Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sports - the Great Healer? Really?

“For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.  His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.”
Ephesians 2:14-16

I love sports.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am an avid Chicago Cubs fan.   Even though they are once again, not very good, I am a faithful fan of the Chicago Bears football fan.  I root for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in College football.  As a young kid I loved playing baseball and football.  I still play golf.  One of my favorite things when my boys were little was to go to their soccer, or baseball or basketball games. Now it’s the grandkids.  I love sports.

However, I read something the other day, that reminded me that for some people sports is more than just entertainment.  I was reading an article online in which someone was objecting to American Football players using the game to make political points.  The author objected to sports becoming a part of the political divide in America. The author wrote, “Leave sports alone to do what it does best – bring people together and heal our divisions.”  Really? I thought.  That’s what sports does best?  That’s not my experience.  As a kid we had knockdown, drag out fights with friends over who was best – the Cubs or the White Sox.  In the one professional soccer game I attended here in Frankfurt – they keep the most rabid fans for the opposing teams in fenced off parts of the stadiums on opposite sides of the field.  I think this might be part of making sure they don’t get violent with each other.  In America, on Super Bowl Sunday, incidents of physical abuse in the home sky rocket.  Sports is not in the business of bringing people together.  Sports is in the business of entertaining through competition and by creating rivalries among different fans.  

Strange thing -  when I am caring for a couple in a struggling marriage I don’t tell them they should sit down and watch more sports together. No I point them to the One whose heart is all about reconciliation… the One who came to this world to break down dividing walls and heal divisions.  I point them… I would point you to Jesus Christ. Listen to what Paul wrote about Jesus.  “For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.  His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.”

St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men.”  As the one who is both God and man in one person Jesus is the perfect bridge between God and man… and between us and one another.  He is so different from American football players who win victories by violently bashing their bodies against each other.   No Jesus ends our hostility toward God and one another – but allowing God’s wrath over sin and our hostility towards each other to be directed towards Him.  That’s happened on the cross.  “My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He cried out as God punished Him there.   “Father forgive them,” He prayed for all of us – as every bit of racism, hatred, envy, and spite that we harbor towards each other was on that cross directed at Him.   When the stone was rolled away on Easter morning and the angels cried out “He is Risen!” -  in that moment the dividing walls of hostility that divide us from God and each other were all torn down.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who suffered greatly in a Nazi concentration camp, went around after the war telling the world about how God took care of her even at that worst moment of her life.  After speaking one night a man came up to speak to her.  She immediately recognized him as one of the guards from the concentration camp.  She felt only loathing and anger.  But then the man reached out his hand to ask her to forgive him.  At first she could not bring herself to do it.  She hated him.  But then, she wrote, she turned to Jesus in prayer.  “Help me Lord.  Change my heart to love and forgive this man as You have.”  And Jesus answered.  And with His help, she reached out to accept that man’s hand and forgive him in her heart.

So go ahead and enjoy sports.  But when it comes to relationships, let Jesus do what He does best – bring us together and heal our divisions.  Amen.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Have You ever been "Wall - Dogged?"

The Devil “has no truth in him.  When he lies he speaks out of his own character,
For he is a liar and the father of lies.”
John 8:44b

Today I will test your powers of observation.  I wonder how many of you, watching my blog videos ever noticed this dog up on the top shelf behind me.    This is “wall dog.”  Let me tell you his story.  When we were in Flower Mound, every Christmas we were invited to the Christmas Party of one of the small groups.  As part of that party people brought gifts to exchange.  When the time came for the exchange, people would take a number.  When your number came up you could either pick a gift from the pile of gifts, or steal a gift from someone who already picked theirs.  These gifts could be really nice gifts or “white elephant” gifts. “White-elephant” gifts were all wrapped up and looked just like the nice gifts.  But no one really wanted them.  If you got a white elephant gift – no one would ever steal it.   Wall Dog is the perfect example of a elephant gift.  It was such a great white elephant gift that people kept bringing it back to give away at each succeeding Christmas Party.  People would go to great lengths to disguise this gift, so that people would pick it without knowing they were picking it.  I made a whole photo book about Wall Dog.  Then I wrapped up the book. When someone unwrapped the book, they also then got the dog.  Such people had been “wall dogged.”  They had been led to believe a lie – that they were getting a wonderful gift but instead they got this dog.  I was the last person to get “wall dogged.”  Our first Christmas here in Germany I unwrapped a big box from the states only to find Wall Dog inside. 

Have you ever been “wall dogged?”  Have you ever been promised one thing, then when you got whatever it was, it turned out to be a lie?   One example that comes to mind was Bethany’s first car.  We bought it used for her to take to College in Wisconsin.  It looked like a great little used car. The dealer said it was a great little car.  It ran fine at the dealership.  However that whole year in Wisconsin, that car gave her nothing but trouble.  Every time she turned around it was breaking down.  I believe we had been “wall-dogged.”

My friends, I am sure you have wall-dogged too.  I know that we all have.  If you have ever given in to temptation, which all of us have, then you have been “wall dogged.”  That’s the very definition of what the temptation to sin is.  In the temptation you are promised something wonderful but that promise turns out to be a lie.   Adam and Eve were tempted with the idea that they could be like God.  What they ended up with was separation, frustration, pain and death.    Many people get tempted to get a divorce with the promise of happiness, only to have that decision inflict all sorts of unhappiness on all sorts of people whom they love, including themselves.  We are tempted to lie, with the promise that the lie will keep us out of trouble, only to find ourselves trapped in a web of deceit as one lie leads to another and then another.    Every temptation is a wall dog, a lie because the tempter, the devil himself, is the greatest “Wall Dogger.” Jesus warns us of this in John 8 - The Devil “has no truth in him.  When he lies he speaks out of his own character,   For he is a liar and the father of lies.”

How much better are the promises of God!   He will never “wall-dog” you.   Jesus declared, “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life…”   God is the very essence of truth.  He keeps His promises.  He promised an offspring to Adam and Eve who would crush the serpents head.  He promised that through one of Abraham’s descendants all the nations of the world would be blessed.  He promised David a son who would have an eternal throne.  He promised Israel a child who could be born of a virgin, a child who would be “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”  He promised them a Shepherd who would be born in Bethlehem.  He promised them a savior who “would be wounded for our transgressions.”  On and on the promises of God are given again and again in the Bible.   In the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God keeps every one of them. 

God will never “wall dog” you.   For “no matter how many promises God has made they are all yes Christ.  And so the Amen is spoken by us to the glory of God the Father.”     There is no deceit or lie in Him.  That’s why when tempted by the devil’s lies, the best place to turn is where Jesus turned when He was tempted.  The best place to turn is to the truth of God’s Word.  After all Jesus promised, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  Amen! 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

I Don't Know What to Say When Someone Dies

“Brothers, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, 
or grieve like the rest of men
Who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.”
2 Thessalonians 4:13-14

This week, I have run across two very moving posts by friends on Facebook.  Both were about very personal and difficult grief.  One man was writing about an old college friend who died of cancer, and the other man wrote about his grief following the sudden loss of his adult son.  Whenever I see such posts I struggle to know how to respond or if I should.  What could I write that would make any difference?  Should I press the “like” option with the thumbs up or the “sad” option with the crying face?  This is not a struggle that is unique to me.  Over 30 some years of ministry I have heard this again and again.  Someone is going to visit a grieving friend but they are uncomfortable.  “Pastor,” they will say to me, “I don’t know what to say.”

I thought today, I might offer some thoughts about that.  I am no expert. What I offer in this blog is simply what I have learned from being a Pastor and from my own personal experiences of grief.  I hope these thoughts might in some way be helpful. 

