Thursday, October 29, 2015

Stopping for No One. . .

I believe everyone has at one time or another, been driving in the wee hours of the morning, and have been totally alone on the road. It’s as if the whole world is asleep, and you are the only one awake. . . and you happen to come to a stop light, which is red in your direction. As far as the eye can see ahead of you, and behind you. . . to your left, and to your right there are no car lights even in the far distance to be seen. How long do you wait? How long before the little voice in your head says to you, “Just go on through. . . It is senseless to stop for no one. . .no one will see. . . no one will know. . . it will make no difference”

Have you given in to this urge? I know that I have. . . knowing that I am breaking the law, but deciding that for that place and time, the law is senseless, and is not important to keep.

It takes a very disciplined person, never to have run a red light when there is no possibility of anyone else seeing it. It’s about as much of a victimless crime as there can be, but I’d like to argue, that even at that laws should be obeyed out of respect for the law and what it stands for.

As much as they chaff and bind, and seem to restrict our freedom and happiness, without law there is anarchy. . . total civil breakdown. . . confusion. . . violence, and abject subjection to whomever is the strongest at that moment. Certain aspects of the law, may be seen to be unfair in their basis, or possibly unfair in their enforcement, but taken as a whole we benefit from the law, and society as we know it is dependent on the structure of the law holding it together.

As respect for, and the adherence to the law breaks down, so does society itself. Surely only the most naive can imagine that the elimination of the structure of law would benefit anyone, but the meanest bully on the block.

My first exposure to law, was parental law. I was generally an obedient child, but I can still remember my questioning and resisting the rules. . . the laws of my parents because I did not see the purpose in them. . . The list is long. A few representative: a set bedtime. . . eating your vegetables. . . not riding my bike on busy roads. . . and on and on. My not understanding of them, was no indication that there wasn’t good purpose for them.

There are reasons for not touching hot stoves, or riding bicycles on heavily trafficked roads, or getting sufficient sleep, or eating foods with needed vitamins, I can now see that as an adult. I can also see that it is childlike to disregard laws as unimportant and unworthy of being followed merely because I don’t understand and/or agree with them.

I see taken as a whole, our society’s respect for the law, and for the officers of the law diminishing at an accelerating rate. . . a small example, anymore it is rare on my 6 mile trip to and from work, not to have someone pull out in front of me from a side street without even slowing down a little bit. People almost totally disregard stop signs any more. Stop lights have a little more respect, but stop signs if any mind is paid to them at all, are viewed at most as yield signs. Driving has become as a result, significantly more dangerous.

Law officers are now looked upon by many, as opponents, rather than as allies. . . abusers of our freedom’s rather than as protectors. Disrespect for and outright hatred of officers of the law has reached heights unimaginable only a very few years ago.

As Christians, we cannot follow the world, and fall into this trap. It is clear from Scripture that we are to be law abiding citizens:

Titus 3:1
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

Romans 13:1-7
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (5) Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (6) For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. (7) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

1 Peter 2:13-15
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; (14) Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (15) For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

Submit yourselves. . .note that if you agree with something, then it’s not submission. Submission is to follow even in disagreement. Submission is to do it against your will. Neither God’s Law, nor the law of men are of a cafeteria type choice. We cannot pass through life deciding what law suits us and will be obeyed, and which will be passed over for something more pleasing to us.

Submission is an anathema today. The world teaches that to curtail any desire, is to restrict the full development of person, and any guidelines or strictures upon a person deform their personality. This is utter nonsense. I was there. . .My children were not born perfect entities. . . They were born with inherent violence, and deceit within them. They needed guidance and rules and teaching and correction in order to become good citizens in the community of man.

These same needs follow us as adults. We are properly given civil and spiritual authorities over us to guide us, and develop us in the case of our Pastor’s into righteous God fearing people, with a hope of attaining everlasting life in heaven.

