Searching for LOVE?

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No matter how you feel at this very moment- you can be sure of ONE THING:

Your Heavenly Father DEEPLY and PROFOUNDLY loves YOU!

This is HUGE!

We ALL NEED LOVE!

No matter our age, background, or social status, we all share one deep and powerful need- the need to be loved.  Love in itself is a very dominant and intense force. It drives our decisions and actions all throughout their lives. It is this desire that can ultimately guide us closer to the heart of Jesus.

It is when this “drive” pulls us away from God that problems begin to arise. It is when we take their eyes off of Christ that emptiness and desperation begin to grow in our hearts.

Bible Stories from the Heart is here to HELP!!!

Bible Stories from the Heart is motivated to help women use this drive to grow closer to God. We want to teach women everywhere that TRUE LOVE comes from God alone. The Bible is actually FULL of God’s LOVE.  God’s Word is in fact a huge “Love Letter” written to us from our Heavenly Father himself.

Our goal at Bible Stories from the Heart is for women to both comprehend and feel the incredible love of their heavenly Father.  Our Adult Coloring Bible Studies are written specifically for this purpose. Each lesson we write; including the focus scriptures, Bible history, poetry, discussion questions, reflection activities and meditative coloring page, are designed for this one purpose- to help all women experience the magnificent LOVE of God!

Are you ready to experience God’s LOVE in a bold new way?

If so, Bible Stories from the Heart is for you!

Our Adult Coloring Bible Studies are now available on Amazon!

Order yours today!

Learn how to FIND and FEEL God’s AMAZING LOVE!

God adores you!

Are you ready to open your heart to him?

Order your Bible Stories from the Heart Adult Coloring Bible Study now:

Draw in Nearer: Order Here

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Are you longing to FEEL God’s love?

Are you longing to FEEL God’s LOVE for you in new and POWERFUL ways?

If so, sign up for our FREE weekly devotions today!!!

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Christian Adult Bible Study 101 (with fun coloring pages)

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Have you ever sat down to study the Bible only to realize that are not understanding a single word that you are reading

Bible Stories from the Heart can help!

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Our easy step by step Bible study format will teach you a fun new way to read, understand, and apply scripture.

 

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A Road in the Wilderness

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This beautiful picture was painted by one of our Facebook group members:

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Feel free to paint your own directly on the free coloring sheet

Just right click the picture below to save and print….  then you can either color or paint directly

on the page!!!

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Isaiah 43:18-19 New King James Version (NKJV)

18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

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History Behind These Verses

Isaiah is a prophet.  A prophet is a person who is given directions or wisdom directly from God to share with a specific group of people. Isaiah was called by God to be a messenger to the Israelites. He spent the majority of his adult life doing just this.  When these verses were spoken by Isaiah, a large portion of God’s children were being held captive for the second time.  Years earlier the Israelites were held as slaves in Egypt, and now they were in bondage in Babylon.

Isaiah was sent to speak hope to God’s people.  He was sent to remind the Israelites of a few very important things. First, the children of God were to remember how God had earlier rescued them from their captivity in Egypt. Secondly, Isaiah was sent to warn the Israelites to not dwell on their past.  These two instructions:  to remember, and then do not dwell seem kind of contradictory.  Let’s take a couple of minutes to read some of the earlier verses found in Isaiah 43 so that we can get a clear picture of the exact message from God’s prophet. You will notice in verses 16-17 that Isaiah is quoting events which happened years earlier.  Verses 16-17 state some of the amazing events which took place during the Israelites’ escape from Egypt.

Isaiah 43:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV)

14 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
“For your sake I will send to Babylon,
And bring them all down as fugitives—
The Chaldeans, who rejoice in their ships.
15 I am the Lord, your Holy One,
The Creator of Israel, your King.”

16 Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea
And a path through the mighty waters,
17 Who brings forth the chariot and horse,
The army and the power
(They shall lie down together, they shall not rise;
They are extinguished, they are quenched like a wick):

So, why is Isaiah first reminding the Israelites about their past to only later tell them to not remember it? After researching these verses, I discovered two reasons for this “double talk”:  first, the Israelites were allowed to be held captive both times as a direct consequence from the sins they were committing.  God has forgiven them , and they must now forgive themselves and move forward in their relationship with God.  God is wanting them to not dwell on their past sins.

Secondly, the Israelites should remember the great and miraculous acts God has done for them in their past. Although all of these acts of were incredible and definitely worth remembering,  God does not want them to only dwell on them.  Doing so could limit His children’s future expectations.  The Israelites had witnessed some incredibly amazing things during their release from Egypt. These miracles should not be forgotten, but the Israelites need to realize that these past miracles are nothing compared to the miracles still to come. God is wanting the Israelites to look to their future with new and open eyes!  He wants them to realize that they are now free from their past sins!  He desires for them to look with great anticipation to their future lives with HIM!

http://biblehub.com/commentaries/isaiah/43-18.htm

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Key Words

Road

In

Wilderness

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/road

Road–   a way or course  

https://www.google.com/#q=definition+of+in

In–  expressing the situation of something that is or appears to be enclosed or surrounded by something else.

http://www.biblemeanings.info/Words/Geographical/Wilderness2.htm

Wilderness-  what is uninhabited and uncultivated , in the spiritual sense, where are no good and truth

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Connection To Us

Watch the news on any given night and you will begin to feel like there is no hope.  Our crazy world can cause us to feel depressed, scared, and alone if we are not careful. Satan wants us to feel these things.  He knows if he can somehow trick us into believing that we are living in an evil world all alone with no hope, that we will begin to do desperate things!!!  When we do these desperate things we move farther and farther off of the path that God has created for us!

I know that Satan is full of lies!  I KNOW that my God is still here with me and I know that there is still hope! When I look again at the key words found in Isaiah 43:19,  I realize that there is actually MORE than HOPE for us- I realize that there is an actual path paved for us! This path, if we choose to follow it, will lead us to ultimate victory!!!!

Look again at the definition for the word in:

in–  expressing the situation of something that is or appears to be enclosed or surrounded.  

I darkened key words so that we wouldn’t miss them:

“APPEARS TO BE ENCLOSED OR SURROUNDED”

Our world only APPEARS to be enclosed with evil!  God is STILL here!  He will never leave us!!!  As long as He is here LOVE AND HOPE are here!!!!  Never believe that you are alone or that our world is only filled with darkness.  You may be walking in a dark valley right now, but your valley will end- if you keep moving! Continue to follow God. He has a made way out! You must keep walking forward!!! You must NEVER give up!!  There is a path in the valley which God has created JUST for you!  God will lead you out!!!

God is ready and willing to LEAD each one of us Down OUR Road in the WILDERNESS!!!

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As I was writing this, I was picturing myself following God through a jungle.  The weeds and tall grasses were so thick that I could not see more than six inches in front of me.  I continued walking, holding my head down as I went so that the brush wouldn’t get in my face.  As I walked, I held on to God’s long white robe. He felt me holding onto Him and He comforted me.  He was never bothered that I was holding onto Him.  In fact, He moved very slowly and carefully so that I would be able to keep up. He NEVER left me or led me ASTRAY!!!  It was HIS mission to lead me!!!  He wanted to be with me!!!! He was actually creating the path as we walked!!!  HIS STEPS were going ahead of mine and clearing the way for me!!!!

I think THIS is how it TRULY is for each one of us!!!!  No matter where we are at any given moment God  is ready and willing to create a path OUT for us!!!!  Will you let Him lead you today???  Will you get up and walk????:)

Be of Good Cheer!!!!

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John 16:33 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

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History Behind The Verse

It is important to note whom Jesus is speaking to in this verse.  In this chapter of John, Jesus is having a loving conversation with His disciples. He deeply cares for them and their welfare.  Jesus knows that when His disciples see Him tortured and killed they will feel very confused.  Jesus is aware of what is about to occur.  Because His disciples are so dependent on Him leading them,  they will scatter like frightened sheep when they witness His capture. To prepare them, Jesus is taking some time to reassure them.  He is stressing to His disciples of God’s (and our) ultimate victory in the endJesus knows that He is within hours of being tortured and killed, but He is more concerned about His friends’ reaction to His leaving than to His own pain. This is so amazing! Jesus loves His disciples so very much!! He knows that within a few short hours these men will witness a horrible act of violence against their leader and companion. Jesus is speaking these words to them so that when this event does take place they can reflect back on His words and feel comfort.

Just as these men in the book of John were disciples, we are also Jesus’ disciples today.  The words that were spoken in this verse are just as relevant to us as they were the original group of 12.  We are Jesus’ disciples!  We will sometimes be tempted to run!  We mustn’t! We are His apostles!!!! We will sometimes feel like we are defeated, but we are NOT!!

What exactly is a disciple?

http://biblehub.com/greek/3101.htm

Disciple:

The original word in the New Testament wasn’t the word disciple, it was the word mathetes.

mathétés: a disciple

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Short Definition: a learner, disciple, pupil
Definition: a learner, disciple, pupil.

mathētḗs (from math-, the “mental effort needed to think something through”) – properly, a learner; a disciple, a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require; someone catechized with proper instruction from the Bible with its necessary follow-through (life-applications).

What is an apostle? 

After Jesus was crucified, the disciples became known as apostles.

http://www.gotquestions.org/twelve-apostles-disciples-12.html

The word “disciple” refers to a learner or follower. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent out.” While Jesus was on earth, His twelve followers were called disciples. The twelve disciples followed Jesus Christ, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. After His resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out to be His witnesses. They were then referred to as the twelve apostles.

What was the relationship like between Jesus and His disciples?

One thing we have learned from Jesus (the GREATEST teacher of all time) is this:

There can be no discipleship without relationship.

Jesus spent much of His time building a relationship with His disciples.

He truly desired a close, loving relationship with these men.

He desires the same with each of us today!!!

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Key Words

Be

Of

Good

Cheer

Be:    exist

of:     the relationship between a part and a whole

Good:  pleasing and welcome

Cheer:  cheerfulness, optimism, or confidence

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Connection To Us

As I read our verse today the word “of” really stood out to me.  I am a part of a family, I am a member of a ladies’ small group,  I am half of a marriage union.  You get the idea.  As I was pondering all of these examples,  I started to relate them back to the verse. Each time I  mentioned the word of, it was directly related to a specific group that I was a part of!  Some of the groups that I am a part of I chose to join and some of the groups I had no control over.

If you think about it, there are 2 main groups of people in this world:  one group is HEAVENLY minded and looks to their FUTURE as the source of their joy, the other group is EARTHLY minded and looks to their current situation to feel joy.  People who are earthly minded dwell on their present pain and tribulation, whereas people who are heavenly minded focus on the fact that their pain is only temporary. It is possible to actually feel joy while we are in the midst of earthly pain!  God has enabled us to experience separation in suffering. In other words, we can be in the midst of pain, but we can feel joy in the midst of our pain. We can be physically hurting but still have joy in our souls! We can be mentally exhausted, but still have peace of mind. I want to be intentional about which “team” I chose to align! I can choose to be Heavenly minded!

Consider this : athletes follow a “game plan” in order to win games the that they play.  As a member of the Heavenly minded team, we must do the same! We must have “plays” (VITAL daily routines) in place.  Our daily routines need to involve things which STRENGTHEN our mind in HEAVENLY WAYS:  reading our Bibles, reflecting on the promises found in God’s Word, listening to uplifting faith based music, surrounding ourselves with optimistic Christian friends. Our daily lives are VITAL workouts in faith!  The more time we spend building our Heavenly muscles, the more “full of good cheer” we will become!!!

****  A GREAT way to reflect on today’s devotion and scripture is to COLOR!!!  The coloring page found at the top of this page was created to help you GROW your Heavenly muscles!!! I challenge you to spend a few quiet minutes today coloring. As you color, think about the words found in John 16:33 and pray!  Let God speak to you and strengthen you!!! A team is only as good as their coach, and as Christians we have the ULTIMATE LEADER!!!  Devote some time today to sit quietly in the presence of our AMAZINGLY LOVING GOD!!!

Desires

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Psalm 37: 4 New King James Version (NKJV)
4 Delight  yourself  also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

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Context of This Verse

Psalm 37 was written by the prophet David later in his life. One duty of a prophet was to explain the laws that were given to Moses and God’s people. Many people were questioning the outcomes they were witnessing for people who did follow God’s laws. God’s people were confused as to why some evil people seemed to be receiving blessings while some followers of Christ seemed to be suffering for their faith. David wrote this psalm to explain God’s providence. Unlike David’s other psalms which are written as devotions, this one is written as a sermon.  The lines of this particular psalm contain imperative sentences.  David is giving us direct statements to follow in order that we can live a happy Christian life. God created each one of us.  He knows what will TRULY make us happy and satisfy us. This psalm is written to help us realize that if we look to God to fulfill us and if we long for MORE GOD instead of more “stuff”- then we WILL be happy! We should not feel jealous of those people who obtain lots of “stuff” and riches by doing evil things. They are not truly satisfied.  They will keep needing more and more “stuff”….  their happiness is focused outwardly and dependent on their circumstances. We, on the other hand, can have inward true  happiness.   True happiness is constant and not dependent on any outward circumstance. David is telling us that we can have constant joy and peace if we place our longings inward!  We will be satisfied and happy if we depend solely on the source of our true happiness ,OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, to fill us!!!  The Lord will provide for us with what we TRULY need to be happy! The more of HIM we accept the FULLER we will become!!!

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Key Word

Desires

Desire

noun
  1. 1.
    a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.

I think it is important to note that the author of this verse chose to use the word desire over the word want.  There is a notable difference between the two words.

http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-want-and-vs-desire/

Want vs Desire

When we say want, it is a simple desire for something that we do not possess already. A desire, on the other hand, is a more intense craving that a person has for something or someone. So the main difference between the two stem from the degree of longing. Desire being stronger and more intense, continues and grows for a longer period in comparison to a want, which can be considered as less in degree and time duration.

The word desire can be defined as a strong feeling of wanting something or someone. It is similar to a craving, which is more intense in comparison to a want. Unlike in the case of a want, a desire has a stronger degree of longing and the need for fulfillment. Unlike a want that come and passes away quickly, a desire stays a longer period. During this period, the person, who has the desire, attempts to make it a reality. For example, a person who desires to be a pianist would try to work harder and play well in order to achieve it. Also, by saying that the person desire to be a pianist rather than wants to be a pianist, brings out the strong feeling of longing and also that it has been there for a longer period of time.

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Connection To Us

Pregnant women crave or desire certain foods when they are expecting.  Their bodies naturally feel these cravings to lead them to ingest nutrients that both they and their unborn babies need.

God made our spiritual bodies to do the same!  God created us to CRAVE!

I believe ALL of us go through our lives with a feeling of wanting more- desiring more….   we somehow know that there is something (or someone) that we need to truly fulfill us and make us happy.  God created us with that feeling!  Longing for something more is not a bad thing.  It is that realization that we do need something more that draws us to closer to Christ! The problem lies when we try to fill that internal void with earthly things….. instead of feeling satisfied and happy, we begin feeling emptier.

Desires are not bad…….  they just  need to be focused in the right direction!!

I challenge each one of you today to PRAY for God to help you focus your desires away from earthly things.

Let’s be intentional about filling our voids in healthy, HEAVENLY  ways.

Trust in the fact today and everyday that  ……… God truly can GIVE us the DESIRES of our HEARTS!

You’re Not Alone

Feel free to join us in our upcoming Bible Study…  you are NOT ALONE!!!

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Everyone has heard of depression but very few discuss it openly.  We look through our Facebook newsfeed and see so many people sharing posts about political views, openly talking about religious views, and sharing funny pictures.  Yet, how many posts are shared about depression?  Very few.

I suffer from depression.  I was actually diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  It’s not as bad as it was in the past.  I don’t suffer from as many anxiety attacks but I know that I can’t watch a movie that contains death scenes that remind me of my husband’s death.  My family doesn’t talk about it.  To them, I’m just going through a mood swing.  They don’t openly acknowledge it and you know what, that’s OK.  I’ve learned to deal with that but I often wonder how different the environment around me would be if they did acknowledge it and did talk about it.

To read more about my personal experience with depression, check out my blog at Single Mommy’s Life: Depression is REAL.

DEPRESSION IS REAL

Depression to me has always been something you see on TV or a friend of a friend of a friend suffers from it.  I never in a million years thought that I would have depression then again, I never thought that I’d be diagnosed with PTSD or be going to therapy every other week.  It’s one of the joys (insert sarcasm here) of being a suicide survivor.

Depression is REAL and boy, does it SUCK!  I don’t know when I’ll get those mood swings and as much as I try to help it, I can’t.  I’ve done a lot to control them but it seems like they come whenever they feel like it.  The worst part is that no one in my family seems to understand that.  They feel that because it’s been almost 4 years, I should be better, or “over it” by now. 

What they don’t seem to understand is that it’s not that easy.  It’s not something I can control, because, believe me if I could control it, I would have by now!  I’m a control freak, I like to know every detail in advance and I like to be prepared for the unexpected.  Tell me we might be going out of town next weekend, and I will be asking: when are we leaving? when are we coming back? who’s all going? what are we going to do there? what about food? what’s the weather going to be like? etc.  Again, I’m a control freak lol.

But seriously, when these mood swings strike, all I want to do is hide under my covers and sleep or just be alone.  As a single mom, that’s HARD.  I can’t just tell my girls to leave mommy alone because she doesn’t feel like dealing with the world.  I know when they are older, they’ll understand or atleast be more understanding than my family but I can’t just ignore them.  They still need the only parent they have to be on top of everything.

See to me depression isn’t about wanting to end my own life like most people assume depression is to everyone.  For me, it’s just about not wanting to be around others, I have absolutely no desire to interact with the world or have the patience to deal with everyone’s emotions.  There is no rhyme or reason, and it comes at the most random times.  Again, no way to control it.

This weekend was a perfect example.  I have a full house, as in my (pregnant) sister, her bf, her 4yr old, my mom, the girls and I.  That’s A LOT of freakin’ people in my house.  Whenever my sister is around my mom, it’s like she becomes a whiny little girl (harsh I know but bare with me).  To me, my mom always had her favorites (my 2 youngest siblings) and normally, I don’t care but on days like the past 2 days, I didn’t want to deal with it.   God forbid, I so much as ask my sister to help because she’s pregnant.  My sister has a craving, go get it for her doesn’t matter what you’re doing, because the baby is craving something and I don’t have it. 

Which leads to the feeling I have that my mom plays the favorites game with my nephew and the girls.  I know she loves them all the same but she coddles him so much more.  This is where my depression really gets to me and I KNOW I should have stayed in bed.

So we’re at the store, he whines because I didn’t get the cart HE wanted.  I told him to not whine in the store and he takes a swing at me.  A freakin’ SWING AT ME!  Are you kidding me?!  You are 4 years old! I went to take him outside and my mom tells me to stop, to leave him alone, that he acts that way because of us….huh??  Normally, I wouldn’t care but I was in a funky mood and blew up on my mom.  I told her how I hate that they give special treatment to my nephew but not my girls.  This happened earlier today, I still haven’t really talked to her since then. 

It just goes to show that if I wasn’t feeling like this, I wouldn’t have blown up the way I did.  Depression for me is a beast.  I’ve tried reading different articles that might help, I’ve the stories of others but no luck.  No matter what I do, I can’t shake this.  I know sometimes, I blow things out of proportion, but it’s not like I do it on purpose.  My family doesn’t get it.

I’ve been going to therapy every other week for over 2 years to see if we can pin point what triggers my depression or the panic attacks I have but no luck.  They seem to be random.  It’s something I’m still learning to deal with and while I keep hoping it’ll just go away, I know I still have a LONG road ahead of me.

For those that deal with similar mood swings (depression or not), how do you handle them?  What helps you get by??

A Series of Small Stuff

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Great Through Series of Small by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Holy moly.  It always surprises me when I come across a piece I haven’t shared that I painted almost a year ago.  Sometimes I wonder if I paint too much.  Then I am like, “NAHHH!!! I can’t paint enough!”  Christ is so good that He is giving me all of these ideas!  I am trying to catch up with HIM.  He really has been working on me to paint words for Him for a long time.

But He needed to strengthen me.

Looking back, I would love to have not gone through my bad bouts of depression. (I know Jeff would prefer not to have dealt with those episodes!)  But at the same time, I grew from those times, I am a much stronger woman, wife, mom, and Christian.  Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t moved so many times. (I mean really; 5 states in 5 years was kind of nuts.  Who does that but crazy people?)  But if we hadn’t, I wouldn’t have so many amazing experiences, friends, points of view on different ways to live and worship Jesus.  I wonder what would have happened if I had listened way back 20 years ago and made HIS art then, instead of scrapbooking, painting pictures of farmer’s markets, and making all of those collaged cards (I even went to New York City thinking I could sell them).  But if I hadn’t tried all of those different things, I wouldn’t appreciate what He is doing in me now.  I wouldn’t have that background of different styles and techniques that shapes my art now.

Lots and lots and lots of small things in a long series.  Bringing me to do His work NOW.  All in HIS time.  What would have happened if one of those other things had broken me?  What would have happened if they had been successful?  Would I be where I am now?

Would He have strengthened me to this point?

Would I be ready to do HIS will?

Because I know now, my way doesn’t work.  My ideas aren’t always the best.  I can trust that He is using this world to shape me.  I can trust that there is a lesson in everything–no matter how hard it is, no matter how much I don’t want it, or think it will break me.

And more importantly:  I know that the great is not me.  The GREAT is JESUS.  Him working in me.  Him leading me to glorify Him.  It is so easy in our culture to get caught up in how great we think we are.  And that is not the point.  That is not when or how or what is truly great.

The series of small things brought together leads us to a life with what is truly truly great.  Faith in Christ.

I can only pray that He will use a whole string of more small stuff the rest of my life until I get to join Him in what will be the greatest of all.

How about you?  Can you look at your series of small things?  Are they leading you to the great?  Is God strengthening you?  Getting you ready for the great stuff?  Are you in the great stuff now?  Do you realize it?  I hope so!