Category Archives for "Leadership"

Simplicity

The pure joy of life is found in simplicity! As a professional photographer, I have studied under some great masters of imagery. Without exception, the true artist in almost every expressive medium will tell you that simplicity is their most powerful and trustworthy tool. As musicians, artists, photographers, writers, we all understand the value of simplicity. However, it is the most often overlooked element in the creative process.

The power of simplicity is that it overcomes confusion and wisely communicates clarity. ~ Fred Hughes ~

Simplicity is not just reducing something to the lowest possible existence. It is much more akin to highlighting or bringing contrast to what is important. Identify the intended subject of the image, description, sound or concept. Simplicity skillfully presents clarity. The only major challenge with simplicity is that it is often dismissed or overlooked because it is so simple!

Just because something is simple does not mean that it is not complex or profound.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Simple, but very profound with huge impact! A seven-year-old child can understand and receive the benefits of this powerful but simple Scripture. This 67-year-old is still amazed by the depth of its meaning.

Simplicity: it clears the clutter and reveals the main focus, so the true value can be seen.

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What is all the buzz about?

 

If you know me personally, you know that I am a big time want-to-be technology geek. Alas, I have to rely on four much younger and true geeks who are willing to put up with this old guy! Raymond, Dusty, Clint, and Ryan each help me keep my tech-itch scratched, poor guys! I love the buzz! I want to be in on everything that is happening.

Most people have one or two areas of interest they like to keep up with the latest buzz. What is it that draws you to the buzz? Technology, fashion, headline news, hot cars, cooking, stock prices, movies ….. what pushes your buzz button?

Five things to consider concerning your pursuit of the buzz:

1.) Is the buzz benefiting your life in some way? Entertainment can be a reason and benefit enough. It can also be a productivity thief. You have to weigh the cost and gain!

2.) Buzz almost always introduces something you do not have and is an enticement. How do you respond to the constant call to new acquisitions? The buzz can have a devastating effect on your finances and that can affect your relationships too!

3.) In many areas, the buzz can blind you to see things in a very biased way. Are you able to step away from it long enough to see from other vantage points or perspectives? What does it cost you to always follow the buzz: friends, family, money, time?

4.) Are you able to see trends and cycles in the buzz? Sometimes the opportunities are right there in the buzz! Can you successfully analyze and apply the information that you are gathering from the buzz that will assist you in making good choices?

5.) When do you need to be creating the buzz rather than listening to it? There comes a time where the buzz needs to be all about your leadership and directives. Most people are buzz consumers. Only a few people learn how to be buzz producers. These are the world changers.

The fish lays thousands of eggs at one time, the chicken lays only one or two, but she creates a lot of buzz about what she does! So, what kind of eggs did you have for breakfast this morning?

What is the buzz all about in your life? Surprisingly enough, it may be a healthy question to ask yourself.

Philippians 4 :6-8 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

Stand your buzz up next to Philippians 4:6-8. Measure it well and prosper, my friend!

Blessings,

Fred Hughes

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Worry & Hurry

Everyone already knows that stress is the leading cause of killer diseases, yet we seem to be unable to curb our appetite for worry and hurry.

Why is that?

I would suggest three key reasons why people ignore what seems to be reasonable thinking. We used to call it “Common Sense” operating from the assumption that every reasonable person would both know and practice this. One of the big reasons we miss it so sadly today is that our general population does not possess such practical knowledge anymore. Here are the three key reasons I believe we have so little in common.

We have an Identity crisis. We simply do not know who we are! What do all Americans have in common? As a country, are we united under any set of solid ideas that every single one of us would charge hell with a water pistol to uphold? Once common among us all were our morals, beliefs, standards, and basic values. What do we have in common today? Because we do not know who we are, we worry and hurry.