Exodus 19:9-13

And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. (10) And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, (11) And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. (12) And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: (13) There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

God gave Moses the authority to set boundaries beyond which the people were not to go. This boundary was an arbitrary decision by Moses. . . a boundary. . . a decision made by Moses, but enforced by God.

My Pastor has set boundaries, beyond which I may not go without peril. He has made decisions, as to what he allows as proper, and holy. . . allowed behavior and disallowed behavior. Do I agree with it all? Do I understand it all? The answer to both is, ‘no’. We can endlessly argue about apparel, and hair length, and allowed activities etc. etc. etc. etc., but that is not submission to the Man of God, who is given spiritual authority over, and responsibility for us.

At 4 a.m. there is no chance of anyone seeing whether I obey the traffic signal or not. . .but my heart knows. . .my flesh knows. . .and my flesh is strengthened, and my spirit is weakened by giving into that very minor breaking of the law. Likewise my pastor will never know if I have a glass of wine with dinner when on vacation. . . He will never know if I go to the beach or use the hotel swimming pool immodestly dressed when on a business trip. . . but that’s the whole point of true submission to authority, it’s the following of the law even when there is no chance of being caught. . .

I love and respect God. . .and I also love and respect my Pastor. My Pastor is God’s favorite tool used to shape and mold me.

Jeremiah 3:15
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

Obey God. . .
Obey your Pastor. . .
Obey the law. . .


Monday, October 26, 2015

Death by Inches. . .

The past few weeks Jackie and I have been watching the series ‘Breaking Bad’ on Netflix. The scenario is of a high school chemistry teacher, who is diagnosed with lung cancer, and to help pay for his treatment, he turns to manufacturing meth as a way to make money.

I find a peek into this world, fascinating for the fact that I am in regular contact with the after effects of meth addiction in my personal life. . . my best friend Matthew Yeater was blinded by an explosion that occurred while cooking meth himself, and in my ministry. . . many many of the people we minister to in the jail a there via their use or manufacture of meth.

I don’t know how realistic the show is, in its portrayal of meth addiction, and the cooking of it, etc., but one thing I do find realistic, from my outside looking in perspective, is how this man thought somehow that he could just stick his toe into this world of meth, and so very quickly he was immersed up to his neck. This jives pretty closely with the stories I’ve heard of meth and crack users. . . Some I’ve known, have related how literally after one use, what they thought was a one-time casual use at at party, they were full blown addicts, out of control for years afterwards, and their lives completely dominated by these drugs.

A sequence from a recent episode, reverberated with me very strongly. A woman. . . maybe in her late 30’s or early 40’s, a heavy meth addict was portrayed. She had a young son 3 or 4 years old living in squalor. . . filthy himself, unattended, in the wreckage of a meth den. I say she was 40 or so, due to the age of her son. If I had no other clue, I could easily have guessed her to be in her 60’s. Her face disfigured by crank sores, or speed bumps as they are called. . .ugly vivid red sores caused by the severe addict’s malnourished, wrecked body just falling apart after months or years of abuse. . . The house had layers of garbage and filth everywhere. The child was left unattended as his mother, and boyfriend were out searching for more drug.

I am certain that there are similarly horrible scenes of just this scenario. . .Poor, pitiful, neglected children living hellish childhoods within our own community. . . very possibly behind drawn curtains of houses and apartments we drive by, mere yards away every day. . . I weep at the thought. . . I see men come into the jail. . .Absolutely GRATEFUL!!! for being arrested. . . . looking upon arrest as a blessing from God, for delivering them from the hell that was their life in bondage to meth or crack.

It strikes me that the addict portrayed in this episode of ‘Breaking Bad’, didn’t arrive in this state in a day, a week, or a month. This is the result of the chronic putting off dealing with an issue for years. . . .Never facing up to what needed to be done. . . ever deeper. . . ever deeper. This is an extreme example of the eventual outcome of procrastinating and putting off something that needs to be dealt with in your personal life day after day after day for years on end. . .

