Even If…

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These last few months the words resonating in my heart are, “Even If.”

We have had many changes in our life recently and I hate change. My body reacts even when I tell myself everything is fine and all the changes have been for a great purpose and plan.

One of those changes involved us leaving a church of the last five years and follow the Lord in His leading to our next. We knew that we were called but not the why, to our calling.
I told the Lord, even if I don’t have the answers, I will listen to your voice. So in faith, we stepped forward in the plan for our life.

Even though leaving the team of people we had grown to love hurt my heart, I had to obey what I knew to be true and serve my God and husband first. Even if it meant uncomfortable change and new people, a new place and a new level of finding my self in the midst of ministry, I had to say yes.
Even if it means admitting that I took on roles at our previous church that were not my own to take on, in order to try to fill up the restlessness within me.
Even if it meant stepping into a new realm of vulnerability. Even if.

I know there are many purposes for following the Lord in the Even If seasons of our life.
I know that God has done many amazing things in the last 4 months and He has not even touched the surface. But in this process, He has stirred a call I had felt at 15 years old in youth group. Life happened and the leading faded but was never gone. I had begun a collection of paintings in the last few months and titled them “Women of the World.” Little did I know I was painting the very call within my heart…
The call to serve with mission teams.

Here the thoughts would rise up as the stirring would come, but then so would the excuses. Most of which was linked to how I am doing in this season physically. But the thought would not leave that I was called to go and serve.
The stirring rose afresh as I sat with the new church congregation and heard about the heart of serving in Baja Mexico at the Door of Faith Orphanage.
I had every excuse, but the tugging kept coming.
We had no money in savings and the trip was coming fast. I have been in an unbelievable flare physically. We just received additional fees to add to a huge bill from hospital tests and then a few days before DHS sent a bill for overpayment when we were foster parents. This doesn’t account for all the other life needs on hold at the moment.
But mostly my heart I didn’t want to hurt over leaving the orphans and I felt as if I had nothing to offer.
I felt that with my physical limits Dan would have to go and he has absolutely told me over the years this was NOT his area of calling. All these thoughts and excuses rushing my head and I still felt my heart-tugging… EVEN IF. Even if there is no way, God can make the way. Even if there seemed to be too many obstacles, God is able to move those obstacles. Even if I have my doubts…HE is faithful despite them.

So I prayed. I said, God if you truly want me to move in faith as your word says, faith without works is dead, then I am going to be as Gideon and request that you show me without a doubt that it is you that I am hearing and not just my over compassionate mama heart.

These were my conditions as I spoke to the Lord:
I need Dan to go with me. I will not ask.
I need the leader to come to me directly who I have not yet met and tell me that He feels I am to join the team.
I need the provision.

Service was over and Dan leans to me and says, ” I feel like I may be called to go on the mission trip.” I kid you not my mouth about fell to the floor. I may even have laughed out loud. You have to know this is absolutely a tugging from God. He would have not been opened to the idea otherwise.
I was stopped by a friend and visiting after church. I looked over at Dan and He was talking to the leader. Dan called me over and as I was introduced, the team leader said, “God highlighted you to me, I feel you are called to go on this trip.” (paraphrasing as I can’t remember exact words). At this point, I knew and I just nodded my head and said as much.
Now we are waiting on provision and believing for the plan to unfold as we walk out the little hiccups of life in the planning process. The trip is coming fast!
With my lack of knowing where the funds would come from and a time crunch, we had started a go fund me even though I felt so foolish in doing so, I said again…Even If.
The fees for the passport came in first at the Go Fund Me site as well as the cost of plane tickets that were mailed to us. I saw how it was exactly what we needed when we needed it.
We are over halfway to our goal and I know the rest is already accounted for. We are praying for the paperwork we need to move forward will come quickly as Dan had to order his birth certificate before getting a passport. We are on a time crunch. But of course, God already knows this.

I am excited. I know there are many purposes for following the Lord’s leading. But I am still reminded to hold fast to those words… Even If… because often His call does not match my human understanding. Even If I don’t see it, I can rest assured that HE knows it. Even… If.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

Endurance: Follow up on “Painful” post

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Yesterday I had blogged on the issue that making a change is often painful or uncomfortable. The post can be found (here).
I now want to address maintaining our endurance when the pressure is on while making those changes. When we are hit from every side and when things become uncomfortable or we feel week there are tools that can help us keep us pressing on without giving in to defeat.

ENDURANCE: The power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.

