Words of Life ~ AM

I thank the Lord that He is still teaching me. This week it would have been easier just to share  what He is doing in my life. My experiences in His grace and care are more than books can hold and the words seem to flow.

But, this newly published project Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ the Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian is not as easy as I thought it would be. It is taking more study and time than I had anticipated. Yet, it is doing its work in me. The language of a Christian is becoming more and more of a challenge and beginning to replace some of the common vocabulary I formerly used. The study of this word AM has drawn me to learn more of what I am to be in Christ, the Great I AM.

How difficult would you expect the research to be for the word AM?  I have gleaned and present the two most important uses. I readily admit that I cannot do justice to this word. If you have more to add, please comment.

The first and most important is the word used in quoting God’s own words about Himself ~ “I AM.”

The second is the quote of the people of God when they say “I am.”

The Old Testament
The expression “I AM the LORD” is quoted 161 times in the Old Testament, sometimes with the addition of “your God.” Other times He describes His role.

“And he said unto him, I AM the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” Genesis 15:7

In Exodus 15:6 He describes Himself, “I AM the LORD that healeth thee.”

In Exodus 31:13 “I AM the LORD that doth sanctify thee.”

“I AM the LORD that maketh all things” (Isaiah 44:24);

“I AM the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:24).

The following quote from Isaiah 44:2-8 includes “I AM the first and I AM the last” from the LORD and from His witnesses “I am the Lord’s.” Take these words to heart as you read this passage of God’s Word and rejoice that you can say, “I am the Lord’s.”

“Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
One shall say, I am the Lord‘s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Ezekiel 39:7 is only one of many quotes from the prophet using the terms they shall know that  “I am the LORD.”  This quote identifies Him as the Holy One in Israel.

“So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.”

New Testament
The term “I AM” is quoted 200 times in the New Testament.

The first is in the negative “I am not worthy” from John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11, but here he attributes the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire to one who is coming, “mightier than I.”

How appropriate is the first positive “I AM” when at Jesus’ baptism, came “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

The same expression is recorded in Matthew 17:5 at the Transfiguration.

And second is the first “I AM” expressed by Jesus in Matthew 5:17, in which he states His purpose for being there.

So as not to make this entry any longer, I ask that you use the link to discover all the uses of Jesus’ expression. You will also find Paul’s uses of the term that would be good for us to study and claim as our own.

1 Corinthians 15:10 is Paul’s well-known use of these words.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Revelation 1:18 is the last use of the words “I Am”. How blessed are we to know the one who spoke these words to John for our knowledge and faith.

 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Our gracious heavenly Father, who spoke creation into existence, who is the God of the living and gave us your Son who has given us eternal life, we praise you. By your Spirit, enable us to hallow your name and to say with all confidence, “I am the Lord’s.” In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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The Stress-Taker (Part 2)

(The following was somehow deleted from my last post.  So, I add it here as a second part.)

I have been asked during these last traumatic years how I handle the stress. Unless there is time for a broad explanation, I simply say what I continue to say every day ~ “The Lord is good.” But that is an overall statement that only reveals the surface of who He is and does in His goodness. The root of His goodness is hidden in His Word, and through its fruit and seed, planted in the mind and heart of His children.

As a child, Sunday School was not a regular attendance for our family, but Vacation Bible School was a big deal for me. I loved memorization; I still do, along with meditation and prayer. I don’t remember any of the fun we may have had with activities, cookies and Kool-Aid, but I remember the memory cards that were treasures to me. While I can’t recall all the verses I learned, one has stayed in my thoughts, rooted in my heart and borne fruit over the years. I do not remember the lessons connected to the Scriptures, but God’s Word proves true by itself. It is alive and powerful and produces His life in those to whom He gives it. If I had no other of the seed of His Word, it would have been enough. He has planted much more, but this one has borne its fruit many times over.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I did not understand these words as a child. If I had, life would have been much easier; I would have made different choices and I may not have suffered all the stress and caused the stress that I did. Believing that our heavenly Father is a sovereign God who planned all things for us and brings us by His own power to do His will, I live today as witness of His grace and goodness; His producing the fruit of His own Word from the seed He plants.