With regularity, you read of poor souls who weigh 500 or 600 lbs. . . confined to a bed, who cannot even rise up and leave their house any more. Their problem came about one bite at a time. . . one more spoonful. . . one more forkful. . .ignored. . . untended for decades until they are in peril of their lives, from a spoon and a fork.

How many of us have, maybe not as dramatic, but issues just as threatening facing us, that we somehow think we can put off forever with no consequences. . . Smoking. . . drinking. . . eating poorly. . . not exercising. . . all small step problems. . . one sip. . . one cigarette. . .one snack. . .one more day watching TV without exercise,. . . (if I may as a preacher. . . one more little sin). . . with fatal outcomes if not addressed at some point.

I’m speaking to myself. For months now I’ve been putting off getting my exercise bike setup, and using it. . . one more day. . . one more week. . . one more month. . . killing me slowly. . . invisibly, but just as certainly as a gunshot to the head, if I don’t tend to this. . .

I look down upon the lady meth addict, while at the same time in my own life doing a quite similar thing. A mental image of my face, covered with meth sores. . .really quite similar, in superficial appearance anyway, to ulcerated diabetes sores from long term ignoring of high blood sugar. . . amputated limbs. . .nerve death. . .non-functioning kidneys. . . heart attack. . . premature death.

I vow to get that bike setup tonight, and to pedal myself to better health. . . Problems don’t get any better by ignoring them. . .

I love you my God.
Thank you my Lord.


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Road to Bear Heaven. . .

Years ago Jackie and I were driving in the mountains of West Virginia looking for a camp site. We finally found one at the top of a mountain in the Bear Heaven recreation area. The road to the mountain, was just a one lane trail, more than a proper road. There was no way that two cars could pass on this very narrow twisting dirt path around the mountain. As a flatlander, I distinctly remember white-knuckling the steering wheel, as we navigated the switchbacks up the side of this mountain. I told Jackie, that if we met someone coming the other way, that I was going to get out of the car and throw my keys over the side of the mountain, so that I could not be forced to back my way down the mountain.

It was a new experience. It was very scary. . . very uncomfortable to me. I imagine that the locals, people who navigated roads like that regularly, found no big discomfort in that situation at all, but to me it raised my heart rate, and blood pressure, about the same as if I was being chased by a bear or some other life threatening situation. But realistically. . . logically, there was little danger in creeping along the side of a mountain at 5 mph. In absolute terms, I was in far greater danger, on the well paved state highway, with the 55 mph posted speed limit. . . passing within a few feet of opposing traffic going 55 mph in the other direction.

110 mph of speed differential between two cars or a car and an 18 wheeler, means pretty certain grave injury or death in a headon collision. I have to have faith in an unknown driver, not to be drunk or high or texting on their phone, or distracted by children, my tires not blowing out, or my brakes failing or etc. etc. etc. It happens every day, that people are killed on a well paved road from headon collision accidents, and I think it is very very very rare that someone dies by sliding down the side of a mountain in West Virginia creeping along at 5 mph.

Yet the unfamiliarity of the one situation, and the familiarity of the other situation caused me to evaluate the risks in totally different ways. A way of stating this might be, that the familiarity of a risk, doesn’t lessen its potential danger to you. A familiar deadly danger, becomes no less deadly merely because it is familiar.

As an atheist I loudly proclaimed my disbelief in God. If there was no God, then there was no judgement and there certainly was no hell. There was no code of morality to follow. If I did good, it was merely my decision to do good. . . a completely altruistic act, with no consequences outside of itself, likewise if I decided to do bad, it was an act which stood alone without connection to anything outside of itself.

But once God revealed Himself to me, then everything that I did was connected to me, and to God and to my future. That was a considerable change in viewpoint to me. I knew the difference between right and wrong. I just didn’t figure, that it made any real difference, therefore I did as I wanted, and didn’t give too much thought about it afterwards.

