This post is a slightly less serious one. No theology, no deep thoughts, just a little funny story about bugs.
Do you like bugs?
I'm not a huge fan. I find most of them ugly, and if they don't come with evil eyes (or teeth) they're probably poisonous or spreaders of some kind of disease. I hate especially those with those long spooky antennas, you know, the ones that move around like they're "feeling" the air seconds before they detect you and jump to bite you right in the neck, vampire-style. mean, even the "pretty-looking" ones (and by that I mean butterflies and ladybirds) look kinda off. Seriously, have you looked a butterfly in the eye? Take the pretty wings off and what you've got left looks pretty much like a strange naked moth. And the ladybirds, see how they hide their wings under their shell? That's right, the two red spotty shelly things are NOT wings! They only use those to jump around. Would you trust someone who deliberately chooses to hide this kind of TRUTH from you? Well, I wouldn't. So there.
That said, I do not consider myself an enemy of the bugs. I realise this may sound contradictory with not only what I've just written, but also considering my experience with bugs this past year.
You may or may not remember my little insect-related problems when I first arrived in Aix. I was literally surrounded. Kitchen, cupboards, front door, toilet, living room and, as I found out later, even my bed was infested. Armed with all sorts of more or less eco-friendly products, I fought the good fight. It involved a lot of blood and tears (literally). The bugs won. I moved out. Was it a humbling experience? Hmmm. No. It was a nightmare and I had never felt so stressed during the 6 weeks I spent in that flat than I had been my entire life, except maybe the first time I had to talk to a Yorkshire bus driver (but that's another story).
This little history between me and bugs is precisely why I love the irony of last night's email. I received an email offering to give me money for taking photos of my shoes crushing and smashing... BUGS. I kid you not.
This is what the underlined bit says (roughly):
"[The job] is about making short videos of bugs being crushed under a shoe. You can do it yourself at home by following the instructions. Bugs will be ordered and delivered by post for free."
You know what the funny thing is? The first question that went through my head wasn't "How much does he pay people for that?" or "What kind of shoe do I have to wear?". No, it was "Will the bugs be alive in their boxes?". You see, despite my genuine disdain for bugs, I don't particularly enjoy killing them. I love nature - it's God's creation and bugs are a part of it so I do find them fascinating and wonderful in that sense. But I'm not one of those people who will smash a spider or whatever crawly thing shows up under my nose without giving it a thought, not if it's not threatening my health in some kind of way. Chances are I would probably tell YOU off if I saw you killing an ant for no reason.
I don't know who this bug-buster guy is. His ad is probably a scam. If it's not a scam I find the concept ridiculous, useless and inciting cruelty towards animals. Even if the bugs are fake ones.
So what do I do? Should I respond just to try and find out what the deal is? Or tell him he ought to post his ads in a more relevant section next time? (unless babysitters around the world are now known for their amazing smashing-innocent-living-things skills, which in that case should worry all the parents out there).
What about you :
Are you afraid of bugs or one in particular?
How do you deal with your phobia?
Have you ever taken part in a bug crushing video clip?
Have you ever looked a butterfly in the eye? (kidding- although...)
It has come. Twenty-Fourteen is here. The start of a new year… Am I excited? Hmmm, not really! What I mean is I’ve had my share of “new beginnings” in 2013 so I am not feeling particularly excited about 2014 in that sense.
I am full of expectations though! I guess I'm seeing 2014 more as a kind of "background" God will use to continue this wild wild thing he started in my life 10 months ago as I set foot on French soil.
It is kind of a God thing to take something old and make something new out of it, to start new things. We can see that in the words of the prophet Isaiah announcing the coming of the Messiah:
'This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.'
So does God have more new things in store for me this year? Perhaps. Will Jesus come back? Not a clue. But what I know for sure is that God has already started something new in me in Christ, and he promised he would one day finish it when I see him face to face.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
It's this time of year, friends. Time to stop and ponder afresh this divine mystery that is the incarnation: God with us; Emmanuel. This is something I will probably never fully understand until I see him face to face!
"That the Creator himself comes to us and becomes our ransom - this is the reason for our rejoicing." ~ Martin Luther
I thank God for coming in our midst, for getting his hands dirty and for offering us what no one else, especially not ourselves, could never attain: pardon for sins and eternal life. What a reason to rejoice, indeed!
:: HAPPY CHRISTMAS ::
Today I deactivated my facebook and twitter accounts.
It's not the first time I've done it but I am hoping this hiatus will last a little longer than the last one (current record: 3 months). I maintain what I wrote a while ago about social media and how I think it's brilliant. I also remain firm on my position that it can have devastating consequences depending on how (and how much) you use it.
My main issue with social media has been that it was distracting me from important things. You have to know yourself, I suppose. I'm curious by nature, always have been, always will be. I'm also relationship-oriented, meaning I value people and friendship over tasks and efficiency and love to stay connected with folks. I am also a brilliant, top-of-the-pop, successful, high-achieving procrastinator. Mix those things together, give it a good shake, and you obtain a dangerous cocktail which, I have to admit now, is not very compatible with social media. At least not if you're a student approaching exam time and already behind on your coursework.
But it's not just or so much time that those two social media platforms have taken lately. They've stolen space. My precious and lovely brain space. My brain batteries are depleting a lot faster now that I'm back to university and the ability to recharge them has somehow become more of a challenge. Social media demands too much of my precious brain juices. At the end of a busy day filled with lectures, my addicted - albeit exhausted - brain craves for social media. It still puzzles me how I sometimes log on to facebook without even thinking about it. I open my computer, I open facebook. If I were on Twitter, I'd probably punctuate this sentence with a #scary but that would be too controversial for this post...
So I'm back on the blog. Writing does demand brain space as well but, funny as it may sound, it also helps me recharge my batteries at the same time almost AS I WRITE. Maybe because it makes my brain muscles actually work instead of numbing them. Maybe because it forces me to think and not passively swallow all the information put there in front of me. What once was an entertaining, interesting thing to do - perusing photos, links and statuses, "staying in touch" - has now become tiresome and monotonous (dare I say "boring"?).
I didn't mean to write so much about it but here we go. There's a great deal I'm going to miss about both facebook and twitter (especially birthdays...) but I hope you and I can still stay in touch in an intelligent, human, perhaps even "real" kind of way.
How do you prefer to stay in touch with people?
Have you taken breaks from social media?
Did it make a difference?
How do you recharge your brain batteries?
You know how sometimes blog posts have those very ambitious titles "THE SECRET TO GODLINESS" or "HOW TO BE A GOOD PARENT" or "YOU CAN BE SINGLE AND CONTENT"? Yeah. I decided to do it the other way round for this one, and tell you about something I am actually good at.
I am very good at not being disciplined. I'm really rubbish at it. If you think you’re rubbish too, I am probably rubbish-er. Some days I’m better at it than others (that is, a bit less rubbish than usual) but most days I find it extremely painful to sit and write down to-do’s lists, let alone follow them. I’d rather eat a lemon.
Is that so bad? Isn’t it “just the way I am”? Well, maybe it is the way I am. But sometimes, the way you are is bad and it needs to change. Harsh. Yes. If you bear with me, it will all make sense in a couple of minutes. (Well, that is my hope anyway)
Picture the healthiest and fittest jogger you know. They usually happen to live next door to you and once in a while you bump into them on the way back from their morning run. They’re always wearing blue shorts, they’re sweaty and smiley. You feel pretty good cos you’re sweaty too (from walking to and back from the post office). They tell you all about the benefits of running and how you should join them one day, and you say “Oh yeah, that’d be grand!” which is code for “Over my dead body” – the latter most likely to happen in any case.
In my world those people fall under the "champion" category. They're brilliant at what they do. Now champions are nice, but I struggle to identify with them or be inspired by their achievements because they seem so “up there” and I am so “down here”. So true, isn’t it? In fact, no, it is so very wrong to think like that.
I’m a Christian and I like to say I read the bible. As a matter of fact, most days (the less rubbish days) I happen to do it! I was reminded of a shocking truth by God this morning.
My bible reading this morning started with: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” That’s good, isn’t it? I get the metaphor, Apostle Paul, and I agree. I ought to fix my eyes on loving and serving God faithfully, store up for myself rewards in heaven, look to what lies ahead, etc.
Then Paul had to ruin it. “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.”
Doesn't Paul sound a bit like a bootcamp leader in that one? You know, a camp where everyone would have to wear blue shorts and chant that verse while doing our morning push-ups? This is the kind of verse that makes me want to cry. (And in fact I did cry).
See, I don’t do strict and I’m rubbish at training, so I prayed: “Lord, I’m rubbish. Please, help me. Amen.” I’d lie if I said I haven’t prayed this prayer a lot lately. A couple of months ago I left my job, a country and city I love, a wonderful team of colleagues and church family, some of my best friends, nice coffee shops, human-friendly temperatures, and after many long years I find myself back in my passport country where I no longer fit in and where everything seems strange and “not done properly” (like tea or queuing for example). Some people might think I’m a champion at cultural adjustment considering I’ve lived in lots of places, but reverse-cultural adjustment is the hardest thing I’ve had to endure so far. It was a hard decision to make and it required sacrifices, call them big or small, and it still does. Am I willing to go all the way? Am I willing to take the opportunity I asked for but not the little adjustments that come with it? Last week I felt very annoyed by everything here and thought France, French people, French Christians and even French bread were RUBBISH (I know!). I guess all that is part of my life training and later I'll be able to look back and say, "I learnt something through that."
As tough as the idea of strict training may often sound or turn out to be, the part that annoyed me most in that bible verse weren’t the words “strict” or “training”. It says “Everyone” has to get into training. Ugh. Usually everyone means, well, every-person so I guess that includes me…
The reason someone becomes a champion at something is because they get involved in the training. They seriously do. They are – wait for it – disciplined. It is wrong for me to think that champions and I are at opposite ends of the spectrum, because this kind of perspective suggests that they have it easy. Everything may seem easy for them from my perspective, but the shocking truth is that their days are filled with lots of difficult decisions to make too. They just choose to make the right ones. If I’m honest, I make a lot of bad choices. Last night for example I went for seconds when I already felt full, then I checked my emails “just one more time” past my 10pm bedtime curfew. Then I woke up this morning complaining that I didn’t sleep well (maybe if I’d eaten less and gone to bed earlier I wouldn’t feel so crap). Little choices, you see.
So if that’s true for sports or art or whatever, it has to be true with spiritual discipline. Or should I say “spiritual self-discipline”. Notice the word “self” in there. Probably means I, me, have to get involved at some point.
So what am I going to do? Because I need to change and I am unwilling/lazy/not bothered. I like my comfort, someone to tell me what to do with my day, a monthly pay-check, a nice (normal) cup of tea, a trustworthy circle of friends to support me, walking around town without risking death-by-sunstroke, and people not cutting in the queue at the post office. All these things are gone – for now anyway – so what am I going to do in the meantime? Am I going to stare blankly through the window waiting to turn into an organisational wizard and for friends to magically land on my balcony? Or am I going to take things one at a time and deal with them?
Thing is, if you’re like me and you are rubbish at self-discipline, you need to take it easy on yourself. I mean that. Don’t expect to change overnight but rather aim at making one or two sensible, perhaps slightly uncomfortable, decisions every day that will get you a couple of steps further:
Hate paperwork? Start by taking a trip to the local stationary shop or post office and buy some envelopes of various sizes, stamps and a new ink cartridge. Stop and smell a flower on the way home. Once home, give yourself a little high-five or do a little dance. You may be all sweaty now but you’ll be better equipped tomorrow when you need to focus on those annoying forms to fill out because the technical stuff will be taken care of. (Note within the post: for those of you who think there is nothing very spiritual about sorting out paperwork or buying stamps, you are wrong, for some people leaving the house and facing the outside world requires an awful lot of courage!). If you’re not into sports but would like to get fit, before signing up for Rio 2016 I’d suggest to start with a 10min stretching exercises session every morning (or a couple more trips to the post office) then up it.