As a child, I was open to His Word, desiring to please Him, but the stress-makers of this world had their part in shaping my life to sin and rebellion against Him. Nevertheless, in His sovereignty and providence He has proven the power of His Word over my nature of sin. He has brought me through many trials and temptations, failures and mistakes, losses and traumas by His victorious truths and promises. When I stumble still, He is always there to raise me up and keep me, reminding me of His grace and power to take whatever is laid upon me and to give it to Him. He enables me to cast my burdens upon Him. His grace is sufficient, His strength in my weakness, so that I can be content even in my infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Dear Father in heaven, continue to draw us to Christ through the power of your Word and Spirit. Write your words on our minds and in our hearts and activate them in those times you have chosen, to prove your love and your great and precious promises. Enable us to abide in you and your Word to abide in us, to know your presence at all times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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The Stress-Taker

There are many stress-makers in the world, but only one Stress-Taker.

As with most people, stress was an integral part of my life as a child and into my young married life. But, at a very young age, I was given the knowledge of how to handle the stress that comes from this world. At the time, I did not realize what God had given me, so, could not use this knowledge. He gives the gift and treasure from His heart to ours. It starts in the mind and takes root in the heart as He nurtures the seed of His Word in us. Even before He gave me a new heart and a new spirit for a new spiritual birth, the seed of life was doing its work. Humbling and preparing a fertile heart for His Word to take root was His continual work.

Words from Many Sources
Words from any source can fill a void and produce the fruit thereof. Much more so, the Word of God is the most powerful to do its transforming work in the mind and heart of man. Never underestimate the work of God’s Spirit to bring forth the fruit of His Word when we spend time with Him in His Word; when we teach our children the rudiments of true life that are recorded there.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

The child may be a senior citizen before the Lord brings the fruit of the seed He plants in his heart.

Continuing in His Word
Over the years, the Lord has written more of His Word in my mind and my heart, but the ones I remember from so long ago are preeminent in my thinking and in my life.

Psalm 23 and Psalm 100 were two that I have treasured since childhood ~ more precious and more powerful now than ever.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 100 is one of our album of Scripture Tunes, and helpful to teach young children to remember this Psalm. We are working with a musician to record accompaniments for these.

In the meantime, here is Psalm 100, vocal without accompaniment.

Are you a stress-maker or do you point others to the Stress-Taker, our Lord Jesus Christ?

Dear Heavenly Father, how blessed we are as your children, for you to train us in your Word to know you, love you, trust you and obey you. Thank you for loving us, for adopting us as your own; planting your seed, watering and bringing forth the fruit of your own work in us. Teach us to lay all the world’s ills and our concerns at the feet of Jesus our Lord and in so doing, witness to others of His love and care for us, always ready to share your Word of life with them. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Control or Solution

Treatment for pests have become more intense since we discovered snakes in our bathrooms. The supervisor with the company that covers our termite inspections gave me a lengthy explanation of why their company offers pest solutions instead of the usual pest control. He described the differences in how they would treat one home that might be different in another. There are solutions that work for ants and roaches, but not for spiders, which I will not go into here. You certainly would not expect the same treatment for snakes as you would for spiders. The general rule for rats and snakes is to prevent their entry, which means that you will be charged an enormous free for them to seal all the crevices in your home, including cracks under your roof line. Snakes climb and can come into your attic. They are after the rats that come in the same way.

All this may seem impossible to imagine, especially for old folks like Jerry and me. But, it is just more of the same happenings of the wilderness in which we live.

Since we started living by the Glad Rule, we never cease to find something good in all the episodes we experience. In every event, the Lord teaches us and grows us in our faith in Him (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Peter 3:17-18).

We thank the Lord for the snakes. When the exterminator came, he took a video of the water gushing down the back foundation in our basement. We think the solution to stop the water may be unclogging a downspout. We will know when the rain comes today or tomorrow.

Where were we going with the title Control or Solution? Everything of this physical life seems to have a parallel in the spiritual realm. Andrew Murray stated in his book Waiting on God that “all nature becomes a preacher” in our relationship with God.

In this case, my thoughts this morning ran to a recent sermon on the first commandment from the book of Exodus. The difference in the physical and the spiritual is, God gave the commandments for His people to reveal their sin and His requirements. Though they are the rules of His kingdom, He knew they would not control the sins in our lives. They were like putting a No Trespassing sign outside our home for the pests. Even if they could read, they would not understand. They would still come into any opening available. God’s plan was to post what He wanted, but the commandments were, as Paul wrote in Galatians 3, only a precursor to what He would accomplish through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. The law could not keep His people from sinning. The solution for treatment for the pests in our lives would come later.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24

The difference in how the Lord works as our exterminator is, that He covers His people with the blood of Christ. He draws us to the cross where we are washed in the blood of the Lamb. He covers the crevices. No place is left open to the enemy of our souls.

We are filled with His Holy Spirit, with saturation of all the counsel of God and under a consuming fire, being kept by His power until the day of Christ’s return (1 Peter 1:5). His Word continues to fill us with His grace, written on our hearts and in our minds, spoken by His Spirit within us to remind us of who He is and whose we are. We are His dwelling place, and will He not take care of His house? Let us relinquish all to Him ~ for His glory and our joy.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11

Gracious Father, we have no defense of our own; no solution for the cleansing of our sin, except by your provision for us. Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray and live. Amen.
Fran

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I Can’t Write Fast Enough

As I begin to write this post, my heart overflows; so much so that I cannot know what to write first. There is more than enough for another book about the ills of a people in yet another generation that stand and live against the Creator of heaven and earth; a generation that is ignorant of the foundation of civilization, of what makes for freedom and peace. But, that is not why my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).

It is the overflow Jesus promised in John 7:37-39 from the Holy Spirit to those who come to Him ~ those who are thirsty for something that this world cannot give.

While the world has hung Christianity out to dry ~ as Christ was hung on a cross ~ He continues to pour out His blessings from His majestic throne in heaven on those who seek freedom and peace in Him.

This early Monday morning dawns after a day of worship and seeking Him above all things. If the world knew the purpose and benefit of a day set apart for Christ in His glory, they would flock to His church. If they knew the King of kings and Lord of lords, they would put aside the things of this world at least for one day to have the blessings of heaven saturate and consume them.

I cannot, without it flowing into a full-size book, write everything that we continually experience in a relationship that turns me from the chaos of this world and enables me to focus on Christ. But, just for a bit, let me share His kingdom that is present and powerful in this world, a kingdom I continue to write about, the kingdom that He shares with all His people.

Currently, Jerry and I marvel at how Jesus Christ is real, the same today, as He was when He, with joy, endured the cross for us. Sometimes this is more the miracle than when He rose from the dead.  He is present always and speaks in and to every situation.

Jerry woke me last Tuesday night around 4:00, to tell me that there was a snake in the bathroom.

Normally, you would expect the man to take care of these things, but Jerry, being an amputee in a wheelchair, needs me to work things out.  We don’t think the snake was poisonous. Nonetheless, in all his (82) and my (79) years and together (57) we have never had to contend with snakes in the house. I say, snakes, because as I write this, there is another one under a butterfly net in our other bathroom, discovered yesterday morning. We hope to have this one removed when a pest control expert comes today. The first one got away when we were turning on lights and opening the front door; planning to catch him and throw him out.

His Promises
As I lay back down, the words came, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

These words ring true every time.

We never know what will happen next as we live in this wilderness, the wilderness into which God banished our first parents when they refused to listen to Him. The world’s ills are a combination of the individual ills of all His creatures. Those who follow Christ have to live in the middle of the sin and rebellion of the whole world. But, we don’t have to be slaves to the god of this world, and the news of its continued upheaval. We have a heavenly Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives true to His promises and witnesses through us of His grace and glory.

His Worship
Yesterday’s attendance of our Lord to His worship was another pouring out of His blessings to carry through this week. To hear again of how He loved us before the foundation of the world; how He proved that love when He sent His Son, and Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from this present evil age; to share this love with our brothers and sisters, is a life that leaves no room for the world’s sensationalism.

To write about the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a full-time job; one that I experience more than I can write about. It is worth more than all the world offers. It is worth all that we have to go through. His Word is the most precious thing to read. To meditate and memorize, to hear it preached, all in the power of His Holy Spirit, is His means of abiding with us and speaking to us in every circumstance.

I could write about all that I experienced yesterday as we jam-packed all that we could in one day, but it would not mean as much to you as it did to me. You had to be there. The personal relationship with the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is His gift to all His children, those who are born of His Spirit, waiting to be poured out.

He must increase, the world and we decrease, in the sight of His grace and glory. In the showers of His blessings, the world is diminished. Satan and his forces are brought to nothing in our eyes and our world. The river of living water showers us with His blessings, and washes away the filth of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27). We see the triumphant Lord of glory ruling above the fading glory of man. He laughs them in derision (Psalm 2).

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalm 2:1, 12

Gacious Father, as we begin a new week, let us continue to focus upon you through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom you have given to be our Lord. Give us repentant hearts, filled with your Spirit for obedience of faith; that we may live in anticipation of what you have planned for us. Make us to experience the truth of your presence and power. Let your words of grace, truth, love and peace flow and bless others so that they know the reason for our hope and peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ ALWAYS

The first mention of the word ALWAYS is found in Exodus 27:20. The children of Israel were instructed to bring pure olive oil for the lamps that would burn always where they were placed in the tabernacle of worship. It was to be attended by Aaron and his sons so that the light would never go out. It was a constant reminder of the Lord’s presence with His people.

Old Testament H8548
Strong’s defines ALWAYS tamiyd tä·mēd’, the same word used for continually, continual, daily, ever, perpetual, evermore, never

 There was a promise that it would go well with His people, if they would fear Him and keep His commandments always (Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 6:24; Deuteronomy 14:23).

“Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;” 1 Chronicles 16:15

“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalms 16:8

New Testament G3842
Strong’s defines ALWAYS pantote pä’n-to-te; at all times

Even as the lamp in the tabernacle was always kept lit, so the Lord Jesus Christ is the light that will never go out, with the promise that He is with us always.

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20

Jesus said that he always did those things that please His Father (John 8:29).

He said that His Father always hears Him (John 11:42).

Instructions to always pray are found in Luke 18:1; Luke 21:36; Ephesians 6:18

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

The same Greek is used for the word ever in Hebrews 7:25

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready alway to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15

With all His promises, why would we not rejoice in Him, ALWAYS?

Dear heavenly Father, we thank you for your promise to always be with us, to always cause us to triumph in Christ. We praise you for giving us peace always through Him, that we always have all sufficiency through Him and that He lives always to make intercession for us. By your Holy Spirit, enable us to always remain steadfast, unmovable, and abounding in our work for you; our speech be always with grace. Let us be rejoicing in you always and ready to answer those who ask us the reason of our hope that is in Christ our Lord. In His precious name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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GOD and Today

This title came to mind about a month ago, without any idea of this post.

This week it has come together. For two weeks Jerry was really going down. Last Saturday and Sunday he slept non-stop except to get up for what was necessary. After eating, he was so tired and weak that he had to lie down. He would not let me call 911 even though at times he was a little short of breath. He said that Dr. Jackson, his primary care physician would put him in the hospital when he went for his scheduled appointment on Monday morning.

We left the doctor’s office after an x-ray and blood work, with the instructions that they would call us in thirty minutes with the results. At first, we thought about going home fifteen minutes away, but he decided he wanted a Sonic burger. While he ate, I ran into Publick’s for fruit. We sat in the parking lot to wait for the call. The phone rang.

Tyler, the nurse told me Dr. Jackson wanted to talk to me. The bad news was that Jerry’s hemoglobin was down to 6. The last check was good at 13. He sent us to ER to get a blood transfusion. I was thankful that Jerry had lunch already. I hadn’t, but at times like these, even at my age, I seem to run on stored fuel. We checked into a crowded waiting room around 1:00. As usual, for the past twelve years, we had to find a parking place for Jerry’s wheelchair out of the way of other patients. And, it is usually a place where we have full view of all that is happening.

From triage for vital signs; waiting again for more blood work (they like to have their own and for more testing than the doctor’s staff did), we went back to the waiting room until an examining room was available.

During our waiting, we were privy to the sounds of names being called, coughing, babies crying, a two-year-old tantrum twice, and security officers coming and going. But during all this, I knew the Lord’s presence there. Even though Jerry has lost much of his hearing, (getting a hearing aid is at the bottom of our list) we had time to communicate as i sat close to his right ear.

We watched as a mother who was there with her sick teen-age daughter take a snack to the screaming child. When a daughter became impatient because her mother was not getting the attention she wanted, she complained to a security officer. Soon after, another woman there with her son walked over to the impatient daughter to show her something on her IPhone.

It was a blessing to see that most of the patients were accompanied by a loved one. But one man got tired of waiting. When his name was called, someone said that he had left. The security officer and the other staff member went outside looking for him. There were other interesting patients, some with the whole family accompanying.

Well, we waited longer, but no room was ever available. (The last time we came on our own we sat in the hallway outside the ER rooms with the overflow of patients.  You get immediate attention when you call 911.)

They finally took us back to the same hallway as our last visit, but this time gurneys were lined up next to the wall, where Jerry lay while they continued their exam. We probably repeated why he was there at least ten times. There was a steady stream of doctors and nurses passing through the hall where they started the IV for the first transfusion.

We finally met the ER doctor, a young attractive woman who had passed by before. I thought she was a nurse. A doctor from the hospital talked with us about any signs of blood. Another one walked by two or three times with his hands in his pockets. Three student nurses walked single file past us several times. Jerry called them the three musketeers. A patient down the hall waited with his feet exposed and his head covered.

When the IV spilled when Jerry bent his arm, the techs were very compassionate and started another IV in his other arm. I was impressed of how well they all worked together, especially in such close quarters.

Volunteer pink ladies stopped to see if I needed anything. Water was enough for the time being. Our daughter, Lee came and waited until they took him upstairs to a room at 8:30. I came home just before dark, ate, got a shower and went to bed. She was there part of every day so that I had a respite.

He was taken off all three blood-thinners and Tuesday we understood the possibility of internal bleeding, with the suggestion for a colonoscopy.

He received a second transfusion on Tuesday, while they kept doing lab tests. Thankfully, they were putting in more than they were taking out.

We came home late Wednesday afternoon with plans for home health care until Jerry is stronger. If his hemoglobin does not return to normal even without the blood thinners, we will look at the options for further testing.

This was our fourth visit to ER in this new hospital. With all the doctor’s visits and close calls, we are reminded that whatever we must endure, God is present, with us through it all. It is in these times that we see the reality of His presence with others, hospital staff and patients working through the everyday trials of this world. More and more, we learn to wait patiently to see what the Lord’s plans are for us, and how we may help others through their difficulties. On elevators, with the staff ministering to Jerry and others, there are people who need the Light of Christ; a kind word, a smile, peace and patience where there is chaos. A touch of gentleness and compassion is sometimes better than medicine.

During Jerry’s blood transfusion, especially when it was spilled, I was reminded of the blood of Christ our Lord, spilled for us that saves us for eternity. We are thankful for the blood Jerry received from a donor, but it would not save his life. Jesus gave His blood to give us eternal life. How grateful we are to our Creator and Redeemer for all that He has done, is doing, and promises in the future.

Gracious Father, there was more to these last few days than I can recall and write, but as always, you are wherever we are. In the hallways of our lives, in the waiting rooms, in our yesterdays, the present days, future days and forever, your grace, your word are real. We thank you for Jerry’s care this week and that we will know your plans for him as you reveal them. We thank you that all is for your glory and our good. We praise you in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Fran

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