Stone of Help

As I mentioned in my most recent post, the last several months have been hard ones at our house. We’ve been under a fairly high amount of stress, and as a result, none of us has been our best selves as of late. No, that’s putting it too mildly. We’ve all been impatient with one another, unloving and prone to anger. Thankfully, the source of all that strife is in the rearview mirror (aside from a few little odds and ends that we’ll be dealing with for a few more months, but they’re totally manageable).

Now, we have a “mess” to clean up. We have to go back over the last year or so and really take a hard look at ourselves, both as individuals and as a family. To that end, I decided some time ago that we needed to have a kind of “reset,” something involving a spiritual application and a project we would all do together, something that we could point to and say, “This is when we made a decision to do, be, and live better.”

The idea for exactly what that something would be hit me when a co-worker shared Ephesians 4:2 from The Living Bible: “Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” If that ain’t a great verse for a family on the mend, I don’t know what is!

We did a pretty deep dive into the first sixteen verses of the chapter:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

We talked about growing in Christlikeness. We talked about the importance of love first. We talked about unity and how to get and maintain it, as well as why it is important in a family and in the body of Christ. And the way we maintain that unity is through four things (all mentioned in verse two): humility, gentleness, patience, and love. So that’s what we chose to focus on for our project.

First, I bought some supplies on Amazon—acrylic paint, paint pens, a sealant, and a bag of large basalt stones for painting. (You can enlarge any photo by clicking on it.)

I figured it would be a good idea to paint the rocks with the base coat before the event, so that’s what I did. Two coats of white acrylic paint were plenty to prepare our “canvasses.”

We sat down with the paint pens and some scratch paper. I told everyone to come up with a design that would help them remember what the word meant (per our discussion).

After about thirty minutes, we sealed them, and they were ready to display alongside a print of the verse I hired someone on Etsy to design. We chose to put everything in the foyer of our house because it’s a space we all walk through multiple times a day. We have to pass it often, and that keeps it on our minds. It’s a way to practice the commandment found in Deuteronomy 6:4-9: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

The act of putting it on a wall also gave us a chance to discuss exactly what an Ebenezer or “stone of help” is (1 Samuel 7 and Joshua 4). We explained to the kids how Israel used them to memorialize what God had done for them, to keep from forgetting his kindness and deliverance. And that’s precisely what God did for our family—he protected us (both from the world and ourselves) and delivered us in our time of greatest need. Amen.

Here are close ups of the rocks we painted. (If you’re wondering, I’m “be gentle.”)

Both Small And Exceedingly Wise

Whenever you’re at a loss as to what to read in the Bible, I highly suggest the book of Proverbs. It is a thirty-one-chapter collection of Solomon’s wisest aphorisms and insights, many of which are cleverly written and very memorable. I always seem to find something relevant to whatever I’m dealing with when I read them, and I always close the Word of God feeling encouraged.

Today, I came across Proverbs 30 and 31, written by Agur and Lemuel respectively. Some scholars believe they were penned by Solomon and/or Hezekiah, but regardless of the author’s identity, they both remain worthy of study. Chapter 30 is the more abstract and metaphorical of the two and is divided into shorter statements, several of which are “lists.” The one that caught my eye, Proverbs 30:24-28, reads:

Four things are small on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise: The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer. The rock badgers are not mighty people, yet they make their houses in the rocks. The locusts have no king, yet all of them go out in ranks. The lizard you may grasp with the hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.

On a first read, the surface meaning is easy to see. These animals survive because of their adaptability and their smarts. However, I think there’s some symbolic value regarding the Christian life as well.

The Ants

From what I know of ants (most of which, I’m sad to say, comes from A Bug’s Life), they work as members of a team to harvest food they will use survive the hard months when nothing grows. One ant alone might not be able to gather enough for the time of famine; however, by working together, they provide plenty for all. I see a connection to Christians; we should work together for the greater good here on earth, providing for one another. However, the same can be said of our work for God’s kingdom. Remember, Jesus advises in Matthew 6:19-21:

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Rock Badgers

With no Disney movie to guide me, I had to ask the all-knowing Google what a rock badger is exactly. Apparently, it’s called a rock hyrax and is a “terrestrial mammal, superficially resembling a guinea pig with short ears and a tail.” They live in little families and forage in groups while one or two stand lookout and warn the rest if predators are coming. If they’re threatened, they all scamper back up to the rocks that cover their nests. In essence, to get at one, a hunter would have to pull apart the side of a mountain. Pretty secure digs!