I look at the strong athlete, able to overcome his opponent in victory and the sheer satisfaction on the face, the release of tension in the body and the knowledge that their endurance saw them through. They would not have become the victor over another seasoned athlete if they had not prepared for that victory and fought through the uncomfortable. We were created to be overcomers. We have it within us to overcome the things that are weighing us down and holding us back. We were built to be victorious.

How I will endure the difficult:

Desire: Do you really fully want that what you are working towards? Having the desire to overcome and obtain your victory will help you keep your mind on the reward rather than the struggle. If you want a change and if you want the victory, purpose to make it a desire of your heart that is bigger than the comfortable.
I’ve made sure my desire lines up with the word of God and His will for me. Then I can know with all my heart, soul and mind, that I can obtain my goal even in the midst of pain for the moment. He will go before me, as I stay steadfast on the path.

Psalm 37:5- Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Confidence: Being bold enough to know that you will see victory, in the end, as your flesh comforts rise up and you want to give in, having a deep knowledge that you can, will go a long way to keep your head in the race until the end. HE is my victory.

Philippians 1:6-Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Focus: Know what you want. Know the goal. Keep your eye on your victory. If I look at the here and now, I may give in to what is more comfortable. Yet, when I keep my eyes on being the overcomer in my present uncomfortable situation, my moment pales in comparison.
Know it, see it, and do it.
For me, I focus on the fact that God is faithful. His ways are higher than my ways. I know He will remain with me and I find my endurance in His truth for my life.

Colossians 3:2- Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

Strength: Le’ts face it, we get weak. We want to give up. So building our strength in the downtime, keeps us ready to fight and walk-in endurance during the difficult process. We can build our self up physically but I also must remember that the true strength to endure the difficulties in this life, comes from my Lord. He is my strength and shield. Building myself up in the Spirit is very much as important as building up my physical self.

Colossians 1:11- being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

Philippians 4:13- I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
These are the few truths that I am thinking on today, as I face the race ahead of me. I desire the change, I desire the health and I desire the victory. I am confident that these desires, are the same desires of my God and He will remain faithful to strengthen me to reach the desires of my heart. I will remain steadfast and strengthened in my endurance despite the unpleasent. One day I will have that smile of victory on my face, the shoulders relaxed from a job well done and I will be able to say that I overcame.

 

Fight the Battle

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One thing I have discovered with life… there is always something.
There is always an opportunity of one kind or another to fight the battle ahead.

When the battles seem overwhelming our nature may be to retreat. Some of us are fighters and some of us need to learn how to fight. Others are natural warriors that don’t see anything but victory ahead in the midst of it all. This is how I want to fight the battle.

I want to be the warrior that sees their victory ahead of the attack. Just as a good coach, sees victory for his team and focuses on the win rather than the idea of loss, I want to set my sight on a glorious outcome rather than the moment I am fighting the battle.

How do I walk this out? How do I fight the battle, when I feel the onslaught of ‘life’ coming at me from every side?

*RECOGNIZE
I used to bury my head in the sand, instead of looking at the battle head-on. I used to make excuses, and except the battle as just a part of life. Yes, our battles are a part of life, but I don’t have to accept the defeat before even entering the ring. I can’t roll over and just keep getting kicked while I am down. I must stand up and fight not only for myself for all those around me that a defeated outlook or blindness to the situation will effect. If I roll over and am exhausted by the battle, with just a smile on my face, I am affecting my family, my ministry team and others the Lord has placed in my life. It is like a soldier watching everyone get shot around them with a smile on their face that all is fine. NO, it is not fine. It is a battle and I am going in!! This is how we fight the battle. We recognize we are in one!!

Ephesians 6:12- For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

 

*EQUIP and Position

This is the time to take out all the resources in your tool belt! A soldier going to war would not do well if He forgot all his equipment, and just showed up for battle in his shorts and flipflops.
In this same line of thought, a soldier or a team needs all their partners in the battle. Know your team members. Share your heart, let them back you. Know your source of support. This is key to fight the battle. The most important member you can have to back you is the heavenly creator, that has purposed for you to be victorious. He has a battle plan. He has the equipment ready for you to put on and take your stand. Even if all the other team members have run from the fight, you still have that coach pushing you on. He is ahead of the battle. The battle is HIS to fight. We need to ready our ears and hearts to listen and fight the battle.

Ephesians 6:13-18 

The Whole Armor of God

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

* FAITH
Be ready to fight! Posture your heart in readiness. Walk in boldness that you are mighty in victory. Know that the battle belongs to the Lord and the outcome is always victory. It may not look like it at the moment, but the battle is won, when we are ready to win. When we are ready to fight the battle when we are ready to take ownership of victory. We have won. It does not matter what we are seeing. We see with a different lens. It does not matter what we are feeling, our feelings are fleeting. It does not matter that it all is crumbling and falling down around us, we have a master builder, that is ready to remodel and build fresh and new. The fight in the battle is knowing we have won!

