Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Start talking to your tears!

        I recently read a devotion from John Piper that really resonated with me.  After recounting his thoughts with a few friends, I'm sharing it here as well since it might prove encouraging to some other folks. 
       I've always loved the verse Piper discusses--"Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." (Psalm 126:5–6)
        Here's what Piper wrote-- 

"There is nothing sad about sowing seed. It takes no more work than reaping. The days can be beautiful. There can be great hope of harvest.
Yet the psalm speaks of sowing “in tears.” It says that someone “goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing.” So, why are they weeping?
I think the reason is not that sowing is sad, or that sowing is hard. I think the reason has nothing to do with sowing. Sowing is simply the work that has to be done, even when there are things in life that make us cry.
The crops won’t wait while we finish our grief or solve all our problems. If we are going to eat next winter, we must get out in the field and sow the seed, whether we are crying or not.
If you do that, the promise of the psalm is that you will 'reap with shouts of joy.' You will 'come home with shouts of joy, bringing [your] sheaves with [you].'  Not because the tears of sowing produce the joy of reaping, but because the sheer sowing produces the reaping, and you need to remember this even when your tears tempt you to give up sowing.
So, here’s the lesson: When there are simple, straightforward jobs to be done, and you are full of sadness, and tears are flowing easily, go ahead and do the jobs with tears. Be realistic. Say to your tears, 'Tears, I feel you. You make me want to quit life. But there is a field to be sown (dishes to be washed, car to be fixed, sermon to be written).'
Then say, on the basis of God’s word, 'Tears, I know that you will not stay forever. The very fact that I just do my work (tears and all) will in the end bring a harvest of blessing. So, go ahead and flow if you must. But I believe — though I do not yet see it or feel it fully — I believe that the simple work of my sowing will bring sheaves of harvest. And my tears will be turned to joy.'"

          AMEN and AMEN!  I loved that--talk to your tears! 
          It's like I've shared repeatedly--don't listen to yourself; preach to yourself.  Talk to those tears. Proclaim the truth of the gospel to your weary, burdened heart, and then--whether you feel like it or not--simply begin doing the next right thing God has put before you.  It might be as simple as making a phone call or making your bed, but sometimes in life we have to choose to "sow in tears" while trusting that God will someday, somehow enable us to reap a harvest of blessing in the future if we "do not give up." (Gal.6:9) 
          Today, let's choose to talk to our tears, telling them "'Flow if you must,' but the Lord has work for me to do.  And I trust that if I will get busy obeying and doing this next right thing, my God will send future blessing on my present faithfulness.  'And my tears will be turned to joy.'" 
          Because never forget--the Lord who has called you is faithful, and He. Will. Do. It.
(I Thess.5:24)
          To God be the glory.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

A determined dogwood


        Just watched Tiger Woods win the Masters...and I must say, if Webb Simpson couldn't win it (always the one we're pulling for!), then Tiger's who we were all cheering for hard at our house.  What a comeback!  What a reminder that so much of life is about refusing to give up, even when the way gets hard and discouraging.  Even when we suffer setbacks.  Because nobody, nobody, nobody gets through this life without plenty of setbacks and storms.  But often it's those very setbacks and storms that ultimately propel us forward to the higher, better place God has for us. 
         "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Gal.6:9)
         What a golden verse.
         Our family is reminded of this basic but oh so powerful principle--simply refusing to quit even when the going gets tough--when we gaze at our little dogwood tree peaking out between the boxwoods--

         Now you might not be that impressed with this little fellow, but believe me, he's a fighter.  For you see, we planted this dogwood about five years ago.  And he started out mighty tiny and unimpressive.  We're talking about a foot and a half high.  Why on earth we decided to nestle him amongst these big old boxwoods, I have no idea.
          We dutifully watered the little shaver all during the hot summer months.  But by his first birthday in the fall, well, let's just say he looked rather sad and forlorn.  We saw virtually no growth whatsoever, but we kept watering and hoping....year after year.  Still, never a bloom, not many leaves, nothing promising about this guy.   
           Finally by about the year three, we determined our poor little dogwood had given up the ghost.  That spring, we saw no leaves, no nothing. But for some stubborn reason (or maybe it was just sheer laziness), we cut him way back and left his pitiful, skinny little trunk sticking up out of the ground.  After all, why bother digging him up when he was hidden by the boxwoods. 
         And then, low and behold, that spring, against all odds, we saw some branches beginning to poke up just barely past those beefy boxwoods.  What on earth?  Was it some kind of mutant weed?  It couldn't possibly be our poor, desiccated dogwood, could it?  There were still no buds, no flowers, of course, but good heavens, there were a few leaves.  And he'd grown high enough to peak out the teensiest bit above the bushes. Who would have thought?!  We'd done nothing--and I mean nothing--to help him recover.  Yet he didn't just recover; this hardy, refusing-to-give-up dogwood actually began to grow and even, dare I say it, thrive! 
       But this spring, oh my, we were astounded to see not just massive growth, but BLOOMS!  Lots and lots of them!  Beautiful pink blossoms, all in the lovely shape of the cross--the shape of death leading to resurrection life. 
       Who would have thought?  Well, who would have thought that the most horrendous event in the history of the universe--the crucifixion of the perfect Son of God--would lead to the most wondrous event in human history--the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of lost mankind? God, that's Who. 
       Thank You, Jesus, for refusing to give up even when we betrayed You, denied You, abused You, tortured You, crucified You, rejected You, ignored You, disobeyed You, failed You.  Thank You for finishing the work of our salvation, even though at unimaginable, inconceivable cost to Yourself.  Thank You for refusing to quit ever, even now, on us, Your often disobedient, clueless children. 
        So today, I don't know what storms you might be enduring, what setbacks you've suffered, or what hardships you're fighting against, but don't give up.  Don't quit.  If Jesus is Your Savior, you have the unconquerable, infinite, omnipotent One within you and for you, and He has promised that He will finish in you that which He started.  (Phil.1:6 "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.") He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph.3:20), so Do. Not. Quit. Who knows the harvest of righteousness and glorious good that God has for you if you will simply refuse to give up. 
        It's always too soon to quit.  Always.  Not with Jesus.  Not ever.  Just ask our determined little dogwood. 
        To God be the glory.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Wisteria...and abiding

         One of my favorite little surprises this time of year is the sudden annual appearance of the wisteria blooms that line my walk with Mr. Bingley along Lassiter Mill Road.  Or more specifically on one section of the road across from Root Elementary.  It's worth braving the steady hum and rush of traffic along the route to meander past those fragrant showy blossoms and inhale their intoxicating perfume.  If you're zooming past in your car, slow down and look over when you get to the bridge--although they're starting to fade now, you can still see them.
        I took several lovely pictures of them the other day, but for the life of me, I cannot get them to download on this blog.  Oh mercy, technology truly drives me insane!  I started to give up and go do something else entirely (something easier and more mindless like eating a snack or scrolling through emails) but then thought better of it.  Nope, time to buckle down and write.  Time to reestablish a habit that I've been woefully neglecting while working on Bible study lectures. 
        So sorry, no pretty pictures, but here's my silly little unadorned musing...
        Wisteria, it turns out, is a vine.  Actually, the seeds in the pods can be poisonous and cause severe stomach distress if consumed (just in case you were enticed by that delectable purple color). And I guess you might characterize it as a parasite since it has to have something else to cling to in order to grow.  People don't often specifically and purposely plant wisteria.  Rather, wisteria seems to have more of a mind of it's own and simply starts to grow...and cling...and twist around and around it's host. 
        You have now learned the vast extent of my botanical knowledge about wisteria.  But I couldn't help but think of that line from Livingston Taylor's song from many years ago: "There are flowers in my garden. Pretty ones all in a row. But my favorite are the weeds.  They don't know where to grow...but they know enough to grow."
        That's the Lassiter Mill wisteria if you ask me.  That wisteria may not know where to grow, but it knows enough to grow. 
       Nobody planted it; nobody fertilizes it; nobody prunes it; nobody waters it--except the Perfect Gardener.  He knows just what that wisteria needs to grow and prosper so that it can gently perfume and adorn a bustling corridor of a busy city.  And so that wisteria clings to the branches around it, draws from the soil that the Gardener provided and soaks up the sun He created...and it thrives.
       And I'm thinking, maybe that's just the tiniest picture of what it means to abide.  "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me." (John 15:4) 
      To abide in Christ.  To cling to Him, to draw from and soak in His life-giving Word.  To moment by moment depend upon Him.  To go where He bids us to go and to stay when He bids us to stay.  To simply do the next right thing in love that He sends our way.  And all the while to abide with Him and in Him. To "Abide in My love" (John 15:9) 
       If you're anything like me, you have so many weaknesses, so many foibles and frailties.  But surely we can simply cling to and abide in Him and His love.  Like that wisteria, we can daily seek to draw nourishment and strength from His Word.  He's the One who will provide all we need to grow and thrive...but we have to daily, hourly, choose to abide.  Abide in the One who is all, who has all, who is perfect forgiveness, love, faithfulness, wisdom, power, peace, joy, strength, grace. 
       When we have such a glorious, all-sufficient, all-loving One in whom to abide, why on earth would we choose to go it alone?  All I know is a wisteria that's not clinging and abiding will wither and die. But when that vine does what the Gardener intended and clings, draws, soaks, abides, that wisteria thrives and blooms...and perfumes...and brings glory to Almighty God.  Might we do the same.  He is able...and He is infinitely worthy.
       To God be the glory.
         
       




Saturday, April 6, 2019

A simple thank You


            A poem by Mary Oliver--

      Pay Attention.
      Be astonished.
      Tell about it.

        Thankful for these words today.  Because if ever there's a season when we need to wake up, pay attention, be astonished, and share our wonder and our thankfulness to our Almighty Creator, it is spring.  Beauty explodes all around us. Are we too busy to notice? Or too familiar with the turn of the seasons to be stunned by the riotous rebirth of color and scent?  Or too preoccupied to thank the Giver of all good gifts?
        I couldn't help but think of a line from The Color Purple.  (I'll rephrase it just a tad to avoid using one ugly word.)  "I think it irritates [not the word originally used!] God if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." 
        Okay, okay I know God doesn't grow irritated, but surely He intends for His children to pay attention, to be astonished and to rejoice in and thank Him for His magnificent handiwork.  We surely don't want to sleepwalk through spring...or any day for that matter.  So--
  Thank You, Lord, for the fragrance of the hyacinths and for the remarkable shade of purple.  Even the name "purple" makes you want to smile.  What a wildly creative Lord!  Aren't you thankful He made colors?  And--
        Thank You for sweet Mr. Bingley lounging in the warm, spring sun. 
        Thank You for the sound of the owl this morning, the brilliant red of the cardinal on the greenway, the burgeoning green all around us, they symmetry of the geese flying overhead.  Thank You for the budding pinks and whites of the dogwood in every yard.  Thank You for the warmth of the sun and the scent of cut grass and flowers all around us.
          Thank You for the priceless gift of our family and friends.  Thank You for life.  And thank You most of all for Jesus, our Savior.   
          Lord, help us to pay attention to all You are constantly doing all around us and in us.  Might we never lose our sense of wonder and astonishment at Your goodness and grace. And so, Father, thank You. A very simple, very inadequate, but heartfelt, thank You. 
          To God be the glory.


Saturday, March 2, 2019

What are you eating?

                       A little food for weekend thought--
     
        "Very few persons realize the effect of thought upon the condition of the soul--that is in fact its food, the substance from which it evolves its strength and health and beauty, or upon which it may become weak and unhealthy and deformed.  The things we think about are the things we feed upon.  If we think low and corrupt thoughts, we bring diseases upon our soul just as surely as we bring diseases upon our body by eating corrupt and improper food...On the other hand, if we think of Christ, we feed on Christ.  We eat His flesh and blood experientially by filling our souls with believing thoughts of Him...If we take the words of God, His revealed truth, into our lips and eat it, that is, if we will dwell upon His words and say them over and over to ourselves and thoroughly take in and assimilate their meaning in a commonsense way, we shall find that our soul life is fed and nourished by them and is made strong and vigorous in consequence."  (Hannah Whitall Smith)
        Paul put it this way: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil.4:8)
        Our thoughts are so critical, aren't they?  What we think will determine how we act, what we say, and who we are.  It's that simple, that elementary...and yet, how often do we ignore that most basic of truths? 
        If I'm overwhelmed with worry and anxiety, you can be sure that nagging fears and worrisome concerns are on some kind of auto-loop in my brain.  If I'm critical, negative, and nagging (oh what a joy for others to be around!) then you can take it to the bank--I'm fixating on the ugly, pessimistic, and mean.  And when I give in to discouragement and hopelessness, well then, I'm clearly NOT focusing on the "true...honorable...just...pure...lovely."
         Yes, yes, yes, we know all this--but don't we need to be reminded?  As Paul David Tripp always says, we're spiritual amnesiacs. I know I sure am.  That's why God so often tells us in His Word to remember. Remember His faithfulness.  Remember His goodness.  Remember His presence.  Remember His power.  
         But we can't remember that which we don't have in our brains in the first place.  So, duh, we have to refuel daily with the right brain food--God's Word. Each day we choose what we're going to put into this most valuable and critical gift that God has given us: our brains.  What we fill our minds with and then think about throughout the day will impact us and others far, far more than what kind of physical food we put into our bodies. Yet how many of us spend a great deal more time and attention on the physical food we eat rather than on mental/spiritual food we consume? (As someone who really loves food...guilty!) 
         Can I ask you--as I've asked myself--what kind of priority do you place on getting into God’s Word?  Do you input His life-giving, wisdom-infusing, joy-filling Word into your mind first thing in the morning?  Or do you first fill your mind with the junk food of social media or the news or even just your worry list?  What we fill our minds with will directly determine our attitudes and our behavior…and that’s particularly true regarding what we put into our minds FIRST thing. 
So tomorrow, if you wake up and decide you want to be anxious and fearful, then watch the news rather than read God’s Word.  If you think it’d be nice to be discontented, irritable and maybe envious of others that day, then scroll thru social media rather than read God’s Word.  If you think it’d be great to feel stressed and pressed all day, then first thing in the morning, ponder your impossibly lengthy to do list and maybe cram a few more items on it, rather than first opening God’s Word and gaining His wisdom, strength and insight for the day. 
You get the picture. We make the choice every single morning, beginning the moment we open our eyes.  What will we choose FIRST thing?  The world or the Word.  The phone or the throne.  Worry or worship.  Let’s choose life.  Let’s choose God’s Word that has the power to build us up, to transform us, to teach us, to equip us, to empower for all we will face each day, by His grace and for His glory.  Let's fill our minds with God's superfood of all superfoods--His supernatural Word--so that He can enable us to think rightly, wisely, godly, and joyfully.
         Chowing down on blueberries, kale and chocolate (of course!) might be good for the body, but consuming the Word is gloriously great for the mind, soul, and spirit!  You are what you eat...so choose wisely. 
         To God be the glory. 
     

Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Tar Heel's humility

        If you thought that this fan of all things Tar Heel would write about the UNC victory over Duke in basketball last night, you would be incorrect...

        HA!  Are you kidding???  Of course, I've got to write about it!!  So if you despise all things Carolina, just go right ahead and delete this post.  I'm apologizing in advance.  After all, Duke has beaten the Heels multiple times, and plenty of those losses have been brutal last second victories which have pretty much ripped our Carolina blue hearts out--not that I'm bitter or anything.
         Not to mention Duke has won multiple national championships, and Coach K is obviously a great recruiter of freshman phenoms, oops, I mean coach.  And let's face it: Duke is gonna beat the Heels many more times, because they're a truly great team.  In fact, March 9th will unfortunately be here before we know it, and the Blue Devils will be looking for revenge.  They very may well get it, and I'm bracing myself now for it.
          The point is, Duke absolutely and deservedly can always hold it's Blue Devil head up high.  (I won't comment on that choice of a mascot...but a devil??)
         I promise not to gloat...although for the record, just so we know, UNC beat the unbeatable Dookies 88 to 72.  (One more disclaimer: I really do apologize to my many dear friends who have gone to Duke and love Duke--there is so much to admire about your outstanding school...and it is modeled after Princeton, so there's also that to love.)
        But seriously, I simply wanted to share one little incident that Adam Lucas wrote about in his wonderful article about the game (okay "wonderful" from the perspective of Carolina fans).  Luuuuuuuuke Maye (no, fans aren't booing him, they're yelling his name) had just had an incredible game, scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.  Lucas pointed out that Maye was the first Tar Heel in 56 years to do that in a Carolina-Duke game. Billy Cunningham is the only other UNC player who ever did that.  Not bad company.  But here are Lucas' words--
         "In the cramped Cameron Indoor Stadium locker room, Maye sought out Shea Rush, a walk-on who was dressed and about to walk outside to see his mother.  Maye stopped him.
           'Hey, man,' Maye said, before he went and talked to the dozens of cameras who wanted his thoughts,  'thanks for rebounding for me.'
            Rush just shook his head. During pregame warmups, instead of getting up his own shots, Rush makes it a point to rebound for Maye, then fire crisp, game-speed passes back to him so Maye can get in a rhythm.  Now, here was Luke Maye, after scoring 30 at Duke, taking time to thank Shea Rush for his pregame warmup passes.
            No one does that.  No one.
            Rush just shook his head.  'He's a special guy,' he said of Maye.
            The night's superstar shook the hand of the player who never took off his warmup shirt. To watch the interaction was to see two equals, just two members of a team, everyone doing anything they possibly could do to win a game.  Luke Maye got 30 and 15.  Shea Rush helped, and even if no one else noticed--Luke Maye did."
            Such a small thing in the big scheme of things, right?  But it's the seemingly insignificant things in life that often reveal the monumental things.  Reading that story about said it all for me--because our character--and who we are when we don't think anyone else is watching--is infinitely more important than any accolades we might garner or wins we might enjoy.  And the character Luke displayed in that simple little gesture evidenced sweet humility. 
           Humility is such a beautiful quality, isn't it?  G.K. Chesterton once explained that "we become taller when we bow, " and Tim Keller says, "the essence of humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself; it is thinking of myself less."
          True humility means knowing it's not all about me or my performance.  It's not about my agenda or my success or my plans.  It's not about my greatness or glory.  It's all about the ways and will, the greatness and glory, of Almighty God.  And it's about loving and caring for other people, taking the low place, and seeking to serve rather than to be served. 
             To develop true humility, we must take  the focus off ourselves and instead fix our eyes on Jesus, basking in His beauty, greatness, and splendor.  Humility means our aim is life is to glorify God, not ourselves, and to love and serve those the Lord has placed in our paths. 
 This quality of humility has been in the forefront of my mind recently as our Bible study has recently been studying the life of Paul in the book of Acts.  What an example of humility he was.  Paul was extraordinarily gifted--brilliant and well-educated--and he was mightily used by God in far-reaching and astounding ways.  How easy it would've been for Paul to be proud. 
         Yet instead, Paul modeled and lived out incredible humility.  He surely never got over the utterly undeserved and amazing grace of God in choosing to "save a wretch like me."  Because the grizzled old apostle was singularly focused on His Savior and on sharing God’s gift of salvation with the world, he was a humble, self-forgetful man who brought glory to God.
          Boy, in our world of instagram and facebook (do we really need to know every single detail of your perfectly presented life?), of spoiled celebrities and overpaid sports stars, of self-promotion and selfishness, of loud-mouthed boasting and vitriol, isn't it beautiful to witness examples of humility?  To glimpse folks who walk into a room, and instead of an attitude that says, "Look at me!," they declare, "Look at you!
          How thankful I am for the ultimate example of humility in the Lord Jesus, who "though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil.2:6-8) That's humility...and that's the One who came to die the death we deserved, and rose to new life in order to give us the gift of salvation and eternal life. 
          So, yep, this Carolina fan is mighty thankful for the example of Luke Maye...but I'm infinitely more grateful for the One who relinquished the unimaginable glories of heaven and came down--so far down--in order to save the likes of me...and you.  Might we bow down in humble worship and then go out and share His love with others. 
          To God be the glory. 
         
           

Friday, February 8, 2019

A few more thoughts on worrying...

        A few more thoughts on worry--prompted by this email from the SAT: "Help Peter Stress Less about the SAT!"
        Our youngest son recently signed up to take the SAT in March.  Ever since then, our inbox  has been barraged by daily emails from the SAT about all the varied and multiple ways to prepare for this herculean task of taking the SAT.  Emails with advice essentially ranging from "Here's what you have to do--and you better be doing it everyday."  Or "Are you taking the multi-hour practice test every week...or better yet everyday?"  Or "If your child isn't studying for the SAT at least three hours a day, you might as well kiss college goodbye."  Or "Mom--are you sure you took enough pre-natal vitamins when your child was in your womb? Did you read to him every night for at least an hour?  Did you make sure he never drank soft drinks or ate junk food?  If not, oh well.  Too late now.  it's time to start stressing and wringing your hands...even though this will be absolutely no help whatsoever." 
           Okay, I'm slightly exaggerating.  And I really appreciate the helpfulness of the SAT...so if anybody out there works for the SAT, thank you very much.  Truly...
         ...but oh my stars!  Do these high schoolers not already have enough stress in their lives?  If my son wasn't stressed before, he is now.  Or at least his mama surely is. 
          I share all this, because it's such a reminder of why worry is so counterproductive and deadly.  Jesus commands us, "Don't worry about your life...Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe the wildflowers of the field grow. They don't labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that's how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won't He do much more for you--you of little faith? So don't worry...But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.  Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Mt.6:25-34)
           Over and over again, Jesus repeats the command--do not worry, do not worry, do not worry...because He well knows that we little dust creatures will worry!  Even though worrying does no good.  Even though it steals our peace and robs us of joy. Even though it harms our health.  Even though it betrays a refusal to trust God.
            When we're worrying, we're essentially saying, "I'm gonna trust in my worry rather than in my Almighty God."  Seriously.  Is our worrying really worthy of such trust?  NO!
           But if you're like slow-learning like yours truly, you have to be reminded of the truths you know, but forget. Yes, I just wrote about this, but think of this as a little booster shot of encouragement Not. To. Worry!
            So for all my fellow amnesiacs, here's our reminder--it's a battle of our minds.  Our thoughts!  We choose what thoughts we will dwell upon. Yes, fear is inevitable, but dwelling on that fear, churning that fear over and over in our minds in the form of our thoughts, that's our lousy choice.  And we can choose differently!
             Dallas Willard wrote, "The ultimate freedom we have as human beings is the power to select what we allow our minds to dwell upon.  It is in our thoughts that the first movements towards the renovation of the heart occurs.  Thoughts are the place where we can and must begin to change." 
            Change the meditation of your thoughts and change your heart and your life!  Choose to replace worrying thoughts with worshipping thoughts.  Anxious thoughts with trusting thoughts.  "What if" thoughts with "Then my Almighty God will..." thoughts.
            As J.B. Smith says, "God will always have the last word. So instead of worrying I will entrust my life to the good and beautiful and true God who reigns in the strong and unshakable Kingdom." 
            Yes and Amen!  Our all powerful, all wise, all loving, all good, all merciful, all gracious, all forgiving Almighty Lord REIGNS!  And we dwell in His strong and unshakable Kingdom.  So since He's totally, completely, eternally got it, we can rest and trust in Him. 
              SAT--no stress from you.  Or from wherever source worry is poking it's ugly head into your life right now.  Our God reigns.  We dwell in His strong and unshakable Kingdom.  And we will choose to rejoice and trust in Him. 
              To God be the glory.