Wikipedia, the other great source of knowledge on the web, mentioned something I thought rather interesting: “In Israel, the rock hyrax is reportedly rarely preyed upon by terrestrial predators, as their system of sentries and their reliable refuges provide considerable protection. Hyrax remains are almost absent from the droppings of wolves in the Judean Desert.”

Our connection to this animal is even more obvious. As Christians, Jesus Christ is our rock and our strong refuge. Nothing in this world can rob us of our salvation, our eternal life in Him.  Like God did with Moses, He puts us “in the cleft of the rock” and covers us with His hand for our protection and deliverance (Exodus 33:20-23).

The Locusts

Like the ants, locusts aren’t a problem individually. However, get them in a group, and you’ve got trouble. (Just ask the Egyptians!) This passage isn’t telling Christians to descend upon others and eat them out of house and home, but that is something I think we Baptists could manage with little effort. 🙂

What the proverb is saying is that believers were never meant to go it alone in this life. We’re instructed time and time again in the Bible to work as one body, using our spiritual gifts in ways that make light work of anything. We are each blessed with talents God means for us to use in His service, and none of us should ever compare those talents. Some are born to serve, others to lead. Teachers are meant to educate fellow believers to help them better understand God’s Word, and those who have the power to exhort should always encourage others. Healing, prophecy, tongues–the list goes on and on! This is now though no one person (“a king”) leads us,  we “advance in ranks” with Jesus Christ as our leader. Because of that, we can change the world in the power of His name!

The Lizard/Spider

This last one is an interesting translation conundrum. In most versions, it reads “A lizard you may grasp with the hands.” However, in the KJV and NKJV, the text is “The spider skillfully grasps with its hands.” There is even a third translation that lists the animal as something “poisonous,” which lends itself to either animal, though more readily to the spider. All three versions, however, close with “And it is in kings’ palaces.”

Whatever way it is translated, the animal (like the ant, rock badger, and locust) is small and seemingly helpless. However, its size is of no consequence because that is exactly what allows it to dwell in the home of a king. At the risk of sounding like Yoda, “Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?”

The animals in question here could dwell happily in the palace of a king, often going unnoticed for their entire lives because of their size. In the opulent home of a ruler, they would be protected from the elements, provided with an ample supply of food, and experience less exposure to predators than they would in their natural environment.

Like them, we will dwell in the home of our heavenly Father, but instead of skulking around or weaving webs in corners, we are joint heirs with Jesus, and each room of the heavenly palace is as much ours as it is His. We did nothing to earn our place there, but it is one of the many blessings we are granted because of His great atoning sacrifice on the cross.

Interestingly, these four animals appear to be part of a pattern.

  • Ants–Symbolize our life on earth, our labor and our toil. This pertains to all humans (both saved and unsaved).
  • Rock Badgers–Those of us who know Christ as Savior are like these creatures. As the psalmist said, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
  • Locusts–Rather than dwell in our own land, we are meant to go out as a part of the Great Commission and do to so as Christian soldiers.
  • Lizards–We will receive our reward in heaven when our lives are over and dwell in the place Jesus left to prepare for us.

Yes, the Book of Proverbs does offer amazing insight and wisdom, most of which is packed into portions of text so compact they would make IKEA engineers jealous!

Yes, I may be small in comparison to this world and the universe that surrounds it. However, the same God who made it all knows me. The very hairs on my head are numbered by Him, and nothing escapes His notice. Why should I ever be afraid when that great God is with me?

I’d love to hear your favorite Bible passages, be they from Proverbs or another book. Please take a moment and share your thoughts below!

The Whole Truth And Nothing But

Once upon a time, I was a Christian schoolteacher…

It sounds like the beginning of a C.S. Lewis novel or a somewhat boring fairy tale, doesn’t it? Well, it’s the truth. In my teaching career, I was privileged to work with some of the finest students Florida had to offer and to work with a team of the most amazing educators who ever wielded an Expo marker.

However, I was left scratching my head on more than one occasion by things people, parents in particular, would say. One of my favorite examples was a parent who admitted she and her husband only taught their daughter the New Testament because, as she put it, “God is love, and we don’t want her thinking otherwise.”

I wasn’t teaching the Bible class her daughter was enrolled in that year, so after the obligatory smile and nod, I walked away…her comment firmly lodged in my craw.

My fellow Christians, we cannot simply cherry pick the parts of the Bible we like and leave the rest. We cannot have an incomplete understanding of God’s Word and expect to have the intimate relationship with Him that is required for spiritual growth. Our Lord is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He needs no help from us to keep the universe cruising along, and our likes and dislikes do not factor into how He manages things. Would I rather no one I loved ever get sick or die? You bet. However, those “valley experiences” are what bring me closer to God and make those moments I live on “the mountaintop” all the more spectacular and valuable.

Right now, the world is incredibly hostile to Christians because we can’t honestly tell them, “If you just love God and love others, you’ll go to heaven.” We can’t all be like Rob Bell who sells millions of books filled with half-truths and blatant lies. No, we have to be the people who explain that accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and “dying daily to self” is what is required.

It’s the spiritual equivalent of a plate of broccoli sitting next to a chocolate layer cake. Which one of those two items would you choose if you were told they got you the same result, spiritually speaking?

That is why it is essential for Christians not just to believe but also to be able to explain what they believe and why convincingly. A command of the Bible—both the Old and New Testaments—is the key. We have to have it on the tip of our tongues, to understand who wrote which book, for which audience, and for what purpose. We need to have our timelines straight and our verbiage clear. This is not to say that we need to know every name in the “so-and-so begot so-and-so” books of the Septuagint, but we must be able to discuss the very Word of God in a convicting way. Yes, the Holy Spirit is the one doing that convicting through us, but our witness will be bolder and more compelling if we have the text at our disposal.

To prove my point, I’ll give you an example of a moment when I totally missed out on an opportunity to witness because I didn’t have a firm grasp of the Bible.

In 2004, I had just been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was scared out of my mind, angry, and often exhausted. The treatment for the disease (steroids) had sucked the wind out of my sails, and depression finished off whatever was left of lil’ old me. However, I had already missed a term in graduate school due to this illness, and I was determined not to miss another. Ergo, I signed up for one course during the summer—Major Authors: James Joyce. (Insert menacing dun-dun-dun music here.)

There were several problems with this choice. Aside from the aforementioned exhaustion that put me at a disadvantage before it even started, the class itself was structured poorly. It was a six-week course that met for four hours twice a week. Pretty intense, right? Now, in six weeks of intense work, how much material would you expect the class to include? One book? Two? The professor decided it would be a good idea to read and discuss Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses (as well as the Bloomberg reader we were to study with it) in that time frame. I know that four books doesn’t sound like a lot, especially when the first one is a book of short stories. However, allow me to clarify via comparison.

When I was an undergraduate at Valdosta State University, there was a class in Joyce that took place during the sixteen-week semester and met two times a week for an hour and a half each session. They discussed one work by Joyce—Ulysses—in all that time, and the students said at the end of the course that they didn’t feel like they’d covered it thoroughly enough.

Seriously, Ulysses is that difficult. Even for people who love words, it’s a tough read—one best done with a trusty guide and a llama if you want to get to the top safely.

The missed opportunity I mentioned before the llama tangent came early on in the class while we were reading Dubliners, a seminal collection of fifteen short stories like “Araby,” “The Dead,” and “Eveline” that have been anthologized more times than Joan Rivers has had Botox treatments. The one that got me is story number eight, “A Little Cloud.”

The title is a reference to 1 Kings 18:44,

Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’

The professor had no clue about the passage and was more concerned with the body of the text than the title, but I thought I could be clever and wring a little extra meaning out of it. For those of you who aren’t professed word nerds or former/current English majors, let me tell you, knowing something a professor does not or being able to construct a new theory about a literary passage is akin to experiencing The Quickening. We live for it.

I researched the passage analytically, took notes, and prepared my strategy to get the most “ooohs” and “aaahs” for my effort. However, I read the Bible book in isolation. I had no clue what made Elijah so special or where he fit into the overall narrative. In essence, I was using the Bible as a reference text, I had reduced the Word of God to a secondary role in order to discern the words of a mere man, and I was doing so for an entirely self-serving purpose.

I see now that it was doomed to failure. And fail I did. Big time.

In fact, as I attempted to explain the story—the drought, the worship of Baal by the people of Israel, and the change of heart that came because Elijah was willing to stand alone against a nation overrun with apostasy—he became more and more disinterested. I prattled on, not making any point whatsoever, and generally muddying what had seemed to make perfect sense in my head.

David Hasselhoff’s drunken cheeseburger video made more sense than I did.

The story by Joyce has nothing to do with any of those things. Hence, a straight translation makes no sense. (You might want to click on the link above and read the story, but I’ll give you a synopsis just in case you’re not in the mood.)

In this story, Little Chandler, a mild-mannered banker type who loves poetry, is meeting with an old friend named Ignatius Gallaher who he has not seen in eight years. Gallaher is a high roller in the London press world, and seeing him again makes Little Chandler realize that he’s in a prison of sorts, a domestic one involving a boring job, a cold wife, and a child his wife prefers to him. At the end of the story, he is hopeless and comes to the realization that neither his friend nor his family held him back from his dreams of being a writer. It was only his tentativeness that kept him feeling incomplete; he is the one who is to blame.

Now, looking at it knowing what I know now about the Old Testament, the book of 1 Kings in particular, I could draw an analogy between the domestic life/safe job Little Chandler has and the false god Baal. Just as the prophets of that false idol could not call their god to light the fire under the sacrifice, the “prophets” of domestic tranquility or big city living could produce nothing tangible in Little Chandler’s life.

The little cloud in 1 Kings marks the end of a lengthy drought that was brought to an end when the people of Israel turned from idol worship and back to God. However, rather than be encouraged by it, Elijah turns tail and runs when Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, calls for his death. He, like Little Chandler, was fearful and likely missed out on an amazing time of ministry because he did not trust in God’s provision. Granted, Joyce’s story is in no way religious, and I’m likely missing out on some key points here that could make the connection stronger, but I now know there is something there because I have a better grasp of the primary text.

But my being embarrassed and missing out on an “Ah Ha!” moment isn’t the problem. I don’t regret missing out on that. However, my half-formed attempt to explain the Bible to a group of people who were already prone to naysaying it only did more to reinforce a stereotype they hold dear—that all Christians are half-brained hicks who cannot think for themselves. Who knows what might have happened if I could have been a better, more prepared witness? I’m not saying a revival would have erupted right there, but a seed or two could have been planted that would have born spiritual fruit in someone’s life when it was tended to by other Christians and nurtured by the ministering of the Holy Spirit.

That is why we can never be content with learning only what our pastor’s teach, though many of those godly men are doing an amazing job ministering to their flocks. The simple truth is that nothing can substitute for digging into God’s Word for ourselves, searching for the answers we need and the lessons our Father would have us learn.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.–2 Timothy 2:15

My Good Book

Several weeks ago, Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black delivered the message at First Baptist Atlanta, and while he made several salient points that were uplifting and edifying regarding how to be “Free Indeed” while on this earth, I was most fascinated by the point he made regarding a person’s devotional Bible. It was a side note, a five-minute tangent in a forty-minute sermon, one designed to add to his overall purpose, but it set me to thinking.

As a chaplain, he’s officiated at many a funeral, many for people he did not know personally. Therefore, in order to better understand the deceased and prepare more personal remarks, he often asks a family member for that person’s Bible.

Sometimes, he finds a Bible that still creaks when he opens it, the pages stiff and the spine unbent in order to lay the book open for study alongside a prayer journal or study guide. Some have neither name nor gift date written on the opening page, and no marriages, deaths, or births are recorded for his family’s posterity. Other might have still been in the box that protected the precious word of God when it sat on the bookstore shelf, the smell of fresh leather still clinging to it and its pages as pure as the wind-driven snow.

Those that have been opened have been studied still vary in degree. Some have a few key passages marked or a sticky note here or there, and there are a few he’s seen that are filled with underlined passages and highlighted footnotes; these usually have notes scribbled in the margins and study outlines on many pages spanning from Genesis to Revelation.

This is what I found fascinating. Chaplain Black stated, “I can gauge a person’s level of spiritual fitness by perusing his Bible.” I had never thought of it that way! He can see what passages shaped the course of a person’s walk with God and what difficulties that person overcame by immersing himself in the Word. With those Bibles, Chaplain Black says he can deliver a eulogy that is more than just platitudes or generic phrases because, as he put it, “I have a copy of [that person’s] autobiography” and can tell anyone the story of his life.

Chaplain Black then asked his listeners, “If someone who didn’t know you had to deliver your eulogy, what would your Bible tell them? That’s a pretty revealing question, one that might make quite a few Christians uncomfortable. I know it would have made me squirm uncontrollably several years ago because my Bible was often placed high on a bookshelf, taken down only to go to church or to read a passage when a moment of whimsy struck me. Thank God that is not the case now!

So what does my Bible say about my spiritual fitness?

Well, in the front pocket of my Bible cover, there is a white handkerchief, one that is folded over on itself four times and spotted with oil. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis seven years ago, my great uncle, James Qualls, had some members of his church in Illinois pray over this object, anointing it with oil. He then mailed it to me and told me to keep it as a reminder that I was loved and was in the prayers of many. He also promised me that God would use my illness to do a great work in my life, and that is exactly what has happened. I keep it with me always to remember God’s goodness and often hold it during times of prayer.

Resting atop my Bible are prayer sheets—from Bible study classes or from work—that remind me that I must pray specifically as Jesus instructed in John 14:12-14:

 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

I haven’t always done this, but I’m finding having these lists ready for my daily prayer and devotional time helps me to stay focused and to speak more directly to my heavenly Father.  I cannot recommend it enough because it keeps me from “letting things slide” or telling God, “You know the rest of those prayers I forgot to mention.” It’s keeping me from being spiritually lazy, which is what I’ve been for far too long.

Books I’ve tried to study in depth, such as Romans, are fairly well marked in pen and highlighter, and I have notes tucked inside that can help me define words like “propitiation,” “justification,” and “reconciliation,” which I will need if I ever use this epistle to witness to an unbeliever. Sometimes, the differences among these words are slight, but even a small variation in meaning might hold the key that unlocks a person’s heart and allows the Holy Spirit to do His great work in his life. I want to be prepared!

I have memories associated with certain passages. For example, Matthew 23:25-28 is underlined. I remember doing so when I prepared a lesson on spiritual hypocrisy for my students several years ago when we were discussing The Picture of Dorian Gray in an Advanced Placement Literature course. It was a blessing to be able to learn the difference between outward righteousness, such as that of the Pharisees, and genuine and inward cleanliness before the Lord!

As I’m sure is the case with many Christians, not all books are marked equally. For instance, of the four Gospels, the one most marked in my Bible is that of Luke, which makes me think I’m like the Gentile doctor who wrote it—obsessed with detail and focused on the humanity of Christ. Some of my favorite Biblical narratives—the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan—are only found in the book of Luke. Also, of the four, Luke devotes the greatest amount of scripture to the role of women in the early church, and I’ve searched them all in my quest for godly role models.

I see a lot of myself in Paul, and I spend as much time with him as I can, leaving marks scattered throughout his epistles to remind me of the perfection of God’s grace, the need to refrain from legalism, and the fact that trials and sufferings bring about spiritual growth. James, too, is a friend (one with whom I share a name!) who has taught me the practical way to live as a Christian, and from his letter, I learned that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

I’ve marked the hard lessons, the ones that hurt me to read but that are essential if I am to walk the path that leads to the narrow gate:

 But whoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:21-23).

However, I’ve also read of God’s miracles and Christ’s healing of the blind, the leprous, and the lame. I’ve been promised that I am a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:17), that I will have life more abundantly (John 10:10), and that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

I marvel at those scriptures that tell me how the same God who created the heavens and the earth knows my name; He knew me even before I was formed in my mother’s womb (Jer. 1:5). It was He who loved me enough to reconcile me to His holiness, He who brought me up “out of the the mire clay and set my feet upon a rock” (Ps. 40:2). This is why I’ve poured over the words of Jesus’ intercessory prayer for believers, the prayer sent up from the Garden of Gethsemane recorded in John 17, leaving marks like bread crumbs to lead me through further readings later in my life. The Bible is God’s love letter to me, the guidebook He’s blessed me with so that I might be more Christ-like each day, and like David, I ask:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor (Ps. 8:3-5).

There are gaps in my studies, oh yes. Many books in the Old Testament are without one line or circle to show my time spent there, and the many that pepper the book of Revelation reveal my frustration when attempting to discern what awaits us before Christ’s return. However, instead of looking at those gaps as failures, I see them as unexplored territory on a map. I have a guide to lead me through them when the time is right and I am spiritually ready, and I am ready to follow the Holy Spirit through each page.

When I die, I want the pastor who delivers my eulogy to know me, to be able to say with blessed assurance that I am home with my loved ones and walking the streets of gold. I want them all to know that I have heard the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” and that there is no need to grieve because they will see me again in glory (Matt. 25:21). I want my “spiritual autobiography” to be one worth reading, one that my family can keep as its spiritual heritage. Lord, help me make it so!