So therefore, I can understand someone who doesn’t believe in God, doing wrong. I get that. The mystery to me, is those who profess to believe in God, but do wrong in spite of that belief. Somehow they have convinced themselves that it doesn’t really matter to God how they live their lives. That God is a God of love only, and not a God of judgment. They can continue to lie, steal, commit adultery, etc. etc. etc., and when they stand before Him at the time of judging, they imagine that He will overlook all that, and He will say, “We done my good and faithful servant”. . . even though they have been neither good, nor faithful, nor His servant in the way they have lived their lives.

Matthew 25:21
His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

The Bible is God’s Word. It is given to us for instruction, and it is clear that God does forgive, but it is just as clear that He expects us after that forgiving, to “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11), as Jesus told the woman caught in the act of adultery. Sin is to be repented of. . . to be turned away from, not to be accepted. . . it must be fought within us every day. . . every hour of every day. . . Yes we will occasionally stumble, but we don’t remain there. We rise up. We brush ourselves off. We tell God how sorry we are for disappointing Him, and we go back to living for God.

Sin is death. It is also very familiar, but that does not detract anything from its lethality. As a flatlander, the edge of a West Virginia mountain cliff scared the willies out of me, but in all likelihood that cliff has been there for 1000’s of years in the past, and will remain there for more uncountable 1000’s of years into the future. But the edge between life and death that I walk upon each day, with every heartbeat and every breath, will with certainty give way into the abyss one day in the near future. A bus can hit me tomorrow. A heart attack may strike me in the next hour, or I may die in my sleep 10 years from now, but it is coming, and I must be ready for it.

Again. . . I beg you, do not let yourselves be deceived. Sin is death, therefore flee from it. . .

I love you my God. . .
Thank you for making a way for me. . .
Thank you for saving me. . .


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Tomorrow's Amish. . .

Our world is a changing. . . This morning I renewed my license plates online. A very painless process. It took less than 2 minutes, and I’d never done it before. I had to create an account and password, security question, etc., and even with that, in less than 2 minutes my new license plates were on their way to me. . . Compare that to the frustration of years ago, heading to the license branch on the last day of the month with everyone else whose name began with ‘S’, and as you finally found a parking space, glimpsed with trepidation your first view of a line threading out the door and around the building. . . knowing you had to endure at least an hour or maybe even two of waiting for the pleasure of paying for your license plates. . . now less than 2 minutes online and the plates are delivered to your door.

Remembering payday years ago, and heading to the bank with your check in hand, again to stand in line to cash your check, or possibly hoping against hope that the cashier at the grocery store would accept your ID, and cash it for you when you bought your groceries. . . Now with E-banking, and direct deposit becoming so prevalent, both the bank branches, I used to frequent as recently as two years ago, are now both vacant, and for sale or rent.

I still go to the grocery store, but for other shopping, much of it is now done online. Today I buy our dog food from Amazon. I find a cheaper regular price, than the pet store offers and it’s delivered to my door for free. Same with my parrot’s food. I’ve bought shoes, other clothing. . . games, books, movies. . . Video stores. . . does anyone still go to a video store for movies, etc.? I refuse to go to University Park Mall, the large shopping center in the large city to the west of here. Between $5-$10 in gas. . . frustration of the traffic, long long stop lights and parking. . . I just won’t do it.

Even as a child, I remember every neighborhood having it’s own little grocery store. . . replaced by a few supermarkets per town, which in turn were replaced by an even fewer all in one superstores per town, these too I think are now soon to be largely replaced by one or two massive distribution centers per state. I can compare prices, and reviews between the online sellers, and order from the comfort of my easy chair in a small fraction of the time, and expense of going to the stores in person. Returns are as easy as the purchases. . . No long lines at the service counter. . .Tell them you don’t like it for whatever reason, and they give you, no questions asked, a prepaid UPS label to send it back.

Mom and Pop stores are nice and quaint and terribly expensive, and inefficient compared to the large scale automated operations of today’s retail giants. I do remember, and mourn their passing in a rhetorical sense. . . but at the same time I surely don’t want to pay twice as much for my merchandise merely to satisfy this sense of nostalgia.

