“Don’t Settle For Me”

Last week as my friend and I were praying together, I asked her to stand in agreement with me that God will make me a suitable mate (while I am waiting to be found). I want to be the answer to a man’s prayers. I don’t want him to ever feel like he settled for me. 

A few years ago, this same friend and I each made a list of what we desire in a mate. At the top of her list was that he would be able to pick her up without falling; which is funny because she is a petite woman. But, that was a good one, so I added that to my list as well. Then I pondered, “How strong would he have to be to pick me up?” While I want him to be able to lift me up without falling (or injury), am I being realistic considering my current size? More importantly, what am I willing to do to make this more attainable while I’m waiting???

We should love ourselves, true. But, that includes loving ourselves enough to admit there are some things we need to work on – not to please others – but to ensure we are whole, healthy (mentally and physically), and happy with ourselves. Also, if the thing we want requires something of us, we have to ask ourselves, “How bad do you want it?” Sometimes, we have to put in some work for the things we desire. In the meantime, let’s not expect others to settle for us (when we are not settled with ourselves).

Example: If a man is adamant that he is not interested in a plus-size woman, then I am probably not his choice – and that’s okay. Why would I try to change his mind, or convince him to choose me? I have two choices: 1) Try to lose weight in hopes of gaining this man’s attention after the weight loss; or 2) acknowledge that losing weight is a great overall benefit for my life and health. THAT should be my motivation, not to please a man, or anyone else for that matter. When the time is right, the RIGHT man will notice and appreciate all of me.

I learned this a long time ago: Whatever we have to do to obtain something, we must do to retain it. Meaning – in this scenario, I would potentially find myself always trying to prove my worth to this (hypothetical) man; and it may never be good enough for him. Nope! I say: “Don’t Settle For Me.”

A big part of being a confident and mature individual, is understanding that we all have areas in our lives that may need improvement. We may not be everyone’s cup of tea – and that’s okay. However, we should never stop working to be the best version of ourselves. Then, we can confidently say, to anyone who doesn’t think we are good enough, “Don’t Settle For Me.”

So, That Settles It. When you know your worth, you surround yourself with people who celebrate you and not those who simply tolerate you. Tell all the people who don’t believe you are enough: “Don’t Settle For Me” – and Free Yourself! 

You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love, beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.                                                                                             

~Song of Solomon 4:7 MSG

“Do YOU Believe?”

Do YOU Believe you matter?

Do YOU Believe you have a Purpose?

Do YOU Believe you can do it?

Do YOU Believe your life can inspire someone else?

Do YOU Believe in YOU?

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If you have stopped (or never started) believing in yourself, this message is for YOU. We all have a Purpose in this life. It is your responsibility to find it; pursue it; hold on to it; and never let anybody talk you out of it, or convince you otherwise. What I know is when you discover and pursue your purpose, your life changes…

You no longer settle for less than you deserve.

You no longer minimize yourself to make others feel comfortable.

You no longer see quitting as an option.

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So, That Settles It. Throughout life you will encounter many different people – some who will believe in you and others who won’t – and that’s okay. But, the bigger question will always be, Do YOU Believe in you? For, when you believe in yourself, you become an Unstoppable Force and you will undoubtedly succeed!

I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.

~Romans 15:13 CEV

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Great News! We just launched the That Settles It Podcast – now available on Spotify. Check out our first episode!

“Be Authentically YOU!”

“This above all- to thine own self be true.” A famous quote from William Shakespeare’s play, “Hamlet.” The perfect quote as we continue the discussion on being Authentically You. I want to delve deeper into why this is so important. So, let’s start with an explanation as to how I came to know this to be true.

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My personality is VERY BIG and multi-layered. Just when you think you know me, another layer may be revealed. This is partly because I am truly self-aware and I know the dangers of trying to thrust all of me on anyone at once. When you first meet me I am usually in observation mode. This is the “Getting to know you” phase of the relationship – and I am observing and deciding if I want to pursue the relationship any further. I go out of my way to try and make you feel comfortable being “You.” I am also aware that I am not most people, so my introduction takes a little longer. As I get to know you, I decide if I feel it is safe to start letting down my guard a little. After the initial stage, I talk a little more, laugh a little more, joke a little more. Then I observe to see how you handle it. If you are able to accept that, then we enter the next stage where I share my more opinionated side. I am totally aware that I am more opinionated than most, but I own it. I also know it is my responsibility to ensure that those I invite into my inner circle are able to handle it. If you can handle the first three stages, then you are privy to the final stage: vulnerability and insecurity. This is where I feel “safe” enough to share with you, without fear of judgment, criticism, or condemnation, what most people will never know about me.

I know what you’re thinking: Who does she think she is? Why does it take all of that? But, the truth of the matter is, if you think about it and if you are wise, your process of deciding whom to let in is probably similar to mine.

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A study published in the ‘Journal of Social and Personal Relationships’ recently calculated that on average it takes about 50 hours of time with someone before you consider them a casual friend, 90 hours before you become real friends, and about 200 hours to become close friends.

Many of us have suffered countless heartbreaks, disappointments, and failed relationships because we let the wrong people in too soon, or for the wrong reasons; and ultimately all we were left with was rejection, regret, and questioning our self-worth and value. That is when we started trying to be who people want/need us to be, instead of looking for those who will embrace us being Authentically us – no masks.

Now, I don’t believe most people are out to intentionally hurt us. I do believe however, that we get hurt when we don’t do our due diligence and really learn the people with whom we interact; and we fail to allow them to get to know the real us. Think about it: We’re asking people to be “Real” with us, but we aren’t real with ourselves or with them. Then when they miss the mark, we blame them for letting us down; but this is unfair to them.

My advice is this: In order to Be Authentically You, you must first know yourself. Self-awareness is key. It is impossible for people to get to know you when you don’t even know you. Instead, what happens is you paint a picture of who you “believe” you are, and if they are not discerning enough, they will believe you. Then as time goes on, the veneer of the faux version of you chips away and they may not like everything they see. They have a right to their feelings; after all the facts are distorted. They feel you were dishonest, and you feel rejected – all of which could have been avoided if you were more self-aware, thus able to Be Authentically You, and allowing them to see the real you. Another thing to consider (and accept) is that you are not going to form a relationship with everyone you meet – and that is okay. You should be selective, as should they.

So, That Settles It. Learn and embrace who you really are, at your core. Be Authentically You – Always – At All Costs. Then you will attract the right people who will accept you as you are. You will find the right Tribe/Circle/Support System and synergistic relationships.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. 

~Psalm 139:14 TLB 

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“It Was Necessary”

If it feels like you are losing friends and relationships; like you no longer have anything in common; or if you’ve lost touch with people you never thought you could live without, it is not a coincidence – It Was Necessary. Those dysfunctional, codependent relationships that were formed during some of the lowest times of your life – that all you had in common was hurt, pain, and failure – can no longer sustain you. It does not mean that you are better than those people, but it does mean that you are better than you were, when those relationships were formed.

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Don’t cry, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty. Beware of those times that you feel lonely or isolated. Don’t make the mistake of trying to go back. Trust me, it will not work. You may even feel like they abandoned or rejected you, but perhaps it is because you were instructed to let the relationship go and you were hesitant…You knew you didn’t belong there. You tried to get them to go with you, but they refused – whether because of fear, complacency, laziness, or pride. Nevertheless, you made the decision not to die there; even if it meant leaving them. You exercised your faith and put in the work, you allowed God to heal you and set you on the path to your Purpose.

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So, That Settles It. It’s okay to mourn the demise of relationships that were formed out of dysfunction and codependency, but under no circumstance is it okay to go back. It Was Necessary to prepare you for such a time as this. Now you are in position and you have what is needed to bless others who are ready to receive the help. They have been waiting for you. Aren’t you glad you didn’t give up and die in that place?

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

~Romans 8:18-21

 

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“Justice Must Prevail!”

Last night as I prayed for Justice, I couldn’t seem to let it go; so I decided to share my prayer as this month’s blog post. May it bless you, strengthen you, and encourage you.

Justice – the quality of being just; righteousness, equitable, moral rightness.

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Prayer:

Lord, You are the God of Justice. So, we cry out to You for Justice. Let Justice sweep this land. Justice is a joy to the godly – only those who are truly evil despise Justice.
Your Word declares: Blessed are they who observe Justice, who do righteousness at all times. We will do good. We will seek Justice. We will help the oppressed. We will defend the cause of orphans. And we will fight for the rights of widows just as You have instructed us. We understand there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is death. So, we look to You Lord, for You are the Way. Teach us Your way – the “More Excellent Way.” Let us not be moved solely by our emotions or the provocation of others, but by Your Spirit.
Evil men do not understand Justice, but those who seek You understand it completely – we know You love Justice. Let us dwell together in unity and oneness. That is the only way we will be successful in the land – for a house divided against itself cannot stand.
We await Your Divine Instruction God. Give us strategies and plans to pave the way to Justice for ALL. Give us Wisdom and show us how to take the right actions that will yield long-lasting positive results. Lead us from a Mono-cultural Mindset to an Intercultural Mindset
Even the Pledge of Allegiance states:
“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL.” That should include black men, women, and children. We cry out for the Preservation of Life for our black people. These things we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen (Isaiah 30:18; Proverbs 21:15; Psalm 106:3; Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 37:28-29; Proverbs 28:5; Deuteronomy 16:20).

We all have a part to play. It is up to each and every one of us to find our role and fill it to the highest degree. I know that the first part of my role is to pray, so I start with prayer – for my instructions are clear: “Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.” So, this prayer is for His Wisdom, His Direction and Guidance, His Strategies – and for Justice to Prevail. While I recognize it will take more than prayer to overcome centuries of oppression, this is where I must start. I don’t hide behind prayer, but I know if I receive instruction in prayer, then God will preserve me as I move and act according to His Will. Then I can boldly say, “I will not fear what men can do unto me because the Lord is my Helper.”

So, That Settles It. We serve the God of Justice. We will learn and do our part. We invoke Heaven to back us. Justice Must Prevail!

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“On This Day…”

On this day, May 13, 1977, Shawndell Susan Winfield was introduced in the Earth. It was a Friday; and while many see Friday the 13th as a scary day, on this day, the only one scared was Satan! See, on this day, a relentless enemy of hell was birthed in the Earth.
On this day, Greatness was born.
On this day, Purpose was born.
On this day, a Fighter was born.
On this day, a person of Great Determination was born.
On this day, a Natural Leader was born.
On this day, a Bold Individual was born.
On this day, a Trailblazer was born.
On this day, an Intercessor was born.
On this day, a Worshiper was born.
On this day, an Atmosphere Shifter was born.
On this day, a Chosen Vessel, a Vessel of Honor was born.
On this day, a Beautifully Sculpted Masterpiece was unveiled in the Earth. And it was Good.
On this day, a Beautiful Young Girl that would blossom into a Beautiful Woman was born.
On this day, 43 years ago, the Daughter of a King was birthed in the Earth. This child would endure many hardships and trials, but she would remain faithful. Her Destiny was already pre-determined. Her future is written in Heaven. The fires didn’t consume her, but instead she emerged from the ashes as pure gold – without being singed or burned – without even a hint of the smell of smoke. Hell couldn’t stop her. Man couldn’t block her. She is focused and she won’t quit – it’s not in her DNA. This is her moment. This is her hour. This is her day. This is her Season. She was created for such a time as this! On this day, Heaven and Earth stand in agreement that Destiny shall be fulfilled for Shawndell Susan Winfield!

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! 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) 

So, That Settles It. Follow my lead. Don’t wait for people to celebrate you – show them how it’s done. It’s not self-centered. It’s not selfish. It’s not narcissistic. It’s you inviting the world to celebrate with you – while you’re here to witness and enjoy the celebration of your life.

Happy Birthday to ME!!!

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“It Doesn’t Make Sense”

As we continue to face the day to day challenges of a global pandemic – the uncertainty, statistics, quarantines, jobs lost, increasing death tolls, etc., it’s understandable why people are afraid. Which is why what happened to me recently was such an eye-opener. I was driving in silence the other day, when out of nowhere I blurted out (to no one in particular) It Doesn’t Make Sense! As I thought about it, I started laughing and shaking my head; then I began thanking God and praising Him right there in the car.

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What doesn’t make sense, you ask? It Doesn’t Make Sense how calm I am; how much peace I have; how assured I am that this too shall pass.

I thought about all the reasons I should be worried, anxious, or fearful; but in spite of everything that’s happening, all I feel is an un-explainable peace. As quickly as I thought about the negative, I was reminded of all the good. I thought about how God has truly taken care of everything concerning me. I thought about how He gave me instructions (for preparation) long before COVID-19; and even though it didn’t make sense then, it does now. I thought about how He is causing my house to still prosper, in spite of what’s going on in the world.

I share this because I want to encourage anyone who can’t seem to find any peace right now. What if I told you it was as simple as getting back to the basics – returning to our first love? God. What if I told you that all you have to do is eliminate distractions and seek Him? Instead of focusing on the problems (that you can’t solve anyway), focus on the Solution. God.

God Promises:

“When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed (Jeremiah 29:12-13 MSG).”

To help you get started, here are some declarations that you can begin to confess daily:

I will not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, I will let my requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

My God shall supply all my need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). 

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, I will think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

I will not faint because I believe I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

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Note: When we come to come to God, we must (first) believe that He is, and (trust) that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Diligently means with steady, earnest, and energetic effort. This means we can’t stop. These declarations, along with prayer, reading God’s Word, and remaining in His Presence should become a part of our daily routine, just like bathing and brushing our teeth, it’s necessary.

So, That Settles It. This is how to experience so much peace that It Doesn’t Make Sense. When we focus on God, His Word, and His Promises there’s not much room left for worry, doubt, fear, or anxiety – all that’s left is the Perfect Peace of God. Seek peace and pursue it! Remember, God is Peace.

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“Tomorrow is Promised!”

Something has been troubling me since the beginning of the year and I don’t believe I am alone on this one. Almost every time I am on social media I see so many posts saying “tomorrow is not promised.” Let me go on record saying: I absolutely hate this! I urge you to please stop spreading “Fake News!

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Now, if you are truly wicked (and unwilling to repent), then this may be true for you (Yes, I said that); ultimately the choice is yours. But, this is NOT the case for the Righteous! I repeat: This is NOT the case for the Righteous! Once more and louder for the people in the back – THIS IS NOT THE CASE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS! Tomorrow is Promised to the sons and daughters of the Most High. **If you are unsure, you can choose life today through salvation.**  

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God promises us long life. Now, I am not callous, and I sincerely pray for comfort and peace for those who are hurting and overcome with sorrow and grief; I have known this pain all too well. I also understand things sometimes happen, for which we have no explanation; but that doesn’t mean we should allow fear to control our thoughts and our conversations. We cannot let fear paralyze us! God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). We must choose to live in faith and not fear. This is where we declare: Our God is well able to deliver us, but even if He doesn’t, we will not bow to fear (Daniel 3:17-18).

The power of life and death is in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). It is imperative that we SPEAK LIFE – No matter what it looks like! Remember, we walk by Faith and not by sight.

Now, here is the caveat: We have to make sure that we not only speak life, but that we stay in the “Safe Place.” God promises (Read this aloud):

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in ALL thy ways.

They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation (Psalms 91).

If God said it, then That Settles It. He’s got us covered, literally. This is what I choose to believe, and my prayer is that you will too. As for me and my house, we shall live and not die to declare the works of the Lord. We shall live a long, healthy, and prosperous life. This is the inheritance of our children and our children’s children – and I decree and declare, for us Tomorrow is Promised!

Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways (Job 22:28). 

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“Remember Your Name”

I remember a while ago, probably somewhere around 2009, there was a lady at my job who cooked delicious meals from her home (Trinidad), and sold them. She would take your name and order during the week and on Friday her husband delivered the meals hot and ready to eat. One week, while we were laughing and having a good time, I placed my order and in the name section I wrote “Queen.” Fast forward to that Friday. Her husband arrived and began handing out dinners. I waited patiently for him to find my order with my name (Shawndell). I was getting a little discouraged, thinking they possibly forgot my meal. After he gave everyone else their orders, there was only one left – the name on it: “Queen.” I had totally forgotten that was the name I gave with my order. Note to self: Remember Your Name!

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This story came to mind recently and (after laughing at myself) I thought about how I wouldn’t have waited so long to get my food if I remembered what I wrote. It reminded me of how oftentimes, we ask God for something, and because it doesn’t come immediately, if we’re not careful, we forget what we asked. Then when it shows up, we don’t recognize it. See, I asked for a meal for a “Queen;” but when it showed up, I was looking for something for Shawndell. They didn’t change anything – I did. When I placed the order, apparently I felt like a Queen; but when the order arrived, for some reason, I couldn’t see or feel my crown. Let me paint the picture for you. Depending on what we’re facing, many (not all) of us fall into one of the categories below:

When things are going wellI will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well (Psalms 139:14).

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During times of testing and trialsMy God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me…(Psalms 22:1)?

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MESSAGE: God does not change His mind! He’s not fickle (we are). If He said it, then That Settles It.

Don’t just take my word for it. God addressed Mary as “Highly favored and blessed among women. Even though I’m sure she probably didn’t feel that way at the time – trying to figure out how to tell people she is a virgin who will give birth to the Messiah (Luke 1:28).  

Gideon, who saw himself as “the least in his father’s house, yet God called him “Mighty man of valor.” He went on to defeat a massive army with only 300 men (Judges 6 & 7). 

Jesus told Peter “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Please note: That didn’t change, not even after Peter denied Him. Remember, Peter went on to preach at Pentecost and about 3,000 souls were saved that day (Matthew 16:18; Luke 22; Acts 2).

And we dare not forget Jesus, whom God introduced to the world as “My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleasedand we know what Jesus suffered after this; but we also know He Reigns (Read Matthew 3:17). 

So That Settles It. What I want you to take away from this little stroll down memory lane is: You are who God says you are – even when you don’t feel like it – even when your situation doesn’t look like it – Remember Your Name.

And because I am a Realist – if you just can’t seem to Remember Your Name, then Remember His Name:

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

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“Breaking News”

Breaking News – We have received multiple reports of people who escaped the setbacks and disappointments of 2019. They were last seen running into 2020. Please be advised, these people are reportedly armed and dangerous. They are armed with Drive, Determination, Commitment, and Great Faith.

Please exercise extreme caution. Do not try to talk them out of it. Don’t try to convince them to settle for a life of complacency and mediocrity. If that is your intent, do not approach these people! They will not surrender and will not give up without a fight!

They were last seen Praying, Planning, and Preparing for this New Season of their lives. There are rumors that they are gearing up for the following:

~Starting or Finishing School
~Starting a Business
~Better Financial Stewardship
~Purchasing a Home and/or Car
~Closer Relationship With God
~Moving to a New City
~Meeting New People
~Improved Health (Mental and Physical)
~Career Change
~Traveling/Taking a Vacation

Breaking News – We have just received word that they are recruiting. Their message to new recruits:
Join us as we take back everything that was lost or stolen from us.
As we celebrate this New Day, New Month, New Year, New Decade, and New Season – we are taking advantage of every opportunity and letting none get away. We are determined to Win and Not Lose!

This is Shawndell Winfield with That Settles It, reporting to you live from our first blog post of 2020. Remember, you heard it here first.

That’s why we have this Scripture text:

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it
What God has arranged for those who love him.

— 1 Corinthians 2:9 MSG

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