Proverbs 21:31- The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but the victory belongs to the Lord.


*CELEBRATE- 

Rejoice in your victory! Be thankful the battle is won. You may not see it yet, well, set your eye on the other side. Celebrate your last victories! See what has worked in your favor. Celebrate how you have come out a victor before in your battles. Your battle does not own you. Your battle does not define you. Your battle is what you walk through and you already have the tools to overcome! Celebrating the one that sees you through, is a mighty weapon in the fight of the battle. Praise and worship, it goes before me. I am equipped and ready. I am the victor and I am seeing the victory ahead! I know the victory may look very different than I expect, but it is mine and I will take it and praise Him for it.

2 Chronicles 20:21- Jehoshaphat asked the people for advice. Then he appointed men to sing to the Lord. He wanted them to praise the Lord because of his glory and holiness. They marched out in front of the army. They said,

“Give thanks to the Lord.
    His faithful love continues forever.”

BE ENCOURAGED WITH THIS ONE : This is how I fight my Battles

Out of the Darkness into the Light

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I am my beloved’s.

My God has called me out of fear and placed me in confidence.

My God has called me out of anger and placed me in love.

My God has called me out of despair and placed within me joy.

My God has called me out of worthlessness and lifted my face to the heavens.

He has placed me in my position as His daughter and declares I am loved.

My God holds my inheritance and gladly bestows His great gifts upon me.

I make a choice to step into Kingdom standards and not my earthly limits.

He has called me out of the darkness and placed me in His light.

I take my place and lift the praises on my lips to reach His throne. He is faithful. He is good.

He is mine.

 

He Says

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You believed for your miracle far longer than you ever imagined you would have to. You have yet to see the fruition of your faith. You called out to God in your trial, the struggle weighing heavy on your shoulders. You say, “God please, I can’t take this anymore. Where are you?” 
You are tired. You are weary. You ask, “Why am I still waiting?”
You look at your every fault. You look at your every lack. You see only pain and heartache.
“You say, I am done.”

He says…
“I hear you!  I see you! I have not forgotten you. I will cover you with my Grace and walk with you in this season. You have much to learn and you are more than able.

He says…

You will see the fruit of the promise, but you must stay steadfast. I am building a stronger you. I am building my child that does not waiver in the storm but stands strong, with my banner lifted high.

He says…

You will declare my joy in the midst of your pain. You will declare the promise before you see it. You will believe your promise once again with a great faith that you have yet to know.

He says…

Your faith will rise into the new places. Hold on to that which I have promised you. Don’t let my truth fall to the wayside. Seek me first and I will meet you. Call to me and I will answer you.

1 James 1:2-3

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

  He says…

You are not weak, for I have made you strong.
I have not created a child of fault, I created a child that is an overcomer.
I have not created a child full of lack, but a child that is more than able to do all that is required.

I have created a child I hold dear. My love is unwavering. I am a God of the impossible.

I am the God of miracles.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will keep my promises.

Now let your faith arise!

 

 

 

The Missing Pieces

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I was spending some time alone in worship and rest with the Holy Spirit. My eyes closed, just listening and then I had such a clear picture in my mind:

The Lord and I took a walk. My hand was in his and I was skipping like a little girl. He would twirl me around his finger in dance. We came to a brook and I saw myself sitting at the brook, my feet brushing the tips of the water. Jesus was next to me, and I leaned into him. While we sat in the stillness, the play and lightness were forgotten, my heart was hurting.
(This was a typical in a day for me, as long as I was distracted there was no time to hurt. But the second I stopped and tried to rest, everything would swarm in and be all I could see, robbing me of peace and rest)

At the brook, I began to tell Jesus every hurt, every rejection, every loss and every flaw.
He began to tell me all the lies that I was believing. Not in condemnation but in love.
I cried. He held me.

We stood and I held out a heart that had a bunch of holes in it. It was my heart and I was offering it to him, broken and not much. He took out His heart and took pieces from His heart and filled every hole in mine. He then placed my heart in His and put them both in His chest. He let me lay against His chest and hear the new heartbeat. He said, ” I will carry your heart. Lean into me and you will find your rest.

In Him, there are no missing pieces. There is only wholeness and freedom.
Some may look at this as a crutch. But I say to you if you have a broken foot, would you not use a crutch to walk upright?
I was broken, I am not afraid to admit that. The glory… He made me whole!!
I can walk with confidence in the shelter of my God, knowing He is my protector and shield. I can rest in Him. This is all I need.

Psalms 147:3-
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Be encouraged with this Song:
ONE THING REMAINS

Two shall become One

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Our families first wedding! My middle son found his bride, his treasure. We are so blessed by this union. To see the change in my son after finding his soul mate was the sweetest joy.
He was complete and it was evident the day we met her.

There were a few moments at the wedding that struck me how awesome my God is.

For starters, I think we are one of the few weddings in history to start on the dot on time.
I was reminded of God’s timing and how his ways are always perfect.

My son longed to find his other half, he knew he wanted to be a husband and a father young. He was not one for frivolous dating he wanted the one and no other.
Sometimes we wait much longer for our destinies than the young age of 21 and I know that discouragement can come with the waiting.  But I am reminded He knows our needs, our calls and He knows the desires of our heart. He is faithful when our eyes are on him and His timing is right.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Another reminder was loving one another in action with a sacrificial love and not just words.

As the maid of honor was giving her speech she mentioned how last week Devin had burned his feet in the kitchen at work, with boiling water. He lived two hours one way away from his soon to be bride, but as soon as she knew he was hurt, she was packing an emergency kit and drove the two hours to go take care of her guy. This story brought to mind, my prayers for my boys that they would find a helpmate that was joyful in the caring for them. This is the love I have prayed for my boys, as well as they bestow this love on their beautiful brides as well. My mama’s heart swelled as I got a picture of her serving my son in the same way Mary Magdelin had with the washing of the feet of Jesus. I know this is a girl that would do anything for my son. I also know from watching him so closely as they grew in their relationship that he too will serve her in this way and I am blessed.

Ephesians 5:25:

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.”

 

Genesis 2:24:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

 

Lastly, I was reminded how God cares for our every need as we rest in Him.

Our kids have jobs at the beach which they have both longed for. The jobs opened up with housing, utilities and meals included. But there was a little bit of debt that would make the lower pay a bit tight. Since all their expenses are covered the pay is a lower scale, so as  I and others have been praying for the kids’ provision, the Lord answered and supplied finances to pay almost all of their debt. Through amazing gifts from thoughtful friends and family, My boy and his new bride will be going into life with their ability to have all needs supplied and a paycheck to boot! God is so faithful and His love and care for my son and his wife are amazing.

HIS WIFE, I don’t think I shall ever get tired of those words. A blessing beyond measure. My husband and I have our first daughter, as the two shall become one, so our family is one step closer to completion.

Matthew 21:22

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Lord thank you for answering our prayers!

 

An old memory…. Childhood Joys

The sun shines bright. My spirit perks up a bit just to have the glorious light beam across my face and the warmth hits deep!

I am taken back to childhood days. Days that were complete bliss in the midst of the most simplest moments. Memories flood back  of blowing sticky bubbles, drawing in sand with my fingers,

picking dandelions as a prize for my mommy, imagining I am the princess dancing in the kingdom, running in green grass with bare feet and how the grass stained the bottom of my toes, and moments of laying on the ground in fits of giggles when my friends and I were exhausted from our games.

This is the kind of pure simple joy that I am trusting for daily. My joys do not come from my circumstances or the amount of money I put into an experience, but just by having the experience. Joys that come from simply living. Joys from spending time with the one that loves me most and encourages me to have the heart of a child.

To have joy, simply because I have the right to. I can still dance, sing, clap, laugh, be silly and simply just be me.

I AM a princess. I AM a daughter of a king. One that does not have to give up the childlike presence in my heart. I am encouraged to be as a child. To laugh and have joy, to look at all the blessings as sweet gifts. To look at a bird flying in the blue skies with awe anew. I have the ability to look at the awesome gifts the creator has given me with fresh eyes and wonderment. I can stop taking the world around me for granted. He has given me a beautiful picture to wake up to daily…. life.

Challenge this day my friends: Take time each day to walk in childlike joy. Stop and look at things in your life with wonderment. Have that childlike faith that the things you need to change will. That you still CAN be anything He created you to be! Walk with you eyes forward and face what you must, but remember, there is joy in simple things!

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.

Worthy-Worthiness-Worth

 

I have been hearing the word worthy, thrown around a lot this last week. Many of the scriptures I read state that HE is worthy of praise. But what does the word say about us being worthy? What is worthiness?

Definition- Worthiness: The quality of being good enough, suitable or the quality of deserving attention or respect.

Can we as christians be worthy ? Can we be good enough, suitable, deserving attention or respect? Is being born again enough to make us worthy?

 

Colossians 1:9-14 ESV-

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

 

I feel strongly that God cleanses us and makes us worthy when we come to Him and repent, turning AWAY from our sin. We are new in Him.

But we can walk in a life that is unworthy and unpleasing to God. We have that choice. We need to continually walk in  a manner that is pleasing to him to be worthy (suitable), We can not continue to walk in the filth and garbage and expect that we will feel worthy. Each and every thing we do contrary to the word of God is not pleasing to him, it is not bearing fruit that is good if we are not doing good works.

If we do works that are contrary to the word of God our fruit will be contrary to the word of God. Rotten and filthy. Not a good fruit to bring joy, endurance and patience. Not a fruit that is worthy to bring to the throne.

You can walk any way you would like but when you walk contrary to the way of the Lord and then you claim to be His child, you are going to feel the guilt and shame. It is going to follow you in all that you do, there will be a seperation.

There is no BIG crime and LITTLE crime in the Kingdom, every thing that you fill your life with that is not good fruit bearing will produce bad fruit in your walk in some way.

I am not talking about a mess up, a slip up moment, I am talking about when you WALK in a life that goes against the word of God, you will not be upright and worthy of Him in your mind. He sees and knows the real you, the side of you that others do not see.

You can’t feel worthy when you are walking in a way that is not pleasing to the Lord.
This is conviction in your heart. A call to repent and turn away. When you turn away , you are not to look back at what you did, that was the old you.

SO if you repented (turned away from your old sin) and you  came to the Lord and gave Him your life, walking up right with Him, yet you feel so dirty and unworthy still,  THAT is the enemy. That is condemnation, making you look back at who you were and what you did. The enemy trying to make you feel dirty and unworthy to walk with the Lord.

You are called to not pick up your old identity. You are made whole and new in Him. You are enough, He knew you before you were born, He knew every misstep and misdeed and still chose to call you to Him, cleanse you and love you. He feels you are enough. We give thanks to the Father because HE qualifies us.

If you want Jesus and ALL that He has for you, you must turn away from your old man, turn away from the walk of sin and destruction, not just when it suits you but completely.

So these are my thoughts tonight. I know many may disagree,  some believe you can do whatever you want and walk with the Lord, but this is my heart on the matter.

Point blank … Sometimes it is true, you are unworthy….. but you have the choice to make it a lie; repent and walk worthy in the Lord.

 

A quiver full of blessings

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Our children are an inheritance of the Lord, a blessing and a joy.

Most days as my boys were growing up I knew this, however, there were those days I felt I was doing everything wrong and surely God made a mistake giving them to me. Maybe I should ship them to Bermuda.

There were days of stress, anger and shouting. Days of rebellion, tugging and shoving.

Then, it would all shine and be gloriously amazing and I would think we had passed the hurdle, only to see another up ahead.

I have friends that are in the midst of the highs and lows of parenting these days and my heart is to hopefully encourage. Those moments of frustrations and complete hair pulling stress will pass. Hold fast onto the word of the Lord that our children are our reward! I know in the midst of life, business and the drama you are exhausted beyond belief many days. More importantly the Lord knows this and as you cry out for strength He will grant it to you. I also know that there will be a day, when you look back and you say, thank you Lord, this was a great season and I am so thankful where you have brought us.

I truly wish that when my boys were in the midst of their craziness that I held my joy a little bit better, and a lot longer. I wish they saw less of a frazzled and anxious mom. I know that we are human and that we will make mistakes but now in the end of the game of raising the boys I see those things that once seemed so big and I was sure was going to ruin them, were in reality their growing.

Just like the big grown up adults we are, children need to discover the Lord and His tugging themselves. They need to feel the conviction of their wrongs and joys of obedience. The only way they will discover this for themselves is to live life. Making mistakes, following their flesh and acting in their human selves. What a joy to know that we get to help them along and learn how to listen to God’s voice early. I wish this dawned on me a lot sooner than it did. Maybe I would have enjoyed the journey in the midst of the junk a bit more.

Now as my boys are grown adults I hold fast to the word of the Lord. They are my reward. I am so blessed by the young men they have become. They are following their OWN paths in this life, I know I aimed for my mark and released each one into this world with the truth that they will impact the kingdom of God.  They are my quiver full of blessings. They are my joy.  Be encouraged my friend and count it all great joy, these children in your hands, are here for just a moment, then they will soar.

Psalm 127:3-5 

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate