Category Archives: God’s Faithfulness

The Not-Angry God, or The God Who Is Love

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I learned something this week, something amazing. I learned that God isn’t angry at me, and He probably never was. Now, that might sound like a no-brainer to most of you, but it’s a new and important revelation to me. I’ve been a Christian for almost fifty years, so you’d think I would know that by now, but I didn’t. In fact, quite the opposite.

Let me explain.

As my readers may know, I come from a very difficult background. My father, Harry, was an angry and abusive man who told me that God hated me everytime he abused me. He also forced me to lie about what he was doing to me by playing Russian Roulette with his revolver between my legs from the time I was about two years old onward. My mother did nothing to protect me from Harry’s abuse, and she also tried to kill me a number of times during my infancy.

So I’ve spent the vast majority of my life being afraid, even terrified, of God, and believing He was angry at me. Harry had told me the lie that God hated me so often that it had become a truth that was ingrained in my nervous system, and I believed it with every fiber of my being. I’d never known anything different, so it was perfectly logical that I would believe that.

Fortunately God had something different in mind for me than being afraid of Him, because not only does He not hate me, but He loves me. And He’s been actively showing me just how much He loves me for the past five years. It’s actually been a lot longer, but it’s only been in the last five years that I’ve experienced the most active healing. (Actually He started showing me how much He loves me two thousand years ago when Christ went to the Cross and died for my sins, but that’s part of my larger story, and not for this post.)

I should probably tell you how all this came about.

When I was about five, I made an ashtray for Harry for Christmas. You know, one of those ashtrays made out of clay that kids make in kindergarten? It looked more like a large bowl, but it was supposed to be an ashtray. Harry was a chain-smoker, so I thought an ashtray was something he would like and be able to use. I painted it yellow with green polka dots. I was so proud of that ashtray! I worked so hard on it, and I wanted so badly for Harry to like it!

Alas, such was not to be.

When he saw it, all he said was, “Oh, that’s nice.” Then later, when we were alone, he said, “That is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen,” and he smashed it into little pieces. Then he hit me and told me I was stupid for thinking he would like such an ugly thing.

I was thinking about that incident earlier this week, only this time when I thought about it, it was very different. This time, when I saw Harry smashing the ashtray in my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus enter the picture and pick up the broken pieces. Then He took the pieces and reassembled the ashtray. I could tell Jesus was pleased with my offering. If I’d made it for Him, He would have loved it. And once Jesus entered the picture, Harry became irrelevant and disappeared. Jesus had such a look of love on His face! I’d never seen anyone look at me like that before!

When Jesus came into the picture, everything changed. All the anger and hatred and pain directed at me from Harry was washed away by the love on Jesus’ face, and by the fact that He was pleased with my gift. I was able to forgive Harry because of the love Jesus showed me.

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. ~ 1 John 4:16, NLT.

I now know that the idea that God hated me truly was a lie. Even logically it makes no sense based on Scripture, as you can see from the verse quoted above. It’s impossible for God to hate anyone, because not only does He love, but He is love. I’m so grateful to God for straightening that out in my mind!

God is healing me more and more all the time, and I’m able to trust Him ~ and His love ~ more and more all the time. I feel excited every day because God is real in my life, and I wonder what new things I might learn about Him each day. Even when I’m depressed, I still feel excited ~ if you can imagine that mixture of emotions ~ because I know that God is active in my life regardless of how I feel. It makes me glad to be alive!

God is SOOO GOOD to me, and I love Him so!!

No Longer In Harry’s World

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Sometimes I get tired of living in this world that the devil is the god of. It’s a world chock-full of gimmicks and lies and tricks, and people who tell those lies, and trick you with those gimmicks.

And I find myself feeling exhausted because I can never let my guard down. I always have to be wary that someone will sneak up behind me with a new deception, except, according to the Bible, there’s nothing new under the sun.

That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9, NKJV.

I like the way the New Living Translation says it,

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9, NLT.

History merely repeats itself. In other words, the devil, the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) can’t create anything new. Only God can do that. So maybe, if I put my trust in God, and keep my focus on Jesus, while listening to the Holy Spirit, then I won’t have to be hypervigilant anymore.

I really like the sound of that!

I really like the sound of that because I’ve spent my entire life being hypervigilant, and it’s exhausting. Throughout my childhood I had to be, because my father (that’s who Harry was ~ he’s dead right now) was incredibly unpredictable. I could never anticipate where he would be next. He might jump out at me from behind a door, or spook me from behind, always with rape and abuse on his mind.

This kind of thing is overwhelming for an adult to handle, much less a small child! It’s no wonder I was hypervigilant!

There was one time when I was about four. I wanted to go into the kitchen to get a glass of milk. The door to the kitchen was a swinging door, and most of the time it was open, but this time Harry was standing in my way. He had this ominous look on his face, and I knew if I tried to go around him, I’d be in big trouble.

There was another way into the kitchen, through Mary’s and my bedroom, onto the back porch, and into the kitchen. But I knew if I tried to go that way Harry would chase me, and I would inevitably lose, because he was bigger than me. So no matter what I did I would get raped and beaten.

In my mind, however, I couldn’t just submit. It felt like I would have been giving in and taking the coward’s way out. I had to run the other direction, regardless of whether that made it worse or not. So I turned and ran towards my bedroom.

Of course, I didn’t get very far, because Harry was bigger than me and could run much faster, but I had to try. I had to TRY!!

He caught up with me somewhere in the middle of the dining room, between the kitchen and the bedroom, and seized my arm, jerking me off my feet, my legs flying. I started to shriek, but he grabbed my face, and covered my mouth so I couldn’t make a sound. Then he stuffed me under his arm and took me into my mother and his bedroom. He threw me down on their bed, and hissed at me that I would regret trying to run from him.

I’ll end my story there, but suffice it to say that, as usual, he raped me and slapped me silly.

As horrific as that event was, it was life as usual for me during those years. But God was there the whole time, keeping me alive and protecting me from the worst of the abuse, and I am so grateful that He was. Additionally, I’ve now come to see that I no longer live in Harry’s world ~ thank God!

It’s occurred to me that Harry’s world and the world of the devil were one and the same. Harry and the devil were best buds, and Harry tried to draft me into Satan’s kingdom, but thankfully God had other plans.

As I’m writing this, I’m all of a sudden realizing that God protected me from that aspect of the abuse in particular. I endured the ritual abuse, but rather than becoming a part of the cult as Harry and Satan hoped, God planted in me an overwhelming hatred for all things evil and satanic that has guarded my heart and mind throughout my life. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that! God is so good, and He’s so incredibly good to me!!

I have given them Your Word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. ~ John 17:14-16, NLT.

That’s what He did for me ~ He gave me His Word, and kept me safe from the evil one.

Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift! ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15, NKJV.

That’s how I feel right now. I’m so grateful to God for His unfathomable, inexpressible, amazing, marvelous, beautiful, and bountiful gifts to me. There are too many to count, so I think I’ll stop here!

God is so good!

Having Flashbacks In the Dentist’s Chair

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I broke a tooth yesterday, so I had to go to the dentist today. I didn’t have a dentist before yesterday, because I’m terrified of going to see them. Everytime you go to the dentist, they have to numb your gums, and everytime they do that, I can not only feel, but hear the POP of the needle going into my gums. It’s the creepiest thing, and it just terrifies me.

Until today when I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, I thought hearing the pop of the needle going into my gums was the only problem I had with the dentist.

Turns out I was wrong, very wrong.

So I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, and she told me to close my eyes as she was working on my teeth. I did that, but then I started seeing all these flashbacks. You know, Harry doing bad things to me. Only this time, the flashbacks were specifically about oral sex ~ I’m sure because the dentist was messing around in my mouth, forcing it wide open as she was drilling, etc.

Hence, the next time the dentist told me to close my eyes ~ once I could get a word in ~ I said I couldn’t because it made me have flashbacks, so she stopped suggesting it, thankfully. And as long as I kept my eyes open the flashbacks were held down to a dull roar ~ because once they’d begun, I couldn’t make them stop. I almost started crying, they got so bad.

I’ve known for years that Harry forced me to have oral sex with him. The very first memory I had back in 1980 was of him forcing me to have oral sex in the shower when I was about two years old. Then years later, I found a report from my pediatrician saying I had a rash around my mouth when I was about four, and I was fairly certain what had caused the rash.

And when I say oral sex, that’s exactly what I mean. Harry was forcing me to put his penis in my mouth, and my mouth was too small for it, so it made me gag and choke, which made him mad, so he started hitting me, after which I got confused and terrified, so I lost control of my bowels and pooped on the shower floor. That made Harry REALLY mad, so he picked up my feces and threw it at me, and then he forced me to eat it.

How can people be so beastly towards other people, especially towards innocent children? What did I ever do to him to make him hate me so?

I forgive him! I purpose in my heart to forgive him!

This was horribly difficult to write. It was a new memory, and it came up in public, and in a strange place, with people that I didn’t know, so I had no one with whom I could process it. I had to keep it all inside until I got home.

So I took myself to McDonald’s and got a Mocha Frappé to reward myself for adulting so well! Yay me! And more importantly, yay God, because I couldn’t have done it without Him. Throughout the appointment I was repeating a verse from Isaiah to myself,

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3, NKJV.

And then I personalized it,

You will keep me in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on You, because I trust in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3, personalized.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this verse to get me through a difficult situation like today, and especially once I started having those flashbacks. Being able to draw on the Holy Spirit, and the Father, and my Sweet Jesus by meditating on Scripture, as I did today, made all the difference.

As Jesus told the Apostle Paul when Paul asked Him to remove the thorn in his flesh,

“My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9, Good News Translation.

I was weak today, and I’m glad I was, because God is faithful and trustworthy. He always keeps His promises. He always shows up if we will only put our trust in Him.

I’m so glad I did!

Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Holy Spirit! Praise God! God is so good!

No Average Joes

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God created each one of us in His own image and after His likeness, and I believe He made each person unique and individual, like no other human being ever created before or after. God broke the mold, as the saying goes, after He was finished creating each person. So no one is average, no matter how boring you think you are. If you think you have nothing special to offer, then you need to ask God, and He will show you. EVERYONE has gifts and talents, regardless of how you see yourself.

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. ~ 1 Peter 4:10, NLT.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~ Ephesians 2:10, NLT.

The word, “masterpiece” in this verse comes from the Greek word, poiēma from which we get the word poem. I understand that to mean that God made me uniquely in His image, a masterpiece of His choosing, unlike any other person that He ever created before or after me, and all the other people who He created are also masterpieces.

Just as an aside, I think that’s why murder is such a terrible crime. When you kill someone, you are murdering a unique person who was created in the image of God, so you’re destroying the very image of God by killing that person, and you’re acting like God when you take that individual’s life. Look what happened to Satan when he tried to act like God. He got tossed out of Heaven, and demoted from Lucifer, one of the archangels, to Satan, lord over Hell. Only God should be able to decide someone’s time of death. God is the author of life, so He should be the author of death.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. 15 You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! 16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book! ~ Psalm 139:13-16, TLB, The Living Bible.

When I was little, every time Harry abused me, he told me he had to do it because God hated me. He also told me that I was as ugly as if someone had thrown acid in my face. Those two statements were like a litany repeated over and over into my mind until they became part of the wiring of my nervous system. It took an act of God to break them down so I no longer believed them, terrible lies that they were.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Harry probably felt those things about himself so he projected them onto me. It took many years as an adult for me to be able to believe that God loved me, and many, many more before I could believe that I wasn’t ugly.. What did the trick was changing my name back in 1980.

I decided I wanted to change my name so I could rid myself of the legacy of child abuse. So I went to the Bible to find Bible names with good meanings. I knew I wanted my first name to be Sarah, because it meant Princess. Then I found Abigail, which means “a joy to the Father.”

Then all I was lacking was a last name, so I started flipping through Strong’s Concordance. I happened to open it to a page in the Greek section where the work “kuriakos” appeared at the very bottom of the last column on the left-hand page ~ the very last entry at the bottom of that column. I think God put it there so it would be easy for me to find. And it turned out that “kuriakos” meant “belonging to God”.

How cool is that! I had my whole name! Sarah Abigail Kuriakos. God’s Princess, a Joy to the Father, Belonging to God. I thought I had never heard such a beautiful name in all my life.

Then I decided I wanted to do it legally, because it felt like a legal name change would be the only way for it to feel real to me. So I went to court and changed my name legally from the name I was born with to Sarah Abigail Kuriakos.

Changing my name has made a tremendous difference in my life. Every time I hear the names, I hear their meanings. Hearing the meanings has been like feeding a new litany into my nervous system to break the wiring created by the old one and replacing it with this new, healing one. I could almost feel the healing process as it was happening over the years.

So that’s that! I’m beautiful! I may not look like Raquel Welch or Marilyn Monroe, but I wouldn’t want to. I have a hard enough time being me, much less trying to be someone else. Besides, God didn’t make me to be Marilyn Monroe or Raquel Welch. He made me to be me, and for the first time in my life, I’m fine with that.

I love knowing that because God thinks I’m beautiful, I can accept and believe it about myself, and feel beautiful because God thinks I am. It’s marvelously freeing, though it took me several more years before I could get to that point, even with that wonderful and amazing name.

Finally I realized that God Himself had given me that name. And if He gave me that beautiful name, He must think I’m beautiful. And if God thinks I’m beautiful, then I must be beautiful, because God NEVER makes a mistake.

Think about that. God NEVER makes a mistake, so I must beautiful.

Hallelujah!! Thank you Jesus!!

I Am That Wretched Man (or Woman).

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O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? ~ Romans 7:24, NKJV.

Paul was writing this about himself, but in reality it could be said about anyone who is willing to admit that they are sinful and desperately in need of God’s saving grace. I am one of those wretched people, which is why this post is entitled as it is. I am the wretched person spoken of in Romans 7:24, as is every human being, whether they’re willing to admit it or not.

Thankfully, however, Paul didn’t stop at verse 24. Verse 25 follows immediately thereafter,

Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. ~ Romans 7:24-25, NLT.

This tells me a couple of things. Most obviously, it reminds me that I am a sinner, and then it emphasizes to me just how much I need Jesus and His saving grace. I thank God for His grace! I’d be dead without it! One of those nine suicide attempts would have succeeded had it not been for God’s efforts on my behalf.

7 But I must not be too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me. So a painful problem was given to me—an angel from Satan, sent to make me suffer, so that I would not think that I am better than anyone else. 8 I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me. 9 But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” So I will gladly boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, ERV (Easy-to-Read Version).

I like this translation best because it emphasizes the fact that God’s power works best when man’s weakness is fully acknowledged. And something that God showed me is that I don’t have to have a physical infirmity like Paul’s thorn in order for this to be true for me. All that’s needed is for me to recognize my total dependency on Him. I don’t find that hard to do, because I’m confronted many times everyday with how much I need Him.

As I stated above, I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for His working in my life from the beginning on. Either one of my mother’s attempts to kill me would have succeeded, or one of my own suicide attempts would have. And I like knowing that I need God that much. God has never failed me. He’s always kept His promises to me, He’s never lied to me, and He’s never betrayed me, unlike the humans in my life. God is completely dependable. He always has been, and He always will be.

There’s never been anyone like God in my life. Everyone I’ve ever known has betrayed me and let me down to one degree or another. So when I discovered that God was with me from the beginning of my life, protecting me from the worst of the abuse (the worst meaning Harry would kill me, which he threatened to do any number of times, or my mother would kill me, or the cult would), and keeping me alive until I could grow up and make my own decision to serve Him or not.

Of course I chose to serve Him after all He’s done for me!

So I may be that wretched woman, but I don’t mind, because Jesus is redeeming me every second of everyday. And God’s Word is true for me all the time, and is the foundation of my life.

I LOVE knowing that!! I LOVE being able to believe that and stand on it!!

No Shame Allowed

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Every once in awhile something happens for which, unaccountably, I feel so much shame that I can’t talk about it with anyone. I was able to talk with McT and one friend about it, but it’s taken me several days to convince myself that I need to blog about it.

In a previous post (A Cross Stitch, New Kitties, and Two Smoking Needles), I talked about becoming the proud parent of two new kittens. Well, on Wednesday, the 28th, five days after bringing them home, Margaret died.

She died! What am I to do? She died!

I felt such devastation that I was overwhelmed and at a loss for words, for action, for anything and everything. All I could do was cry out to God, “My God! Why? What happened?”

About twenty minutes before it happened, she had allowed me to pick her up and pet her. This was surprising to me, as she hadn’t let me come close to her at all before that. Then all of a sudden she let me hold her and pet her. I cuddled her for about fifteen minutes, then she got down and disappeared, and I continued to watch TV. Then I got up and tried to find her.

I didn’t have to look very far, because she was on the floor around the corner from the couch where I was sitting, and when I looked at her I could see that she wasn’t breathing, plus her mouth was wide open. When I touched her she was cold and stiff.

Shock coursed through my body. What did I do wrong? I left fresh food and water out for her ~ for both of them ~ at all times, and I made sure that the litter box was clean. Plus I changed the water every day. Surely I couldn’t have done something wrong, but maybe I did.

Did I kill her? I was terrified that I had done something to cause her death, but I couldn’t think of anything that I might have done. I had decided earlier in the day that I was going to take her to the vet the next day, because she needed to be seen, and because she had been acting like she wasn’t feeling well. But then she died before I got the chance.

I emailed the woman from whom I had adopted them, and told her that Margaret had died. She replied that she didn’t think I was responsible, that Margaret must have had some kind of undiagnosed heart condition. She said she would pay for a necropsy to find out the cause of death, but after doing some online research, we both decided that was way too expensive. I felt like I could accept her idea of an undiagnosed heart problem, so we both let it go at that.

So now I’m left with the confusion and desolation I feel because of her death, and the hole in my heart that’s there, even though I only had her for five days. And as I said at the beginning, unaccountably, I feel a huge amount of shame. I don’t know why, but I do. Somehow, even if her demise wasn’t caused by me, it must have been my fault. There must have been some way in which I was responsible. It’s not logical, I know, but there it is.

I wonder if at least part of it doesn’t go back to Harry blaming me for stuff that I couldn’t have been responsible for when I was little, and for the cult rituals doing the same thing. There was one particular ritual that they did when I was about two where I had to answer questions, and if I got the wrong answer, a man was slowly lowered into a bonfire and burned alive.

The problem was, the questions were unanswerable. There were no right answers, though there was no way I could know that, especially at age two. So I had to answer these unanswerable questions, get the wrong answers because there weren’t any right ones, and listen to the screams of agony of the guy as he was lowered into the bonfire. And the whole thing was all my fault ~ or so they told me.

Talk about the essence of torture, both for the guy being burned alive, and for little two-year-old me!

But I’m no longer living in that reality. I’ve been set free from that life, thank God. And interestingly, I named the other kitten Charlotte, and she, thankfully, is alive and well, even though she still won’t let me near her. I discovered in the process of deciding on Charlotte’s name, that “Charlotte” means “freedom”. Maybe that’s why God motivated me to name her that, I don’t know. All I know is that before I brought them home, the name Charlotte was the only name I could think of.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32, NLT.

And this is the truth that will set you free,

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10, NLT.

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” ~ [Isaiah 28:16, Greek Version], Romans 10:11, NLT.

So, regardless of how I feel, I must go on what Scripture says. If God’s Word says I am FREE, then I AM FREE. That means NO SHAME ALLOWED!! I did not cause Margaret’s death, and I did not cause that man to be burned alive!!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. ~ Galatians 5:1, NIV.

Untried Yet Guilty, Not Guilty Yet Condemned.

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I have a VERY difficult time trusting men. I think I’ve long since established that, but, considering that I’m using it as the premise for the rest of this post, I feel like I should say it again.

Because of my background I seem to be predisposed to see every man as a child molester, regardless of who they are or what they do. If I see a father with his daughters in a restaurant or walking the street, I feel afraid for those children, even though I have no reason or evidence to suspect that anything bad is happening to those daughters at all. It’s especially true for girls, but boys incite fear in me as well, because the statistics say that boys are abused as well as girls, though the incidence is less. 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of childhood sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

When I’m thinking logically I realize this is an unfair characterization, but I don’t seem to be able to change my way of seeing things.

This is just an observation, but it’s something I’ve been aware of for awhile, and something I would like to change. I could never think of being married to anyone, especially someone with children, because I’d constantly be afraid he was abusing his kids, and the marriage would quickly become intolerable, above all for my spouse.

There may be a few, a very FEW, who have escaped this unjust condemnation from me: God (and of course Jesus and the Holy Spirit); my therapist, McT; my pastor, Pastor Jack; and maybe Dr. Phil are probably the only ones who’ve made that list and haven’t fallen off by blowing it.

I’m always waiting for the other shoe to fall any time I begin to trust someone of the opposite sex, and in the past, they’ve never failed to fall short. Certainly Harry was the archetype for all the other people who were added to, and then fallen off my list, but there have been many other people since then who’ve also looked like they might be trustworthy, and then proven to be otherwise.

And it’s almost worse when someone starts out looking trustworthy, and then proves to be otherwise, because of the pain I feel when I find out they aren’t. There’s all the betrayal and abandonment I feel, plus the self-condemnation because I should have known better. I mean, I should know better by now, right?? After all these years you’d think I’d get it!

Thankfully, God is always trustworthy and faithful, though it took me many years to realize that and believe it. But I now know and fully believe that He is ALWAYS good, and ALWAYS faithful, and ALWAYS trustworthy. I now know that He will NEVER lie, that He will ALWAYS tell the truth. I’m so grateful for those facts!

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change his mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? ~ Numbers 23:19, NLT.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~ John 14:6, NIV.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV.