Monday, May 28, 2012

Anger....One of Satan's Most Effective Tools

In March, my husband and I enrolled our son in the Ohio Wilderness Boys Camp.  This was a drastic move on our part, but one that we felt was necessary. 

Our son was always an adventurous, push-the-envelope type of boy, with a tendency to talk back and disobey.   We did our best to curb this behavior by first...time out; then...grounding; then we took everything away, play time, TV time, video games, you name it; we discontinued it.  We saw him get angrier and angrier, and this boy who was determined to be "gifted" intellectually, began not doing his homework, not turning in homework that was done, and his grades started falling.   We were very disheartened.  We tried homeschooling and what a fiasco that turned out to be.

He went out west to spend a week with his grandpa over Christmas holiday, and we began to do some remodeling in our basement only to find:  Beebe gun holes all over our basement walls, furniture slit by knives, and other destruction, and he had taken a machete (given to him by a friend of ours) and hacked little hunks out of almost all of the beautiful "old" trees on our property.

We despaired of what action to take and were contemplating a military school.  I contacted a friend who is a psychologist/counselor and asked  him what he thought about military schools.  His advice was to can the military school and consider one of the wilderness camps for boys or girls of which he had been a part when he was younger.   So, we investigated the camps.  We found out that it was sponsored/underwritten by the Anabaptist's and the Amish, so we figured that it must have some biblical components.  We were so desperate that we called and asked if they had any immediate placements available.   They advised us that they first had to come to our home and meet with us and our son.  We were asked if our son realized he had problems and was he willing to admit it and did he want help in overcoming his anger.  We set up our home visit.

Two gentlemen from the camp came out and explained the camp program; how it was developed, how it was implemented and what the average length of stay was and what the approximate success rate was.  We were encouraged, highly encouraged; and we signed him up.

When we delivered our son to the camp site in the middle of March, it was hard to leave him because the year and half  (the estimated length of stay) loomed long and all I could think about was what a huge chunk of his life we would be missing.  He was leaving a 12 year old boy and would return a 14 year old teenager. 

Each session at camp is six weeks long and during the session the boys choose their focus of study for that time period.  For instance, the current focus is geology and the prior one was astronomy.    We are required to write at least one letter per week to our son, and vice verse.  We are also required to attend one parenting class during that time.  At the end of the six week period, the child comes home for a four day "home visit" which it is suggested we keep as close to the camp schedule or rhythm as possible. 

Our son came home for his first visit at the end of April, and we were thrilled really with the improvement we found in him.    Not everything was perfect, of course, but it was far, far better than it had been before he went.   So, back to camp he went at the end of the four day stay.

Today we were invited to the camp for "Families Day".  (It is highly suggested that you send your child to a camp in your home state due to the amount of driving for /picking up/delivering and parenting classes involved.    My husband and I left our home at 6:00 a.m. in order to arrive for the festivities which were to begin at 9:00.  It has been unbelievably hot for May here in Ohio with today's high temp topping out at a lovely, sweltering 93 degrees!   Fortunately, we were going to the "wilderness" and there are lots of trees and shade around, but there are also foothills in the southeastern section of the state!  Foothills which had to be climbed, no less!  My poor husband had to do the climbing which I (because of my PD) got to be transported via an ATV.  

The camp is SO impressive.  The things they are teaching the boys; not just how to work out their problems, handle their anger and plan, do and evaluate each and every day, but how to build a place to live, eat, cook, study, craft, go the bathroom, with emphasis on being a team, having your friends' best interests at heart, cleanliness and personal hygiene, but also how to chop kindling,  make fires, how to clean and cook fish,  and how to manage a checkbook (they are allotted $4.50 per week for expenses like soap, toothpaste, etc., at a camp store). 

A lot of the therapy is done by peer pressure, for lack of a better term.  The unit consists of a ten boy and two men (called "Chief"s) team who live together, work together, play together, deal with anger, outbursts, rudeness, cursing, whatever together 24/7!!!  If one of the boys is having a bad day with a bad attitude and anger outbursts, etc., the whole team works on it until it is resolved, come what may, or maybe I should and miss what may until it is resolved, e.g., meals or bedtime.  If the problem's not solved by a meal time, the meal is missed; BY EVERYONE, including the Chiefs.  If it's not  worked out by bedtime, no one goes to bed until it is, even the Chiefs.  Oh, and by the way, did I tell you that the camp is on 400 acres, and while they are working out their problems they are marching all over that 400 acres?

There is no TV, no computers, no iPods, no cell phones,  no radios.    I guess they do have movie night once a week where they watch movies like Old Yeller and such, but that's it.   They do have books; good ones, the classics and wholesome ones, no magic, no witchcraft, sorcery, werewolves, vampires or mythological gods and goddesses.  Thank God my son loves to read. 

Families Day was really nice, too.  The boys got to show off their campgrounds to us; how they'd cleaned it, stocked it with wood, kindling and shavings, where they slept, how neat and tidy their beds and footlockers were, where they prepare their own  meals twice a week and eat them, where they bathe, use the bathroom, brush their teeth and have their end-of-the-day pow-wow each night before bedtime to evaluate how their plans for the day had worked out.

I'm sitting here crying as I write this because I'm thinking all children need to experience camp; maybe not for 18 months, but maybe for a couple of months.  The learning experience is priceless, and the leaders say when the kids re-test to go back into school, they are almost never behind and almost always ahead of the ones who go to public schools every day. 

After we got the grand tour, we went down to Pine Pond where the boys swim, fish and sometimes bathe.  They built a suspension bridge, too; a very nice one I might add.  Where does a child have an opportunity to learn things like this these days? 

The boys sang a couple of songs they had learned...songs with meaning; I think the one my son sang was something about being a diamond in the rough.  I wish I had the words to re-print here; they were beautiful and very touching. 

All the staff at the camp was introduced and each of the Chiefs talked a little about their team of boys.  One thing that one of the Chiefs from my son's group said was how in preparing for Families Day all the tarps had to be taken down and cleaned and the first few were easy but after a while it got boring and trying.  They took a four day camping excursion down the Kokosing River where they had some difficulties which bonded them closer as a group and when they got back to camp, they found that cleaning the tarps had taken on new meaning and purpose and once again was done with enthusiasm.  There's something to be said for bonding in the midst of turmoil and trouble, isn't there?

After the program and prayer, we all enjoyed grilled chicken, potato salad, lettuce salad, homemade bread and jam and desserts that were brought by all the parents.  The food was delicious and the fellowship was fine!

I was so impressed with the young people who are dedicated to this camp.  The people who run the camp (administrators) and the Chiefs get paid VERY little for their efforts.  Some stay a long time (a couple in excess of 15 years) and some not so long (a couple of years' service), but there is no doubt in my mind that they give of their best during the time that they are there serving and that they all have hearts for healthy (mentally, physically and emotionally) children. 

I realize this is quite long and if you have read this far, wow, you must have a child or know a child who needs a program like this.  If so, please click on the link above, and it will take you to their web site and you can get all the information you need.    I feel (at least for now) very blessed to have found this outlet for our son.  I will let you know more later, Lord willing.

For now, I leave you with these words:

Ephesians 4:26  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

Ephesians 4:31  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.

Ephesians 6:4  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Colossians:  4:8  But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

James 1:19   Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

James 1:20  for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Anger is NOT  a good thing and followers of Christ are called to lay down their anger because it does not produce the righteousness of God in them.  We are not to provoke our children to wrath!  This is a hard word, is it not?  May God bless you with His supernatural strength in overcoming this tool of Satan.  Amen.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A House Divided....Make that: A Nation Divided

Politics...I believe that the Adversary is using it to destroy this country.   The Bible says that a house divided will not stand.  This country is so divided because of political sparring that it cannot stand, and it seems to get worse everyday.   A true follower of Jesus Christ is a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and living in that Kingdom and presenting its King to the world is what we should be about.

It is difficult not to get involved in the political machinations of the U.S. and other countries, but the Bible is very straightforward in telling us that we are sojourners here on this earth and that we are not to get embroiled in the distractions of this world.

It is so easy to get fired up about the injustices that are abounding all around us, especially, for example, the way our rights are being erased right in front of our eyes.  But does a true follower of Jesus Christ have any rights?  Doesn't Jesus stress that we, once we believe that Jesus Christ is who He says He is and that He did what the Bible says He did, are His slaves and that we are to die daily to what we want or what we believe our rights are?

As Creator of the universe and everything in it, Jesus had a lot of rights, didn't He?   Yet, He gave them all up; He claimed no rights as He was beaten, mocked, spit upon and led to the cross

I notice that I get especially riled up when my "rights" are trampled on...whether it's at home or at work or in the governmental/public arena.  Yet, when these occasions occur, and I immediately commence to throw a barrage of verbal abuse upon whomever was so inconsiderate as to not consider my "rights", the Holy Spirit speaks to me and asks me "what rights, Kim";  "do you have rights?"  And it makes perfect sense to me. 

When I was immersed in sin, I was a slave to sin!  I can think of some sin I have committed in which I was completely and totally a slave to it as in "addicted" to it.   Like, for example:  ice cream, the "love" relationship I had with my husband in the days before we were married (not so much now, :), though), money, recognition/pride related to my work and well, pride in general, etc., etc., etc.

But now, I have betrothed myself to Jesus, my King; I am to be His bride.  I am His slave.  I, literally, owe Him my life, my soul, my all because He paid the death penalty I was sentenced to as a result of my conviction of being a descendant of Adam and Eve,  and thus, a sinner.

So, today I want to lay it at the cross...all my preconceived notions about what is right and what is wrong; all my beliefs of how I am to act as a follower of Christ, all my beliefs of what I am to speak up for and against; all my political leanings, and all my understandings of how I am to treat others like me who are really clueless about what we are to be doing.  And I ask the Lord Jesus to take it all and do with it whatever He wants.  I ask that He lead me, direct me, fill me and give me as much of His mind as I can take so I can understand Him and grow in His wisdom and be His presence here on this earth among so many who need Him.   It is my intent to continue following Him, reading His word, seeking His face, and I pray that He will search my heart and if there is any unwillingness in me, or any untruth in me or lack of faith in me that He will do away with it and make me willing and clean and pure and honest (not just with others but, and maybe especially, with myself and that He will build my faith and to increase my belief so that anyone I come in contact with will know that I am different; that I belong to Him.

That is my prayer for you, too, dear reader, and also...that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ's return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.   (Philippians 1:9-11) 

In His name I pray...Amen

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is it Just Me?

I am currently traveling, and it seems like everywhere I turn I am seeing things that, well, I don't know what to call them, but anyway, when I see them I immediately think of the book of The Revelation and all the happenings of the last days.

I saw a sign for Chipotle indicating "Salvation is Nigh" (Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.).

A boutique in the airport was named "The Spirit of the Red Horse".

and I am watching a little tv right now, and an ad just played for Nationwide and a photo of the four horses was used in the ad.  White, red, black and opaque!  What is up with that?

Anyone else noticing this besides me?  If you are, tell me what you're seeing.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Truth Hurts

Have you ever had to go to someone and tell them a known fact that will hurt their feelings, knowing in your heart that if you don't tell them they may lose their life or a limb or be otherwise damaged for their actions.

Here is an example:

Your child has an illness, but prior to knowing about that illness, he/she became involved in a sport or activity which became an integral part of their life.  Upon learning about the illness, the doctor informs you that your child must  not engage in this type of action anymore because if this one thing happens while your child is doing this action it will kill him/her.

Wouldn't you immediately go to your child and advise him/her of the danger now inherent to performing this feat?   Of course you would!

Why then is it considered hate speech these days to advise your children or others when their actions (which we might call "sin") while living day to day life (the thing that they love so much) will result in the death of their soul?

This came to me today as I was contemplating the subject of gay marriage.  I was thinking about this for several reasons:  1) President Obama's revelation this past week that he is now "pro" gay marriage; 2) my Pastor was involved in the United Methodist General Conference meetings where the issue of homosexuals in the church was an important discussion; and 3) I have someone near and dear to my heart who is directly affected by this matter because this person is gay.

(As an aside here, I just want you to know that after typing the above information.  I closed my laptop and sat it aside for about nine hours.)

The Holy Spirit convicted me today because I have tried to walk a thin line in this discussion by taking a position where my "near and dear to my heart" friend agreed to disagree, but I also never shared with this person exactly what my position is and why I feel the way I do.  I pussyfooted around the subject telling them (rightly to some degree) that he/she needed to read the Bible in its entirety and not just the verses that suited  his/her frame of mind and that (again rightly) he/she needed to take it to God in prayer and follow His leading in how to deal with the situation.

I still feel like all that advice was good advice.  However, there is so much more to actually being a disciple/follower of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said that for anyone to be His disciple, they would need to 1) die to their own wants (or their self); 2) they would need to daily pick up that cross of self-denial; and 3) they would need to follow Him, or as I look at it, walk in His footsteps...footsteps that lead to a cross, death, and miraculously, resurrection to an entirely new state of being.  href="">Luke 9:23-26 

We are also told that if we see a fellow believer in sin, we are to go to them in love and gently admonish them.  If they repent and return to the narrow path, then we are seen as a hero and will be rewarded, but if we see their sin and do not help them back to the path, then we will be held accountable.   (Read Ezekial 33 and Galatians 6).

This matter is the subject of a great divide that is being wrought in our country.  The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is very consistent.  The message that is woven throughout all 66 books does not unravel and change.  God created man and woman to be husband and wife and to reproduce and populate the earth.  The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed due the lifestyle lived within their walls (and I'm sure it consisted of more than just sodomy and lesbianism).    That being said, 1 Cor. 6:9 says:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
and Revelation 21:8 states with startling clarity:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and sexually impure, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
As we walk daily with Christ, we are to die to the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life.  It is a frequently used cliche' that "the truth hurts", but the statement is so true.   It hurts us deeply when someone points out our sin to us.   As human beings, we all have seen others suffer and have suffered ourselves through so many different types of discrimination, bullying, political inequities and general bigotry that I believe most of us are trying to be more kind, more loving, more accepting of each other.  However, if you really study Jesus as you read the Bible, you will note that He changed many people's lives simply by loving them and and being willing to teach them the about the fruit of self-denial; how it humbles you, how it helps you to see the importance of lifting others up while at the same time, keeping yourself to a minimum.  He taught respect for all people, no matter what their circumstances; BUT He did not teach tolerance for sin;  He showed them their sin, loved them and told them to go and "sin no more". 

As I have told this "near and dear to my heart" person many times, SIN IS SIN IS SIN.  God cannot even be in the presence of sin.  So all sin is equal.  A person who murders is a sinner.  A person who lies is a sinner.  A person who commits adultery is a sinner.  We have ALL SINNED!!  The GOOD NEWS (GREAT NEWS REALLY) is that God, in His wisdom, love and mercy saw that men and women had no ability to live sinless lives and therefore, all would be condemned to death for the price of sin is death. So our great God took on human form - the form of sin - and came and dwelt among us and took our punishment on Himself by dying on the cross and becoming sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. He did not come to condemn the world, but that the world, through Him would be saved (John 3:17).  He did NOT teach tolerance; He taught repentance, as in "you are forgiven; go and sin no more"! And once people's lives were transformed by His love, mercy and grace; His spirit was supernaturally imparted to them and each day He coaxed (coaxes) more and more obedience out of His followers. He taught (teaches) submission to HIS leading.   

Since God's ways are higher than ours and His thoughts are not our thoughts, He is capable of doing things and changing people in ways we cannot even imagine. BUT a life given to Christ IS a life of submission; a life of dying to: our fleshly wants,  the lust of our eyes (idolatry) and the pride of life. We have the right idea; but the wrong message. Love, acceptance; yes. Tolerance; no. Repentance; yes. Lead by example; die to yourself. Give up your wants and accept His desire for your life. A life lived like that is sure to impact many others.
Do you really think that a GREAT, MERCIFUL, LOVING, WISE God would draw you near to Him, reveal Himself to you, and leave you high and dry?  No way.  The One True God calls you, draws you, reveals Himself and leads you.   You will know when He is calling you to leave another part of the "old life" or the "old man" behind, and IT WILL BE HARD, but such is the life we are called to.
2nd Timothy 1:12:
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
If God brings you to it; then God is gonna see you through it!  And REALLY, if you have understood the great Biblical truths that are contained in the Word; seen Jesus Christ for WHO HE IS; and CHOSEN to follow Him, don't you REALLY want to be like Him and live the way He lived in accordance to His laws and leading?  If not, then it's all really just another VIRTUAL REALITY being played out in your mind and not being lived out in real life.
To bring this to a close, I have to go back to that 9 hour interlude when my laptop was closed.   I didn't want to write this when I got that far.  I knew what God was saying to me, but I was immediately reminded of Luke 12:53 which says:

The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

This is a subject which brings division and now that I know God's mind in this, I must obey.  I must share this, and it is not my intent to bring division, but to bring healing.   Jesus said that he brought division, but God's heart is for healing for ALL people, and healing in the ultimate sense is to be reconciled to God because there is no greater state of being on earth than to be at peace and one with God.

Lord, God, my prayer tonight is that you would fill me with your wisdom and that your holy spirit would speak words of truth and love through me to ALL people.  I ask that you would begin preparing the heart of my loved one to hear what I have to say about what you have to say about gay marriage and homosexuality.  Bind the spirit of division and unleash all the power of love that is found in heaven.  May your angel of protection rule over this post. In Jesus' name I ask this.  Amen.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dead, Buried, But Living Again!

We had baptisms in our services this morning at church.  You might say, "so what.  That happens all the time at church."  Well, not so much in United Methodist Churches; at least none of them I've ever attended - and I've been in the United Methodist Church almost all of my life.  We seldom had baptisms and when we did, the people were sprinkled.

Also, I don't know if I just wasn't listening but I never heard an explanation of what it meant to be baptized.  I, personally, was baptized when I attended a Southern Baptist Church for a short time in my late 20's.  Even then, I didn't fully understand the meaning of baptism.

As I've said many times on this blog, my true conversion to being a Christ follower happened about 12 years or so ago even though I asked Christ into my life when I was in the 7th grade.   What happened at that time, I believe, was when Christ began revealing Himself to me.  I continued in church, youth group, revivals, etc., throughout my school years.  During my early 20's, I again experienced growth in my Christian faith, but in my 30's until about age 42, I purely walked away from God and lived according to my own desires - I won't say without any thoughts about God, because that is not true.  I was tortured with thoughts about my sin and the fact that I was not living according to God's plan for my life. 

Thank God, He did not throw me out with the bathwater, but He decided to get me back in the fold and on the path by causing major life changes for me - four huge ones all in the space of about three years -  and putting me in a place where I had to fall on my face and ask Him to take control of my life because I could not do it on my own. 

For the past ten years or so, He has steadily been opening my eyes to who He is, what He's done and what my responsibilities are as His daughter. 

After witnessing the baptisms this morning, I am considering being baptized again because now that I know the significance and meaning behind baptism and because of where I am in my life, I know it would mean something entirely different to me than it did way back 30 years ago.

The beauty of what it means to be baptized is this:  When Jesus Christ opens your eyes toward God and you understand the great Mystery of the Ages, the fact that He has imparted His Holy Spirit to live within you, it hits you that ALL the...idolotrous, lying, coveting, manipulating,  willing to steal, kill, and/or destroy to get what you wanted, selfish, self-centered, proud... person you were before is dead.  And because you have died and Christ has imparted His Holy Spirit to live within you (the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead [Romans 8:11]), you are RE-BORN; a new person who has the power within to change all the ugliness that was in you before!

Therefore, when you have really committed your life to God and are baptized:   you die, you are buried (under the water) and resurrected (lifted up out of the water).

I can't tell you the joy that reverberated through the church this morning when these indivduals gave their testimony of why they were being baptized and then actually went under the water.  The excitement was so infectious; you could feel it moving across the room.  It was wonderful and brought tears to my eyes!  I'm so happy for my new brothers and sisters in Christ who made this commitment.  Luke 15:10 says:

In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."

My prayer tonight for you, dear reader, is that the Father of All, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth, will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit from His unlimited resources.  And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him.  May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.  And may you have the power to understand how high, and how deep His love for you really is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never completely understand it.  (Ephesians 3:15-19).


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ever Patient, Ever Kind, Ever Loving Jesus

As I said in my last post, I hate crowds.  I think most of us do, actually.  Sometimes there is an excitement to being in a crowd; like the 4th of July fireworks, or some really special event like that, but for the most part, I'd just as soon have my own little family or group of friends around me than to be out in the muddled masses.

I remember one Labor Day weekend when a friend and I went to Cincinnati to their River Fest.  I believe the estimate was that there 1/2 a million people on each sides of the Ohio River.  I was so claustrophobic I was almost sick and could not enjoy the event at all.  Especially as I began to think about what if...what if there's a panic and a stampede?  What if somebody loses it and pulls out a gun....  You know what I mean?

But, today as I read the scriptures, Luke Chapter 9, to be exact, the Lord showed me again just how longsuffering He really is.

In this Chapter, Jesus has given all power and authority to the 12 over all demons and diseases and He sent them out to preach the gospel and heal people.  When the 12 return, they are, without a doubt, excited to tell Him all they accomplished in His name.   So He takes them aside to a deserted place in Bethsaida so they can chat, but the "multitudes" find out where they are and crash the party.  Verse 11 says that:  "...He received them and spoke unto them and healed them that had need of healing."   It must have lasted all day long because verse 12 says:  "And when the day began to wear away..."  The disciples had been on the road well, "everywhere" is what it says in verse 6, so you can well imagine that they been gone for many days and without much rest, most probably, and here again they are surrounded by people, pushing and shoving and they're getting hungry and they just want to send them home.  Get rid of 'em for a while, everyone can get a meal, a hot bath and a good night's sleep, right?  That's what I would have been saying, too.  I know myself.

I guess they forgot what the terms and conditions for signing on with the Lord were.  The Lord Jesus tells them to get them something to eat; feed them, minister to them, and if the disciples were tired, just imagine what Jesus was...supernatural though He was, empowered as He was by the Holy Spirit; He was a man, a man who really didn't have a home, a bed, a place to lay His head as He put it, but He never let the people down.  He taught them, He healed them, He loved them, and ministered to them, day and night for 3.5 years.  What a man!  What a Savior!  What a God!  Who is like you, oh Lord?   What patience, what endurance, what tolerance, what love!

I pray that the Lord will change my heart and make my heart more like His; more patient, more kind, more willing to go that extra mile and give up that extra cloak and feed people who need fed.  I pray, too, that the Lord will work through me and heal people.   I think that the day is coming soon when we'll see His power being released through His followers again.  Lord, I pray that I'm found worthy to be used of you like that.    Thank you, Jesus, for who you are and what you were able to do everyday, without fail...not condemning, not judging -- just teaching about God's ways, loving, healing, feeding, inspiring and changing peoples' lives - just like you're still doing today.   May your name be glorified as it deserves today.  Amen.