You get my point. You know yourself better than I do, so start somewhere and don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by everything all at once. Whatever it is you are aiming to achieve, don’t aim too big all at once – dream big, but aim reasonable. Prepare yourself for that little battle. Every champion started off RUBBISH and had to get to B before getting to Z.
Speaking from experience, though, let me tell you it won’t work every day. Some days you’ll eat three portions of your mama’s lasagna, you’ll tear a ligament or have no money for stamps because you bought biscuits instead. That’s OK. Life is full of unexpected “stuff”. Just don’t try and make it happen every day! I never promised a self-help post with lots of easy answers. I’m still rubbish at a lot of things, but with God’s help, and a bit of willingness to jump from one alphabet letter to the next, I believe it’s all doable.
For Christians looking for something more spiritual on Change, I’d recommend this book which I read with a trusted friend last year. It’s by Tim Chester so you can’t go wrong, basically.
Jeremiah was a man with a mission. And what a mission. God appointed him a prophet and messenger to Israel and promised him that everyone would reject his words. He wasn’t too happy about it at the beginning (surprise), “Ah, Lord, I don’t know how to speak, I am too young, etc”. In the same way Moses tried to dodge God's calling when he asked him to go talk to Pharaoh, Jeremiah was basically asking, "Pick someone else, please." Then, just like Moses, he got over it.
Jeremiah was talking to a wall. A big, hard, bullet-proof wall. Israel had been livin' la vida loca and ignoring God's commands for a while now. No wonder they would reject Jeremiah who would be speaking the very words they could not stand. They’d also want him dead a few times. God's personal message to Jeremiah that though he'd be attacked, he wouldn't be overcome, that God would always be with him and protect his life – how long it took him to believe and trust that word I don’t know, but surely it was enough to keep him going (for 52 chapters +5) even in times of utter despair, fear and heartbreak.
Jeremiah was a sensitive man. He loved his God and his people; it must have been really hard for him to tell folk those harsh truths God commanded him to. Imagine God asking you to stand outside your unbelieving family's or friend's house. As they come home after a long day at the office you welcome them at the door, shout all sorts of mean things right to their faces (words like "sinner", "idolater", might be overheard). That’s pretty much what Jeremiah was commanded to do on a daily basis. More or less.
As I said, it must’ve been hard and heart-breaking for this man of God, perhaps even more so as his message was not just rejected - it was misunderstood. His purpose was not to guilt-trip people but rather to call people to repent, change their ways, go back to a God who cares about them. Basically “he meant well” but people didn’t give a fluff.
This may all sound crazy. God can sometimes call us to do crazy things, and that’s OK. But for me, what strikes me most as I read Jeremiah is not so much the stuff he did for God but the relationship between him and God and the things they had in common. I believe God and Jeremiah were on the same wave-length. Both had love in their hearts, and both their hearts got broken.
After taking the trouble to deliver his people from slavery, including splitting of the Red Sea and other special effects, God had to put up with this very annoying bunch of people who were constantly forgetting what he had done for them and who kept returning to their old gods and idols. They did it for centuries, and are still doing it to this day.
I read chapter 7 this morning and was struck by a few things.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message:
Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place… (v. 1-3)
Nice, friendly introduction. God calls his people to repent and promises he will forgive and bless them. Notice what follows though:
If you do not [-do this and that-] and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place… (v. 4 -7)
I stopped there for a moment. “To your own harm”. What is that? Is that a threat? Is “to your own harm” the ancient, big voice-of-God-thundering-from-heaven version of “OR ELSE”? I thought about it for a minute, read on and realised one thing. It seems to me as if God isn’t just saying to the people that it's "bad "to not worship him and to do all those disgusting idolatrous things, he is warning them: “You are harming yourself more than anything else”. Worshipping anything or anyone other than God will lead to harm, a lot of pain, and ultimately, I suppose, death. ‘Cos no God, no life. (Bob Marley totally got it wrong)
I believe the Israelites were fully responsible for their sinful conduct and knew they were not walking in accordance with God's commands. In case they thought their behaviour were being unnoticed, God FYI’s them: But I have been watching! (read: I've seen and am disapproving of all of it) v. 11)...
… but perhaps they weren’t fully aware of how much harm they were doing to themselves. I’ve seen that in my own life. I know when I do something sinful and forsake one of God’s commands, but I don’t always realise the consequence of my actions in the long term. It doesn’t always sink in that those little sins aren’t just sins of now, but if I am not careful they will lead to other ones (often bigger ones), to sins of later. When I sin, I’m doing it to God, but I’m also doing it to me and, to a certain extent, to others around me.
When God repeats himself, it’s always worth listening. Again:
They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger. But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? (v. 18-19)
Their idolatrous worship is not only "to their own harm", it is now and also "to their own shame".
Ah, shame. I seriously hate shame. Shame is one of the most destructive things. Shame makes people feel embarrassed and insecure. Shame makes people feel worthless, ugly, stupid and commit suicide/become anorexic/hide in a room and watch porn/turn to drugs/sleep around/leave church/feel depressed/name it.
The gospel hates shame. Jesus hates shame. Jesus draws a line in the sand and says to Shame she can get lost. Shame is what sin brings upon us. And I believe the people of Israel had lost sight of that.
God reminds them through Jeremiah:
…when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. (v 22-23)
My heart breaks every time I read those words.
Can you hear God’s heart? “You didn’t get it, my love. It wasn’t all about the to-do’s list. Of course you’d get bored of it if it was all about that. It was about us. I was showing you my heart. I promised I’d be YOUR God and you MY people. I promised I’d remove all the shame and all the past hurt, and take care of your future, of everything. We’d belong together.”
So. Next time you and I feel like sinning deliberately, let us try and remember how much God wants us to live a shame-free life. Let us remember that one little sin will lead to a bigger one, and it will break us (in a bad way) and harm us more than we know. Above all, let us remember God’s love and his assured forgiveness for those who repent. And when we do repent, let us repent and be made strong in the same power that God used to raise Christ from the dead. Let us tell shame, sin and Satan to go and get lost.
Have you drawn a line in the sand today?
Lord, give us and show us your heart. Amen.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (The Bible, Hebrews 11:6)
This bible verse pretty much sums up my conclusions on some of the things I've experienced these past ten days.
Last week I was listening to my iPod on the bus. As I peered through the window I heard words that caught my attention:
"Maybe there's a reason for it [the state of our world]
But it's so hard to see...
So many broken people,
Living in this lonely city.
I give up and get up and realise
Your blood can cover all these stains,
Oh You don't ever miss a thing."
As I hinted earlier it has been an eventful ten days. But besides the holiday feeling, happy reunions with family and just general excitement about this new Marseille adventure, I have also, through various conversations with various people, experienced a lot of those unpleasant things that made me want to just 'give up'. I have seen sheer lack of understanding, compassion, kindness and respect towards humanity and Christianity. I have felt powerless in the face of verbal persecution and scornful remarks about the person of Jesus Christ. I have been offended, saddened, angered as I witnessed afresh the brokenness and fallibleness of our human nature. In those moments my whole being silently cried out to God "How can this be? Am I really hearing these things being said?"
Then I remembered the Christian song and wondered whether the lyrics reflected what God was trying to show me: I am surrounded by broken people - brokenness is right there staring me in the face, yet He is still sovereign and He can do something about it.
Perhaps God knew those difficult conversations would be happening (he doesn't miss a thing, right?). It must've been him who prompted me to pray one morning, "Lord, I am Your shining star in this place. Help me shine brightly, help me respond in the appropriate way to my new circumstances, and please give me Your words of life ." Stuff was bound to happen and in a way I am glad it did. I can't say I responded exactly in the way I should have, maybe I did, maybe what I said has already been forgotten... God alone knows.
But I am still SAD. So very sad as I replay those things I heard in my head. Have people's hearts been so deeply wounded and broken that they would forget their own fragility as humans? Why so much pride and hatred and fear? Deep down I know this is the result of sin and rebellion, but I am sad.
I may just be a religious puppet talking through my old stinky sock in many of my unbelieving friends' eyes, but I praise God for I know whom I have believed. I have not given up hope just yet! Sin may have broken people's hearts but Christ's love is unbroken. And this gives me strength and courage.
I need to pray for healing for these people and for this city, where out of its 1,5 million inhabitants not many are seeking God - not earnestly, not remotely.
And I want to pray for faith, because where there is no faith there is no concern for God or the things of God - the things that please him, his commands to love and serve him and our neighbour - and this is where things need to start.
What is God doing in this city? What will he do? How will he bring about change in people's hearts? The task seems so big and I am so very small. Where will God start? Maybe it starts with prayer. God of this city, show them that you exist! Give these people faith I pray!
This week I am thinking about Giving - the giving of myself and my talents to God, to others. What about God's mission? I sometimes feel like I have so very little to contribute; that that other person's gift is better or more useful or more practical than mine. But perhaps it isn't about quantity. Graham Orr, OMF missionary who spent nearly 20 years in Japan, shares some insights in his book 'Not So Secret':
As I have reflected on my own feelings of helplessness in the face of the enormity of the task, the weakness of my desire to make Jesus known - which may seem strange given that I am a missionary - and my frustration in failing to do it well, I have discovered afresh the variety of roles that I, others and God play in telling others about Jesus.
I sometimes struggle to see how God's Word applies to me and my life. Especially when I've been waiting a long time for some prayers to be answered. For hearts of loved ones to fully turn to Jesus. For manna to rain from heaven.
The funny thing about waiting is it can be all-consuming. It inhales my attention, chews my focus and swallows my thoughts, leaving me in a place of uncertainty and doubt. I forget God's power to fulfill my hopes for prayers answered. It's then, when I can't see how He's going to bring things to pass, I have to rely on His faithfulness in the past.
"Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old." Psalm 25:6 (NIV)
Remembering God's faithfulness in other's lives in Scripture, reminds us of His faithfulness in our own.
When the waters rise, you've waited long for rescue and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 8:1*: But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.
When dust and debris threaten to replace passions, dreams and callings and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 9:15: I will remember my covenant between me and you.
When the pitter-patter of little feet is silent and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Genesis 30:22: Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive.
When fear, worry, doubt and anxiety enslave and you feel God's forgotten, remember... Exodus 2:23a, 24a, 25b: During that long period...The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out...God heard their groaning and he remembered... and was concerned about them.
When you can't sleep and restlessness sets in, remember... Psalm 63:6-7: On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
When guilt consumes and you fear God will never forget your sins, remember... Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
When all hope is lost, remember... Luke 24:6a-7: He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you...'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'
When your marriage comes back from the brink of despair, remember... Deuteronomy 8:2: Rememberhow the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness.
When dreams come true and you're thriving in your calling, remember... 1 Chronicles 16:12a, 15: Remember the wonders he has done... He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations...
Recalling these accounts in Scripture helps me remember His goodness in my own life. When I can't see how He is moving on my behalf, I choose to remember that He promises to be just as present and faithful to me and you today as He was for others in the past.
When joy surrounds. When sorrow clobbers. When all's right in our world. When the bottom drops out. When we feel loved and cherished. When we feel abandoned and alone, let's remember... They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. (Psalm 78:35)
Dear Lord, Your love and Your grace never fail.
Please help me remember this today and always.
Thank You. In Jesus' Name,
--by Samantha Reed
(More from Sam on her website)