We live in an ocean of lies. Integrity is almost totally gone. Words mean nothing at all. There was a time in our history when someone gave you their word you could literally bank on what was said. Commerce actually transpired upon a man’s integrity to the point that a verbal contract was binding. Today it is accepted and expected that whatever is said means nothing! This desensitizes us to the truth and sets an expectation of deception and dishonesty. Trying to sort through all the lies, we worry and hurry.

We are self-centered to a fault. Our pursuit of rights instead of righteousness is refocusing the fabric of our nation. Selfless service and goodwill charity have become something more often scorned than praised. The attitude of the World War II generation versus today’s mindset is markedly different. One group united under hard times and rose up to a common cause and a world crisis. Would this generation be capable of the same? That thought is far from most people’s mind, yet our world is extremely volatile. Focusing on self is a way to ignore other issues, but it causes us to worry and hurry.

Please understand that I am not condemning our great country. I fully believe in our capability to rise to greatness, but I see the 3 things listed above as very destructive to us a nation. America was founded on unity, faith, and family. I am not suggesting that we return to those times (even if we could). I am suggesting that we return to some of those values and unifying principles the nation was established upon, grew and prospered under. I am sure of one thing: worrying and hurrying will not get us there.

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? look as verse 27, Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? (Add one inch to your height.) verse 31, Therefore, do not worry…

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your cares (Worries) upon Him (God) for He cares for you.

Worry leads to hurry and hurry always makes the dumbest choices.

Don’t Worry! Don’t Hurry! Trust God … He will make a way, He really does care!

Fred Hughes, M.Photog.

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The path to fun and fulfillment

The world beats a path for all to follow the fun and fulfilled life!

However, there are a few issues people encounter along the way they neglected to tell you about! The composite picture I created to illustrate this fantasy world I titled, “Eat It All” has something of a double meaning.

What path are you following in life? How is it working? Is there be a better way?

Great questions! Do you really want answers, or are you comfortable enough where you are right now? There are some wild rides and tasty temptations out there, but there are more that seem to float away in the air than offer stability over the long term. What path do you choose or avoid? What rides do you take along the way? What is the price you will pay? I see a landscape of more dry bones than real success stories, so where do we turn for the real answers and victories we dream of seeing?

The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel saw a strange vision of Dry Bones coming to life! He was told to prophesy to those dry bones, or to speak life back into them.

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. (27) “I will put My Spirit within you…

Many times God gives us visions, pictures, dreams or ideas that are not always clear at first. Daniel, Joseph, and Paul all had visions like Ezekiel’s “Dry Bones” (Ezekiel 37:1-14), but in time clarity came. Then these men knew what to do, and so will you. How will you know? The same Holy Spirit who led them will lead you! When you start to speak or prophesy what God gives you, those dry bones start coming together. Life starts returning to what you may have given up on as dead and gone. Suddenly, life comes back into some idea or business venture. Suddenly, you see what you have been looking at with a whole new heart! Suddenly, you see the traps in front of you, and the wisdom of how you really can get to “Eat it All!”

There is a path to fun and fulfillment as the world offers it! (Be sure to read the fine print! “Some restrictions apply.”)

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

17) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The true fun and fulfillment of life is to discover the path that God has for your life — to be reconciled to God and to be given a word of reconciliation and a ministry of reconciliation. Dry bones are out there waiting for you to show up and start speaking!

The Holy Spirit is in you waiting to show you how to speak life into people and bring a word of reconciliation. As you go and function in the ministry of reconciliation God has given you, the answers and direction you need will come. If God can get something through you, He can get something to you! Trust God!

Blessings!

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

EatitAll-Composit copy (Large)

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Relationship

 

Let’s talk about relationship!

There are many different kinds but three basic types that I want to point out. Choosing the type is critical in establishing a relationship that actually works out for both, or all parties. Before we start talking about the three types, allow me to make a brief statement about intent first. The intent is the foundational set of values that all parties must agree upon. The bedrock of this relationship is for the purpose of _________. Filling in that blank is massively important. Before you can build anything, you have to draw the plans, buy the lot, level the ground, and pour the foundation. Omitting the foundational development is deadly to the success of any relationship, especially long-term relationships.

  1. Agreement – The basis of this type is to accomplish a task or an event. An agreement is personal and can be powerful, but usually it has a specific term, duration or goal. The agreement ends when accomplished, completed or there is a loss of agreement.
  2. Contract – A contract is often legally binding and very specific rules and requirements are reached and held. A binding contract is signed and set into action. Termination is reached in the fulfillment of the contractual terms, or legal breach of the contract occurs. A contract is a deeper level of agreement and often has more resources involved, thus the legal aspect.
  3. Covenant – Like the other two, it is an agreement. However, that is where the distinction takes a major turn. It is more than an agreement, more than a contract, it is a life commitment that involves vows that make all parties one new entity. The individual rights are dismissed, and those entering the covenant are made one. All parties are equal in rights and obligations. As an example: Covenant would be cut between two tribes of people. One tribe was agrarian and good food producers, but poor warriors. The other tribe were great warriors but were often hungry. Covenant was cut. This means an animal was cut into two halves, and the two tribes would assemble in the middle of the divided carcass. They would vow a union and exchange garments, weapons, and other identifying articles, so they were one people. The weaker would usually take on the name of the stronger, or they together establish a new name together. This practice is called a blood covenant and in most civilizations was common practice up until modern times. Needless to say, a covenant is the deepest, most intent relationship people enter.

I point out these relationship types in order to ask the question, “What foundation are you laying? What type of relationship are you building — a friendship, civic organization, company, marriage, church or family?” You may be building several at the same time!

Allow me one final thought. I recommend that you should set a priority on the most important relationships and that in turn will have a positive effect on the others.

Your relationship with God is the highest covenant level union you can build. and if you are Christian it is Jesus who shed His blood for a relationship with you. When your covenant with God through Christ is healthy, your relationship with your spouse is better, and your children benefit from your healthy marriage.

If you are building a marriage relationship, by its nature it must be a covenant. Contracts and agreements do not possess the strength to endure. The central differentiation is laying down self in order to form a new selfless “we.”

If you are building a business or organization, there are more levels than in marriage. The partnership or leadership may be able to function at a covenant level, while the workforce may operate at the contract level. The clients may be served at an agreement level. Each relationship type has a purpose and can be very effective. Choosing the wrong type may negate the relationship completely.

The value of building relationships the right way for the right reasons is worth the time and investment you put into them.

I sincerely believe that walking in love is the key to any relationship. When you operate in the kind of love described in the passage below, you can rest assured it will strengthen and affirm the relationship.

1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 (NIV)

4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8) Love never fails.

Look also at verse 13: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

John 13:34 (NIV)

34) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Finally, one factor that destroys many relationships is fear, it comes in many forms, but it is a destructive force at work against most relationships.

1 John 4:18 (NIV)

18) There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Blessings, my friends! My hope and prayers are that you will be encouraged and empowered in your relationships by walking in love.

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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3 Basic Principals

Almost all business ventures have 3 basic components that cannot be ignored.

1. Identity

  • Who are you? If you do not know, you will have a hard time convincing anyone else. Branding is part of it…. not all of it!
  • What goods or services do you provide? Why are you providing them?
  • What quality level can be expected at what investment level?
  • What availability and timely deliverables or completion rates will be provided?
  • What do you give back to the community? Are you an asset to the public or simply a partaker?
  • Identity for your employees may be the single most important part of your success and future strength. Never under-estimate the power of unity with-in your company or organization.

2. People

  • Who is your Avatar, Tribe, Target Group? Whom are you trying to reach and serve? Who exactly is your audience, you need to know more than simple demographics.
  • Who are your team members, both in-house and resources?
  • Who are your supply and support affiliations and who are your second choices?
  • What are our people saying? (employee testimonials)
  • How are you helping people discover the value you are offering?

