You for a roof over my head and food on my table.” I said, “Lord, I know I sound like a broken record and that I am always thankful for the same things.” But then I said, “Lord, I am just thankful to be thankful!”

Thankful to be thankful! This made me realize that I have not always told Him Thank You. As a young person in college, I would just get up and take everything for granted.   As I became a full time employee, wife, and mother, I would wake up and maybe say a brief Thank You, but then I would just go on about my day.  Reflecting on this and how He has kept me over the years, made me realize even more how thankful I am.

Like most, I have been through my share of  ups and downs.  I have had some major disappointments and personal challenges that weighed heavy on my heart, my body, and my mind. I have wondered how the bills were going to get paid: how was I going to free myself from a verbally abusive and controlling spouse, or how I was going to be a good mother to my children.  And today, when I look back on where I was and where I am now, I am so very thankful.  I am thankful to be thankful, because of how God has kept me.  He has protected me from the seen and unseen dangers.   He has kept me and my children safe; He has clothed and fed us; and He has always provided us with a roof over our heads.

As I grew closer to God and I learned to ask Jesus to intercede on my behalf, my perspective on being thankful changed. I stopped taking it for granted that I just woke up each morning.  I know that God’s mercies towards me are new every morning, even when I tend to thank Him for the same people and things over and over again. I know I can repeat these words of thankfulness and also add onto it as each day passes, because He waits to hear from me. I know He has always provided for me and that He will continue to do so.  Yes, I have continued to experience the ups and downs that come with living this life here on Earth, but I’m thankful for every day, every blessing, and every lesson learned.   I am thankful to be thankful.

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Dear God, thank You for keeping me and my family covered under Your mighty protection.  Thank You for continuously blessing us and showing us how much You love us.  Thank You for my life, health and strength. Thank You for allowing me to see how good You have been to me, and for teaching me the lessons to be learned from heartbreaks and disappointments.  Thank You for Your grace and mercy towards me. Thank You for Jesus and Thank You for The Holy Spirit. Lord, I am just thankful 2b thankful! In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 NIV

Every good and  perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of fristfruits of all he created. James 1:17-18 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

Do not be anxious about anything, but  in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 NIV

 

 

What Will You Say To Your Mountain?

 

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Matthew 17:18-21(NIV) tells us ” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.  Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why, couldn’t we drive it out? He replied “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A mustard seed of faith against a mountain?  Can you visualize that picture?  Do you know how small a mustard seed is and how big mountains can be? And when you look at what Jesus said, that is exactly what he meant.   Yes, a mustard seed is very small.  Yes, mountains are huge.  However, if you trust and believe just a little bit, you will be surprised as to how things can move mightily in your circumstances!

When challenges and frustrations start to overwhelm you, speak to them just as Jesus said to speak to the mountain.  When you feel you are under attack, rebuke the schemes of the enemy just like Jesus did over the little boy.  So often, we see how God blesses and/or delivers others and we don’t understand why our prayers did not manifest into the blessings and actions we spoke.  Could it be we have focused too much on our mountain and not enough on our faith? Today, I encourage you to focus on your faith, no matter how small or weak your faith may be, speak to your mountain and believe it can be moved. Sometimes the mountain is not as close to you as you think it is, and when you keep trusting God the mountain starts to get smaller and eventually disappears from your circumstances.  All you have to do is have a mustard seed of faith and believe that nothing is impossible.  Can believe in your faith in God enough to move the mountain? What will you say to your mountain?

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Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today with just a mustard seed of faith.  And, with this tiny seed of faith, I believe that my situation is already better.  I believe that mountain of frustration is moved; I believe the financial obstacle is no longer in my way; I believe that all manner of sickness and disease in my body is gone. I believe the enemy is under my feet and no longer in my way. I believe you are taking my mustard seed of faith and showing me that nothing is impossible, and that I can speak to the mountain in my life and it shall move. Right now I am telling the mountain with my mustard seed of faith  to move!  In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen and Thank You!

 

 

 

I Thought The Chair Was Empty

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As I write this blog, I am visiting a location near Cleveland, Ohio.   When I left South Carolina the other day the temperature was 81 degrees, and  when I arrived in Ohio the next day, it was 39 degrees.  Driving through the streets to get to this charming apartment in Ohio, I could see what was left of a light blanket of snow that had fallen the night before. It’s always fascinating for me to see snow blanket the ground and rooftops, especially before it gets too messy.

I share this with you because this morning, I find myself sitting alone at breakfast having a bagel and coffee. (It’s cold outside and right now I am not ready to venture out the front door.)  There are only two chairs at this table and the “empty” one is directly across from me.  As I looked at the “empty” chair, I began to think what if Jesus was sitting in this empty chair and what would I say to Him?

Immediately, I began to think I would tell Him about things in my life I did not get right.  I would tell Him about the wrong decisions I made and how my thoughts and actions often got me into some messy situations. I would let Him know that my heart had been broken a few times and how I had struggled with forgiveness.   I figured if I brought all of this up myself, He wouldn’t have to tell me about how I mishandled things.  As I looked across at what I thought was an  “empty” chair, I heard Him say to me “I love you”.  There was no bringing up the past.  There was no making me feel ashamed. It was just those three words, “I love you.”

As I sat across from this chair with tears and rejoicing in the revelation it was not really  an empty chair, I felt so blessed. It is such a great feeling to know you are loved unconditionally.  Others may bring up your past and remember all the bad stuff,  but not God.  The Bible tells us that He knew each one of us before we were formed in our mothers’ wombs. He knows all about us and He knows what we are going to say and do before we even utter a word or make a move.  He loves us in spite of the mistakes He knew we would make. He is such a loving and compassionate God.

As I took another look at this chair, I began to thank God for blessing me today with His presence, His love and His amazing grace.   The chair in front of me was filled with compassion, strength, joy, peace, hope and most importantly it was filled with the love of Christ.  Whenever Jesus is seated at the table with you, the chair is never empty.

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“Lord, You know everything there is to know about me.  You perceive every moment of my heart and soul, and You understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.   You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and You know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence!   You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future and prepared the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.”

Psalm 139:1-7 The Passion Translation

 

 

I Was Broken 2b Restored

I am rejoicing today because the Lord blessed me to wake up on my 57th birthday, and because this is also the 7 year anniversary of Broken-2b-Restored.

I shared my first post on my 50th birthday on November 2, 2011.  When I prayed about starting this blog the Lord gave me the title Broken-2b-Restored.  I knew I wanted to write words to share some of my testimony in hopes my experiences would encourage and lift up others.  I also knew I wanted to share with others how to love God while also, learning to love yourself in spite of experiencing brokeness.

I must admit that in my younger years I was not sure how to love God and how to allow Him to love on me. I would feel that I was not worthy of His love.  I would wonder how could He love me when I didn’t spend time with Him like I should.  I kept thinking I have to get myself together in order for Him to love me and to bless me.  Also, I resisted feeling His love because of how others who said they loved me mistreated me.

I have since learned that no matter how broken or hurt I was, God has  always been there unconditionally loving on me.   When others have turned their backs on me, walked away and mistreated me, God was always there to lift me up and keep me going. When others did not tell the truth about me to justify their own bad behavior, God was always there to comfort me and to not allow me to wallow in self-pity or unforgiveness. When my own choices and decisions caused me hurt and pain, God has always  been there for me to lean and depend on.  God would not allow me to give up, give in or give out!

How could I not see His love for me and how could I not understand that in spite of my brokeness, He was going to love me anyway?  No matter how many times I experienced brokeness, God never left me.  I thank God for His revelation and  transformation in my life!

I was broken 2b restored and I was restored because of His love for me.

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Dear Lord,  thank You so much for another day in my life.  Thank You for all the grace and mercy You have shown me over the years.  Dear Lord, I know  I would not be who I am and where I am if it had not been for your precious love for me.  I thank You for the precious blood of Jesus that was shed for me.   I thank You for the comfort of the Holy Spirit Who abides in me.   I am so grateful that in my times of brokeness You have loved me and restored me.   I was broken 2b restored and I am forever grateful! In Jesus’ name, I say Amen!

“Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.  You, Lord, preserve both people and animals. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!  People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.  They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.  For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.”   Psalm 36:5-9 (NIV)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Now, God?

It’s been well over a year since I published a post on this blog.  Many things have occurred in my life since I wrote ” Moving Forward”.  I have moved to another state, gone through a divorce, become an empty nester and most recently, I celebrated my 55th birthday!  Over these months, I have thought about writing, I have wanted to write and I have been blessed with many topics to write about. However, for some reason, I have not been able to write. Even when I have tried to write, I could get no further than a few sentences.  In fact, I am in awe right now that I have finished a complete paragraph.  Praise God!

I have been asking God when do I get to write again?  I have been asking, what now, God, for so many areas of my life which also include continuing with writing this blog. Over and over again, I kept hearing, “be still” or “not yet”.  I have been spending quite a bit of time alone talking to God and trying to declutter my own thoughts so I could clearly hear Him. From my own spiritual perspective, I felt like I was stuck! I’ve been reading the Word of God, listening to message after message, reading devotional after devotional, playing worship music and trying to utter prayers in hopes of moving things along. As much of this as I have done, I kept feeling like I was stuck, like I was not really moving forward.

So today, the question, “What Now, God”, arose in my spirit again. After I left church service and thought about the Word that was ministered to us today, I kept asking “what now?”  This was not the theme of today’s message at church, but as I thought about some of the things the pastor said, I kept thinking what now, God?  And now, this evening as I powered on my laptop, and I started to draft this post, I started to read 2 Chronicles, Chapter 20 verse 12 when Jehoshaphat said “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You”!  Jehoshaphat was surrounded by his enemies. He was stuck, but yet He knew something had to be done.  He felt powerless, but yet he knew he could go to God and ask, what now?  (Of course, that’s not quite how he phrased it.)

And the Lord answered him with don’t be afraid or dismayed at how great the multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s!

Are you feeling powerless? Stuck? Is your back up against a wall? Heavy burdened? If so, it’s ok for you to ask, what now, God? Then, listen for His voice to say, my child, you don’t have to feel stuck, you don’t have to feel like I have left you alone, you don’t have to think that I brought you this far to leave you!  The Lord is saying to you, stop thinking that you won’t be healed, or you won’t overcome the depression or you won’t be delivered from the addiction or you won’t be set free from the shame or guilt.  Stop looking at how  the enemy has come at you with health issues, bad thoughts, family troubles and financial burdens.  Don’t let the enemy make you feel like you can’t finish school, or that you won’t get the job or the promotion. Let God work all of that out for you, let Him fight the battle for you!

In verses 16 and 17, God gave Jehoshaphat clear instructions about the next day. God said, tomorrow go down against them, you will see them coming up against you. God said, but you don’t have to fight, just position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!

Did you get all of that?  When you feel surrounded by the attacks on your life, when you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances, when your flesh is getting weak, ask God “what now” and get in position for your breakthrough! Your enemy is not prepared for your “what now” prayer!

God says, He is going to ambush those attacks coming against you. He is going to move you from that place of being stuck to victory!  He is going to defeat your enemy and scatter your naysayers.  You need to start praising HIM this evening for what HE is going to do tomorrow!  In verse 21,  Jehoshaphat appointed some to sing  for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of His holiness.  Their praise was “give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love endures forever.”

This is your notice, you have been appointed to praise Him!  Tomorrow is your day of victory!

When we ask, what now, God?   He answers with  “This is not your battle, this is the Lord’s battle and God will fight for you!”

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Dear Lord,  I thank You for my “what now” moment and that I can look to You for guidance, protection and a strategy for my circumstances. I thank You for letting me know this is not my battle, but Yours.  I thank You for getting me out of this place of being stuck and surrounded, and for ambushing my enemy!  Lord, I am going to praise You right now for the victory!  Lord, because You are fighting my battle for me, I have a great expectancy for tomorrow!  In the mighty name of  Jesus, Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

2015: Taking My Praise With Me!

As we approach 2015, I have read quite a few posts about what people will leave behind. Naturally, they want to leave the hurt, the pain and sorrow, disappointment, betrayals and all negativity behind.    I also started to ponder over what I would leave behind, but then I started to consider what I would take with me.   As I enter into 2015, I am taking my praise with me!

I am entering 2015 with praise and I am excited about all God has in store for me.   2014 has been a great year for me even in spite of some challenges and circumstances that came my way. Through it all, I made the decision to trust God and give Him praise even during the times when I was struggling, hurt and brokenhearted.  In the midst of tears flowing and wondering why I was going through what I was going through, I would tell God that I trusted Him and that I was going to praise Him no matter how I was feeling!  As down as I would feel at times, I would continue to praise Him because I knew that my joy was on the way. I knew that He had never left me or forsaken me. I knew He was restoring what was  broken and He was still blessing me.  I continued to praise Him even when I didn’t feel up to it and I continued to praise Him even when I thought He was silent in my circumstances!

I am definitely taking my praise into 2015. My praise gives me hope and peace. My praise tells God that I trust Him in all areas of my life.  My praise allows me to rejoice in Jesus who died just for me.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

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I pray, in the wonderful name of Jesus, that you enter 2015 with praise, and that you have a Happy and Blessed New Year!  I pray you shout for joy, because His love endures forever!

A View Versus A Vision!

 

The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17)

We do not see what God sees.  We see what is currently in front of us and God sees our future, our destiny and our purpose. We have a view but God has a vision.  A view is the actual extent or range of your vision.  Vision is the power of anticipating that which may come to be! In the scripture above, Abram had a view of the land in front of him. The vision was in the length and breadth of all the land and the offspring to come.  The view to Abram was that he and his wife, Sarai, were too old to have children.  The vision was the offspring that would be too numerous to count!

Our view is so much different from God’s vision.  We see our current situation and God sees what will come to pass.

The view is the struggle; the vision is the victory!

The view is the cancer; the vision is the healing!

The view is the unemployment; the vision is the new business!

The view is living from paycheck to paycheck; the vision is the harvest!

The view is the  problem; the vision is the praise!

Abram was a man of great faith.  He made a decision to trust and believe in God’s promises to him.  As he walked through the length and breadth of the land, he experienced some setbacks and some situations, but he kept on walking in faith.   Are you focusing on your current view right now? Or has God given you a vision?  Continue walking in faith.  God has plans to prosper you and give you hope for your future!

Don’t give up!

Don’t let the view distract you!

The vision is so much better!

To the persecutors of Jesus, the view was death on the Cross.  The vision was eternal life and salvation!

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Dear Lord, I am thankful that you have better things in store for me than I what I can see right now. I am thankful that Your vision will bring me through this current view that I have.  I am leaning and trusting on You, Dear Father, as I take this walk of faith to get to where You would have me to be!  In Jesus’ name, I say Amen!

He’s Been So Good To Me!

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I am rejoicing!

He’s been so good to me!

I have unspeakable joy

He’s been so good to me!

I  delight in my Lord and Savior

 He’s been so good to me!

I have an overflow of praise

He’s been so good to me!

I am more than a conqueror

He’s been so good to me!

I am blessed beyond measure

He’s been so good to me!

I am the head and not the tail

He’s been so good to me!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made

 He’s been so good to me!

Again, I say, I am rejoicing

Because He’s been so good to me!