Convenience, reduced prices, reduced traffic, reduced demand on real estate, and at the same time reduced employment opportunities. I began my working career as a bag boy in a little neighborhood grocery store, where everyone knew your name. The customers were all old friends. Many lived within walking distance of the little grocery store. . . a bygone era.

Really unknown, with nothing comparable today, I remember my mother, having coffee and chatting, almost every morning with the neighbor ladies. Mrs. Adams, by best friend’s mom, who lived across the street. I remember hearing the blood curdling screams, of my best friend’s brother Jerry, the day when he got his arm caught in the wringer of an old style washer, crushing his arm up to the elbow. Mrs. Gunts, my next best friend’s mom after Bobby Adams moved away. . . Mrs. Campbell, who lived next door, and baby sat us when mom and dad would go out. I remember that she croched , and so many miles of thread had passed over the side of her index finger, that she actually had a groove worn in her skin. She was a kindly, heavy set lady, who I think had asthma or some other trouble breathing, and hummed with each breath that she took. Across the street from her, lived Mr. and Mrs. Williams, a retired elderly couple who lived catty corner to us. Mr. Paul Williams was blind in one eye. He had been struck by a piece of coal in the coal yard where he worked and was blinded as a result. Mr. Robinson, who lived catty corner the other way, who was a traveling salesman, he had a high school aged son Bruce, who was only occasionally there, who was my hero. I really looked up to him. . . and then there was the poor Anderson family, who lived at the end of our dead end street. Mrs. Wanda Anderson was psychotic, and heard voices talk to her. Her children, my age and a little younger. . . not well dressed. . . not well fed. . . not well cared for. I remember my dad being party to a little neighborhood vigilante group of men, who one summer, evenings after dark, tried to catch some neighborhood teens who thought it great fun to throw rocks through Mrs. Anderson’s windows at night. . .

I could go on and on I can think of more details of more neighbors spreading out further in the neighborhood, but the point is that everyone knew everyone else in the neighborhood when I was growing up. Moms had coffee and borrowed cups of sugar from one another on a regular basis. Dads borrowed lawn mowers, and tools, and helped each other out with projects and tasks. . .

In my neighborhood, I know one of my next door neighbors. We talk across the fence regularly. He and I work together. We watch their dogs when they go out of town. His kids wave or stop and say ‘hello’ if I’m out working in the yard, but my neighborhood familiarity ends there. The people catty corner to us, I wave to, but I have no idea of their names. My other next door neighbor, the same way. I see him mowing his lawn, but I know nothing of him beyond that he lives alone and leaves for work every day about the same time as I do.

Is there anything at all remaining of the world I grew up in today?. . . maybe other than the congregations of churches. I think, in a small way that same sense of community is found in the pews, of our church anyway. In the last 15 years, I’ve watched, and been been a participant in children from toddlers to high school. I’ve watched a young one transform from playing with Matchbox cars and falling asleep beneath the pews, into being a student at Purdue today. . .I’ve prayed for illness, and rejoiced in celebration of successes from many people. I’ve lived births, and deaths, and marriages, and divorces with a couple of hundred former strangers. . . whom I now call brothers, and sister. . .I have found. . . or maybe helped create a place where everyone knows my name as the old Cheers theme song goes. . .and it is a comfort to me. It is strength to me, but for people of today’s world. . . is it maybe too alien, or too threatening, or somehow too unsanitary and intrusive to have strangers enter your life in that manner?

Are we in the twilight of church as we know it? Is the future of the church to be found in streaming services. . . maybe we in the not too distant future will have holograms, and virtual reality headsets by which we attempt to duplicate the power of an anointed preacher, or a shake down the walls Holy Ghost worship service via the Internet. . . I don’t know how that can be. I cannot imagine it, but maybe someday we will look upon this era as the time of the sunset of the Mom and Pop church. . . replaced by huge regional Spiritual distribution centers. . . the local church a faded memory only or possibly found only in quaint backwater communities, like the Amish and their horse drawn carts living in a 4-lane highway world. . .

You can resist change. You can cling to old ways despite the current of the world. Again, the Amish are surely proof of that, but how do we reach the other 99%. . . how do we reach those who refuse to ride in buggies and light their homes with kerosene lamps. . .who refuse to pass through a church door two or three times a week? Are they reachable? I don’t know. . . a question for which, I’m certain there is an answer, but am I willing and able to accept and see that answer. . .I just don’t know. . .

Thoughts on an October morning. . .

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jesus is My Balance Bar. . .

Continuing to think on how coming to God has changed me, in maybe not so expected or visible ways. . .
God has had a greatly moderating effect upon my life. My anger, my depression. . . in so many ways I am a calmer and steadier person since coming to God. One not so noticed way that I have become more temperant is in respect to my self pride. Like many. . . maybe most young people I came out of childhood and adolescence with a wounded and maybe somewhat fragile ego. I had a significant lack of self confidence, and feeling of low value. My military experience was a large help in giving me confidence, a feeling of competence and value. Going through Army basic training, and having success in my advanced training helped me greatly in my feeling of confidence and self worth. That shaky foundation may be covered over by subsequent experience and somewhat repaired, but is not easily healed.
It continued to manifest itself, by my always being on the lookout for slights, and disrespect. One of many examples comes to my mind. A new phone system was installed where I work, and there were two styles of phone for the system, a very basic white phone, which was restricted to only dialing calls, and a black multi-function phone which could do voicemail, intercom, message transfer, speakerphone, conference call setup, and the full range of tasks. I am now convinced that it was totally unintentional, but a white phone was put on my desk, and I remember how angry. . . how furious I was. . .the rage I was in, at what I was certain was an intentional slight and disrespect to my image. . . I was sure that this revealed management's disrespect and lack of value of me. This feeling of inner questionable worth, caused me to see everything as a personal affront. I saw lots and lots of things as attacks on my pride and self-respect, which were no such thing. This foundation of insecurity manifested itself in many ways. . . almost always expressed as anger and outrage at someone disrespecting me.
But ego, pride, self-confidence, are needful of moderation. A balance bar for a tightrope walker, helps keep him centered on the wire, as certain death lies to each side. Such is it with ego, and self pride. Disaster lies with too much, as well as with too little. My self pride eventually grew to great bounds. To even think that I required God or spiritual/moral authority or accountability in any way was hugely insulting to me. In my eyes, I was my own god. I was good. I was moral. I was altruistic, not requiring the bribery of heaven to do my good works. I was superior to Christians in every way. . .
As long as I could overlook my lying. . . my stealing. . . my oath breaking. . .my drunkenness. . . etc. etc. etc. etc. my overall immorality, I was a good person. . .as long as I had nothing to compare myself to.
I’ve said it before, if you’ve never seen anything white, you can convince yourself that any shade of gray is white, but as soon as you discover something pure and holy and truly righteous, then your filth becomes very very apparent. The scales come off your eyes, and you can for once see yourself for what you are.
I no longer have to depend upon the acclaim, and praise of men to pump up my self-opinion. I have my God who loves me. . . who values me. . . who despite my warts, and scars, and ugliness, sees worth and value in me. He gave of Himself in order that my sins might be paid for, and that I might escape the death that I totally deserved.
But in the other direction, I am today completely humbled and ashamed of how good I thought myself, and how evil I really was. In that still fresh memory, I despair of ever again becoming prideful and self-righteous. I carry the vision of my arrogance without any foundation. How smart. . . How wise. . . How righteous I thought I was. . .
Jesus is my balance bar. Keeping me from tipping into either the chasm of despair, or haughtiness which lie to either side of me. I am changed. I am remade. I am reborn, truly into a new creature. I will not go back to the land from whence I came.
I have found power, and I have found peace.
I thank you my God. . .
I love you my Lord. . .