3. Integrity

  • How do you stand behind your products and services?
  • What makes you trustworthy?
  • Why should anyone do business with you more than once?
  • Do you have current, customer/client testimonials, and industry testimonials/awards?
  • How you honor people, community, and your industry reveals your intentionality and integrity.

If you regularly check on these three key elements, your business will have a much greater chance of succeeding. Success, especially in the world we live in today, is elusive, to say the least, but not impossible. These three business components are worthy of your attention and can be factors that affect your bottom line much more than branding, SEO, credit scores, marketing style, and funnel design. Sometimes you just have to get back to a little common sense, my friend!

Proverbs 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding;

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom, and in all your getting, get understanding.

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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3BasicBusiness

 

 

God Loves You!

Rom 8:31-39 God’s Everlasting Love

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NKJV

What a brilliant and powerful view these scriptures portray of God’s intentional love for us. If you are a believer, there are no more comforting words than these. Simply put, God loves you, and there is nothing you can do about it! God does not change, therefore, under no condition will these words not be true. Nothing, not even you, can change the way God loves you. He made you so that He could love you! He made you capable of loving Him back! But, He does not force you to do so.

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. NKJV

What incredible Love! We cannot earn it, we do not deserve it. We can receive it, or reject it, but we can not be separated from it!

Psalms 139:14-16

 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. NKJV

It sounds a bit like God loves you and has a plan for your life! Oh, I think He said that!

Jeremiah 29:11-12

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. NKJV

Why does God love you so much? Well, for one thing, you were made in His image! When you are born again, you are born from above. In short, you are His kid! There is a family resemblance that He likes! The other reason and the most important one is that it is His nature; it is who He is! It is not dependent upon you at all.

1 John 4:8 God is Love.

Love is not what God does! Love is who He is! And nothing can separate His love from you. Fortunately, there is nothing you can do about it! God loves you.

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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Your First Response

Most of the time your first response to a crisis will define the outcome! Your first reaction will move you toward victory or defeat, joy or depression, faith or doubt, expectancy or dread, success or failure. Tribulations, trials and troubles are going to show up in life. They are unavoidable, but what you do with them and how you react to them is your choice! Some people internalize. The pressure inside mounts and eventually explodes outwardly, or it eats away inwardly like cancer destroying your health and life. Others over-react in an emotional rage or lose all self-control. They wind up doing the most foolish and often harmful things making fools of themselves.

 

But, God can turn your troubles into triumphs!

The key is to not panic or allow fear to overcome your thoughts and emotions.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

God gives good gifts! Fear, terror, fretting or worrying are not good gifts from God! I think it is interesting that to do battle with fear we are given three gifts from God.

  1. Power ~ Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you… Romans 8:11 The same power that raised Christ from the dead, dwells in you, by the Holy Spirit.
  2. Love ~ 1 John 4:18 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
  3. Sound Mind ~ 3 John 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth. The soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions — what you think, what you do, and how you feel. Philippians 4:8Think on these things. “Think on” means: to meditate, think about, have soundness of mind, the ability to manage your thoughts, sound advice, or reason. Wisdom does not operate well in an environment of fear. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, … Verse 2, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. I have the Mind and Spirit of Christ. Nothing can separate me from His love. His Word renews my mind.

The Promise, not the problem, must be our focus. God always attaches the provision to the promise, not the problem. Exercise power, love, and a sound mind, and they will keep the solution within your grasp. You choose how you respond and react to trials and troubles when they come. Remember, all of God’s Promises are “yes and amen!”

When trials and troubles come, Christ is the Light that will guide the way. Do not be afraid! His Word and promises are true in every area of your life. Triumph in Christ! Build on the solid foundation, and the storms will not be able to prevail against you.

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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TrialsTWillCome-photo-By William Bout copy (Large)

photo-By William Bout

Winter: A Season of Life

by Fred Hughes, M.Photog.

Winter is just not my most beloved time of the year! Christmas, I love. Cold I cannot handle! I am most certainly a Summer person. At the earliest hint of Spring, I start to develop an itch in the palm of my hand, and nothing can bring any relief except a fishing pole or a golf club! At this writing it is mid-March, and I am so ready for the return of regular warmth! For months now I have felt like the little fox in the photo above. Have you noticed that like the planet we live on and our individual lives seem to move through seasons? We experience sunshiny summers and hard cold winters. Seasons are to enjoy; and seasons are to endure, or sometimes simply survive. Life presents time frames we must navigate through. The loss of a loved one, a good job, a cherished relationship are all difficult to work through. Most winter experiences are unpleasant to deal with. Other seasons are more like Spring with everything fresh and new, full of life, busting out with the beauty of hope glowing in the morning sun! OK, OK, you get the picture. We have good and not-so-wonderful seasons we move through on our journey, right?

How do you handle season changes?

Season changes, both kinds, are going to come and go. How we handle them is important and affects the direction and quality of our lives as they unfold. There are some things we do in season and out of season. 2 Timothy 4:2 suggests some things we need to be prepared to do during any season. In Christian believer’s lives, we should, like Timothy, be ready to preach the Word of God no matter what the season.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven … (11) He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Verse 11 is huge! You are a very important part of “everything.” Your life is beautiful! Especially when you are in season. So the question is: when are you in season? When are you beautiful?

What about Winter? Is it possible to be “in season” when the season you are currently in is one of losing a loved one, being without a job, or even battling with a sickness or a financial challenge?

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Winter is a season of life. Thankfully, it is not all of life. There is a new season coming. However, while you may be in a winter season, it does not mean that nothing of value is taking place. A tree buds and blooms in the Spring. That same tree leafs out and produces fruit in the Summer, and it displays awesome color in Autumn. The same tree appears to be barren and doing nothing in the Winter, but not so! Trees are working hard to expand and extend the underground root system that supports the tree through all of the seasons. When you find yourself in the middle of Winter, grow deeper roots! Dig into the solid ground of the Word and Wisdom and be prepared to support the coming seasons as they arrive.

Do the flowers or the birds work hard at being beautiful? Neither should you. Just be who God created you to be in every season, and God will be faithful to do it! Yes, make you beautiful. The little fox in the cover photo is in an uncomfortable season, but he is still beautiful!

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

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The Heart of a Father

by Fred Hughes

The heart of a true father comes from having a relationship with God the Father. We who are earthly fathers are important to our family because we exemplify Christ and his union with the Father.

When we take the hand of one of our children and lead them, we are developing that same union that we enjoy with Christ and that He enjoys with the Father. We become one in the Spirit. We experience the Father’s, heart.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.  Colossians 1:13 NIV

A father will rescue his family from the darkness and bring them to the kingdom of light. That is our first and most important assignment.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Let us never forget that our old selves died with him on the cross that the tyranny of sin over us might be broken.  Romans 6: 6  Phillips

The heart of the father is that his children will grow and prosper in all areas of life. For that to become a reality, they must be born again and develop a relationship, a union with the person who overcame sin and death for them, Jesus, is their redeemer. They need to see, in their father on earth, what their father in heaven looks like. We must help them transfer their trust to a much greater one than us.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 KJV

I and my father are one. John 10:30  KJV

At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  John 14:20  NKJV

 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17  KJV

Discovering the heart of the Father and introducing Him to your own child is perhaps the greatest accomplishment of fatherhood. Knowing He will never leave them or forsake them. Knowing that He loves them even more than you do. What peace and joy!

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians  1:27  KJV

Your heavenly Father Glories in you in the same way you glory in your children.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27 KJV

While he who joins himself to the Lord is one with him in spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17  Moffatt

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.  1 John 4:4  NKJV

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 4  NIV

There is, therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1  KJV

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pray for true fathers to rise up and have a heart for the children, declaring, Isaiah 54:13  Our children will be taught of the Lord, and great shall be their peace. NIV

Fred Hughes, M. Photog.

HeartofaFather1 (Custom)

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