The biggest thing I have learned is that being present is what is important, not so much what you say.  Years ago, I was called to the side of a young wife who had just found out that her husband had been killed by a drunk driver.  I doubt very much if she remembers anything I said to her that day.  What mattered most is that I was there.  When my sister died, I remember how much it meant to me that so many of my friends showed up at the funeral.  When we did my dad’s committal in my hometown, once again it was the fact that so many of my old friends came.  Their presence was a comfort.  It says, you care enough to take time to be there. 

Be comfortable being quiet!  That’s far more important than talking.  Sometimes they will just want to sit there and say nothing.  That’s okay.  Silence can be important.  Sometimes, they will want to talk.  While they do, they may laugh or they may cry.  Let them.  Listen. Listening often communicates more love and care than any word you might say.  Listening shows that you are interested in them, in what’s going on in their hearts.

Use your love language and seek to speak theirs.  Mine is affirmation.  People telling me how much they loved my dad or my mom, meant a lot.  One pastor came to shine my shoes for the trip north.  Service was his love language.  On the day of my mom’s death, our church music director posted a beautiful piece of music to my Facebook page – “E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly come” by Paul Manz.  I cried as I listened to the beautiful words.  It really helped.  Music was his love language.

Remember, even if you have lost someone yourself, you can empathize but you really don’t know how they feel.  So don’t pretend to.  It’s okay.  Even though I had lost my dad, I learned very quickly that I didn’t really understand what Linda was going through when her mom died.  She had her own unique experience of grief as daughter who had lost her mother.  My job was simply love her as best I could. 

Giving permission is also important.  What I mean is - don’t tell people how they should or shouldn’t feel.  People will feel all sorts of different emotions – sadness, depression, guilt, anger.  They need to feel those emotions.  They need to cry.  It helps.  Don’t suddenly decide that they should be through with their grief.  Everybody grieves at their own pace.  One person, knowing I had lost my dad, asked if the grief and pain every goes away.  I said, “No.  My dad’s death still hurts.  I still miss Him.  You just get used to it.”  It’s true. It’s been 22 years since my father died and I teared up again this morning.

As the days, weeks, and months go by, don’t be afraid to talk about the one who died with your grieving friend.  Nothing hurts worse than when people stop talking about them, stop mentioning them.  You feel like everyone has forgotten someone that you never want to forget.  Yes, when you mention their loved one’s name, they may cry.  It’s okay.  They want to talk about their friend or their dad or whomever.  They love hearing your stories and knowing that their loved one mattered to you too. 

Finally, have confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The good news of Christ’s resurrection and victory over death makes all the difference in the world.    Yes I still grieve and miss my dad, but what joy and comfort there is in knowing that because of Jesus I will see him again in heaven! Indeed the death of a loved brings home the importance of faith more than any other event in life. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians are true -  “Brothers, we don’t want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or grieve like the rest of men who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.”

In other words, don’t worry about what to say.  Just love your grieving friend.  Amen. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Is Any Place Safe?

“You are a hiding place for me…”
Psalm 32:7a

I have, like many of you, been watching the news reports about the newest terrorist attack in New York City.  A man drove a truck down a bike path killing people as he went.  It’s become an all too familiar tale.  The same thing has happened on a bridge in London, on a beach in France, at a Christmas market in Germany. What’s more, it’s only a few short weeks ago that the awful massacre took place at a music festival in Las Vegas.  As I sat here watching the news reports, a horrible question crept into my mind – “Is anyplace safe?  Is there any place anymore where such things won’t happen? Is there any place left where such people would never attack?”  The reality in an age of terrorism seems to be, “No, every place is vulnerable.  Every place is a target.  There is no hiding place.”

But then I thought of King David’s words from Psalm 32:7.  “You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.”  Let me put those words in context.  Psalm 32 is a psalm of repentance.  David, as you know, had committed adultery, then tried to cover up his sin with murder.  His attempts to hide his sin didn’t work.  He only made himself more miserable.  “Day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as in the heat of summer.”  Only when he acknowledged his sin and confessed the truth to God, was the burden of guilt lifted.  Only in coming out of hiding, was David given a real hiding place for his sin – through the forgiveness and love of God.  That’s the only true hiding place for our sins.  God doesn’t deny our sin.  He pays the cost Himself with the death of His son.  He covers them over, hides them, if you will, with the blood of His Son shed for us.  Our God is the only safe place to go with our sin.

But what does that have to do with safety in an age of terrorism?  Well look again at the words of Psalm 32:7.  “You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.”  David is not limiting God to hiding our sin beneath His forgiving love.  He also is a hiding place who “preserves us from trouble.”    David is telling us that in every area of life, our God is the only truly safe place.  Do you recall the opening words of Psalm 46?  “God is our refuge and strength, an every present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way, though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…” 

Does that mean that if you have faith bad things will never happen to you?  That what happened on that bike path to those innocent victims, could never happen to you?  No!  That’s not at all the meaning.  What David means is that no matter what happens – should we be spared or should we be injured – in either case God will keep us safe. Back in the 1970s there was a movie called “The Hiding Place.”  Yes, it took its title from these words in Psalm 32. It’s the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister.  During World War II, Corrie and her family tried to hide Jews in a concealed room in their home.  Eventually they got caught and were sent to a concentration camp where they were made to endure great suffering.  Corrie’s sister died in that camp.  Corrie survived and lived a long good life.  Was God only a hiding place for Corrie and not her sister?  No, He was a hiding place for both.  He preserved Corrie’s life and sent her around the world to tell people that no pit is so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.  He also preserved Corrie’s sister’s life, because nothing they did to her, even taking her life could take from her the eternal salvation Jesus had purchased for her and for us on the cross.

The last verse of Martin Luther’s famous hymn “A Mighty Fortress” expresses what I mean.  “The Word they still let remain nor any thanks have for it; He’s by our side upon the plain with His good gifts and Spirit.  And take they our life, goods, fame, child and wife, though these all be gone, they yet have nothing won; the kingdom ours remaineth!” 

Is any place safe?  Ultimately, in this life and in eternity – only Him.  But He is enough!  Amen. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I Don't Remember My Birthday

He Remembers His covenant forever…”
Psalm 105:8a

Today is the 59th anniversary of the day I was born.  Today I am celebrating once again that event which is so central to my existence.  But you know, though that day is extremely important to me, I have no memory of what happened that day.  I mean I was there.  It happened to me.  But I don’t remember it.  I don’t know if it was a hard labor or easy.  Did it take hours for me to be born, or did it happen quickly?  Did they slap my bottom to make me cry and start breathing? I don’t know.  As is true for all of you – I don’t remember my birthday.

Thank God, my parents remembered.  In fact, everything I know about my birthday, I know because they told me.  I know that I was an unplanned but welcomed child.  Dad was always telling people that they wanted to call me “Tucker.”  People would look at him funny.  Then he would complete the thought – “Tucker by surprise.”  I was in my 20s before I figured out what he meant.  I know what date I was born on because they told me – October 26, 1958.  I was born at 2am on the Sunday morning when they turned the clocks back an hour.  Dad used tell me that since the clocks officially got turned back at 2am, I was born twice.  I was born at 2am and an hour later it was 2am again. 

But still, I don’t remember that day.  That’s okay.  It still happened. My parents brought me into this world.  They never forgot.  They always remembered their commitment to love me, to take care of me, to teach me about Jesus, to prepare me for life and more. So even though I don’t personally remember a thing about that day, it’s a day I love to celebrate and “remember” every year… a day on which I give thanks to God for every year of life, for my parents, my sisters, my family, all the great and sometimes difficult experiences I have had, indeed for everything He has given me these past 59 years.

I share this, because I have heard people bring this up about their infant baptism.   They say things like, “How can my baptism as an infant be valid?  I wasn’t given a choice.  I can’t even remember it.”  That always strikes me as strange.  We had no choice about being born either. We can’t remember it. Yet none of us, or at least, most of us don’t complain about being born.  As I said, we are thankful for our parents bringing us into this world.  We celebrate that day that we can’t remember. 

Shouldn’t baptism be the same?  After all, even though we can’t remember the day of our baptism, our heavenly Father does.  He was there.  That day He was at work.  He washed away our sins.  He adopted us as His own children..  Baptism is not a day, as some Christians believe, on which we made promises to God.  If it were then remembering that day might be a valid concern.  No, according to Scripture, baptism is a day on which God makes promises to us.  At baptism, as Peter wrote, God promised us a good conscience towards God.  He promised us that “as we have been united with Him (Jesus) in a death like his, we shall certainly also be united with Him in a resurrection like His.”  That death like His was our baptism, where Paul writes, “We were buried with Christ by baptism into death…”

It doesn’t really matter that I can’t remember the day of my baptism.  What really matters, even for those of you who can remember your adult baptism, is that God remembers. He remembers what He did in my life that day.  He remembers the promises He made that day. As the Psalmist wrote, “He remembers His covenant forever…”  He will never fail to keep those promises, never fail to love and watch over me or you.   

But what does it mean then when we urge people to remember their baptism daily?  We are not talking about remembering the event.  Far more important is that every day  you and I recall the significance of what God did, the promises He made, the forgiveness He gave and His faithfulness to it all.. That we remember the fact that He will always remember that in the face of guilt, He has promised forgiveness.  in the face of grief, He has gives comfort.  In the face of feeling sidelined by life, He has promised that we are His.  In the face of rejection He has given acceptance.  In the face of death, He has promised us life everlasting.  Now that really is worth remembering… and in fact God always will.  Amen.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Only Experts in Raising Children

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

I once heard a comedian say this about parenting – “The only experts in raising children are those who don’t have any.”   From my perspective no truer words about parenting have ever been spoken.  Linda and I are perfect examples.  When we were first married but still childless, we were experts.  We could watch parents in action and see exactly what they were doing wrong.  If any of them had asked, we would have had all sorts of advice on parenting. It’s a good thing no one asked for as soon as we became parent, all that expertise disappeared.  So what I share now, in this blog, is shared with that in mind.  My purpose is to be encouraging not preachy.  I hope I succeed.  These are things I learned as dad of four kids and Pop Pop to 6 grandchildren.

First, children are a gift from God.  Being a parent is perhaps the hardest thing I have ever done.  In the first years of their lives they depend on you for literally everything.  They are challenging, and time consuming.  You laugh when they laugh.  You worry over them.  You hurt with them and sometimes because of them.   There are all sorts of costs over the years that you don’t know how you will afford – car insurance… college… weddings.  Having children was a much bigger change to our lifestyle than getting married.   And I would not trade being a dad for all the money in the world.  Among the biggest joys in life have been holding each baby and grandbaby, having them hold your hand as they walk down the street, or sit on your lap while you read a story, playing catch, watching them hit a home run or dance a ballet, seeing them confirmed and then graduate, walking her down the aisle.  Every single moment has been a treasure.  I am glad that when they were little we didn’t take vacations without them.  We have plenty of time for that now.  I know Linda agrees with me – Thank you Lord for our children and our grandchildren.

Second, there are no perfect children.  Your children are going to do or say wrong things.  I was not doing them a favor, when I refused to believe it when a teacher told me something I didn’t want to be true.  Yes I wanted my children to like me.  But more than a friend, I needed to be their dad – to love them enough to discipline them when they wrong, as well as praise them when they did well. 

Along with this, there are no perfect parents.  I made mistakes.  I made dumb mistakes.  I jumped to conclusions.  I got upset when I should have stayed calm.  I said things in anger I shouldn’t have said.
All parents make mistakes.  Moms and dads, cut yourselves some slack.  Forgive yourselves.  God will.  Your kids will.  This is why I wouldn’t do premarital counseling for my kids and their spouses.  I was sure that I was one of the issues they would need to talk about.  The most important words that parents and kids can speak to one another , are words we learn from our God – to tell Him “I’m sorry,” and to hear from Him, “I forgive you.”   The most costly loving thing, we can say to one another is “I forgive you.”  It cost God His own Son to say that to us.  He was more than willing to pay that cost.  Parenting is an opportunity to share that gift with your kids through your humble, repentant, loving heart.  When you are wrong mom and dad ask your kids for forgiveness.  When they are wrong don’t say “it don’t matter.”  Tell them you love them the way God has told you.  Tell them, “I forgive you.”

You see, your kids really belong to God.  They are on loan to you from Him.  He has brought them into your life to do exactly what our verse for today says.  “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  They are your most important mission field. Share Jesus with them at bedtime, in stories you read, and around the dinner table.  Be in worship with them.  Go to Bible class as they go to Sunday School.  Let them see you read your Bible. Prepare them to walk with Jesus in life, by letting them see you walking with Jesus. In your prayers entrust them to God – after all, the only expert in raising children is Him… their heavenly Father and yours.  And you can’t do this without Him. Amen.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Ever Wonder What God is Doing?

“Beloved, we are God’s children now and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He is.”
I John 3:2

When I first came to Frankfurt there was a really ugly, abandoned building on this lot.  When I came back five months they had started to tear it down.  Because there was asbestos in the building, taking it down took many months.  Finally, they began to build a new building here on this spot.  The whole process from tearing down the old, to building this beautiful new building took over three years.  I have walked or driven by the building pretty much every day since I arrived in Germany.  It’s right on the way to Trinity.  For a long time, I watched and wondered – what are they doing?  What will the new building look like when it’s finished?  What purpose will the new building serve?  For a long time, this place looked only like a mess.  Even as things began to take shape, what they were building remained a mystery.  Only now, when everything is done – do we really see what they were building – a brand new class room building for one of Frankfurt’s Universities. 

Sometime life is like that.  You look at the things happening and you wonder, “Why?  Why did my Aunt get cancer?  Why did I lose that job?”  Something unexpected, unplanned for happens… it changes all our plans and we wonder, “What is God doing?”    Part of that is that we live in the middle of whatever God is doing.  Construction is underway, but the end product is not yet evident.  Someone recently compared it to looking at the underside of a quilt.  The underside has strings hanging everywhere.  It looks like a mess.  Only from the top side can you see the beautiful design of the quilt. In the same way, we see life from the underside of the quilt.  At times life looks like a mess.  There doesn’t seem to be any design.  You can’t see from our side what God is doing.  It’s no wonder we sometimes question Him, even get angry when things happen that hurt, that don’t make sense to us. 

I want to share with you today a couple of things about God that help me at such moments. The first thing is that God is a master architect.  He is the creator.  Look at the world around you and you see what great and beautiful things He has made.  It’s like this building behind me.  I would never have known how to build such a structure.  But the architects, the designers, the builders – they knew how to do it.  Our God can do anything. 

What’s more, our God really cares about us.  You could tell that these builders really cared about what they were doing here.  Think about the time they took to do a great job.  Look at the beautiful building that resulted.  In the same way, even when we have no idea what God is doing, we do know that He loves us.  We know because He gave His own Son.  His Son lived and died for our sins, then rose again because God wants to spend forever with us.  Obviously God loves us.   We can trust Him.  After all “if God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also along with Him freely give us all things?”

Finally, even if we only see things from the underside of the quilt, God sees everything from the top. He knows what He is doing.  Like this building, when God is done with His work on your life and mine, He will have created a masterpiece.  After all, we have His promise.  “Behold, I am making all things new!”    As John put it in His first Epistle, “Beloved, we are God’s children now and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him because we shall see Him as He is.”  That’s what God is doing.  Amen.