Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

doggie drool

I decided tonight that my Facebook post should go into my blog. Just keepin it real with anita lucas freestyle folks!!!

Ever have so much going on and so much to do and keep track of that what you really want to do is sit, stare, let the drool just roll off your bottom lip, and go uuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…………???? I am in full uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh right now.

Stopped and studied God’s word in my antigravity lounge chair on the back patio after typing this post. After a long day at work I did get some of my to do list done after getting re charged listening to God speak!! 🙂 It is amazing what exalting Him does to my exhausted state.

Psalm 46:10 “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Security

safe

Yesterday at church my husband’s cellphone fell out of the pocket of his Bible bag and plummeted to the floor. The end result was a completely shattered screen and a non-functional phone. I couldn’t help but notice the significance of what the phone fell from and where he was the time the phone was broken. It seems we all are so glued to our phones these days as well as other technologies. It is with guilty fingers I am typing this blog today. Life seems to stop when one of these devices ceases to work. The first thought “Oh no what am I going to do?”

Now there are certain safety aspects to having a phone. Taking call for my job deems it is a necessity most definitely for me. We cancelled our home phone line because it was rarely used and we have not missed having it. The phone in and of itself is not a bad thing. It is our lack of looking up from the phone to experience the world around us that gets us into trouble.

The question of where does our security lie? Is what has fleeted through my thoughts from the time I heard of the phones demise. The fact that our first reaction so often is panic when our phone doesn’t work is a clue in what our society has put its trust in. Last year on vacation I had to spend half a day taking care of my phone that without warning just up and died on me. There was a need for a call shift as soon as I got home, but still frustrating to waste family time having to take care of a phone. Now the significance of time being even greater as this was the last vacation my father would be with us.

Will our phones save us in a true disaster? No all cell phone service will be caput. Will our stocks and bonds save us? No they can be gone with just a click of a mouse of a hacker’s computer. What about our homes? One tornado or fire…gone.
The fact that Mike’s phone fell from his Bible bag reminds me of how secure the Word of God is. Oh sure the book itself can burn and be destroyed, but nothing can destroy God’s spoken word. It stands forever. He spoke this world into existence. The word actually became flesh to take on the sins of this broken world to give us grace and mercy we are undeserving of.

John 1:1-18 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

The only thing that lasts is Jesus. The world didn’t recognize Him then and it is obvious it doesn’t recognize Him now. We are too distracted by our “own securities”. What we think is secure. We hold onto what we think is within our own power and control. How much control and power do we have? Can we control how long we have a heart beat? Can we control the weather? Can we control the evil of this world or the evil that is within our own selves? Only Jesus had the power to speak the world into existence, only Jesus could speak and calm the storms, only Jesus could pay the price for our sins (the evil within each man), only Jesus conquered death, only Jesus can give us grace and mercy, only Jesus can bring true hope of eternal life, only Jesus brings true security.

Yes this will sound weird that I am glad my husband’s phone broke in the way it did. The daily reminders of who God is, the truth, and what really matters are priceless. My true security does not rest in the “stuff” from this life.

What is Beauty?

picture of camera

Reaching my fourth decade now in life I have come to the realization that as women “beauty” and its definition will be thrown at us from every angle our entire life. There is a new thing going around Face Book to post five pictures that make you feel beautiful. There is a stubborn part of me saying “I do not like any pictures of me and I really just don’t want to!” My wedding day I felt beautiful, I felt beautiful when my children were born (even though completely “water logged”), I felt beautiful while breast feeding them in the rocking chair in their bedroom, I feel beautiful with my family, I feel beautiful on a quiet morning reading my Bible and sipping my coffee, I feel beautiful when a patient remembers my name and says “thank you”, I feel beautiful when what I do or say makes someone laugh, I feel beautiful writing, and I feel beautiful taking a quiet walk in the beautiful surroundings of God’s creation. Each time I see a picture of myself I think “ewww is that what I look like?” When I look in the mirror it is not the same as what I see the camera reflecting (cameras must always get my bad side). God created us exactly the way He wanted us. Everything He made is “good” and beautiful. The bible says in Genesis 1:27 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Growing up I struggled with having a big nose. I definitely still don’t “love” it. It serves its purpose to provide filtered moistened air to my lungs. It sticks out plenty to get sunburned and produce freckles. Just yesterday I wacked the bridge of my nose with my locker at work and saw a few stars. Note to self; “step back from the locker when opening it”. Early on I came to the acceptance that it is the nose God gave me and any other nose would look out of place on my face. As a kid I was a fan of Michael Jackson. He was a handsome guy before any plastic surgery. Quite frankly by the time he died at age fifty he looked like an alien life form from all the plastic surgery. Nothing is ever as beautiful as in its original God created form. A ninety year old woman who has taken care of herself, but allowed the natural aging process to happen is very beautiful.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Wearing fun things and having fun hair is ok, but should not define us. We should not allow the media to define what it is we need to be beautiful. This must be where my “selfie” conviction comes into play. What do I want the world to see? Do I want it to be my physical appearance or the beauty God created within my life and my soul?

From Trash to Treasure

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For my oldest daughter’s fourteenth birthday she wanted to go somewhere fun. We decided on the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. This museum is no ordinary museum. It is basically artwork you get to climb on and play in. The museum is housed in an old city warehouse building. There have been hours and hours of many artistically talented people who have welded metal piece after metal piece to make tubes and staircases to climb in, on, and amongst. There are old airplanes, trolleys, a fire truck and a school bus to name a few of the highlights. The school bus actually teeters off of the rooftop 11 stories high. There are many fun slides including a ten story high slide. Everywhere you look there are old things like broken glass to make beautiful mosaic art, broken shells, old soda canisters, jars, old records, old architectural pieces from city buildings, all kinds of repurposed trash compiles this fun and whimsical place into beautiful sculptures and pieces of art. There is even a working Ferris wheel up on the rooftop. Usually I am drawn to more nature types of attractions, but this is one industrial sight I love to visit. This place took so much creativity and design. The intricate tunnels are such that you see your child walk into the mouth of a giant whale and then their head will pop out from under a sculptured tree across the room like a mole. Each piece in this grand design is important. If any piece especially a rot iron bar decided that did not want to serve its purpose it would be detrimental. As I enjoyed the whimsy of the museum I couldn’t help but be reminded of our grand designer and creator God. He has a specific purpose and plan for each of us. How detrimental is it to our lives when we decide to not follow His purpose and plan?

Matthew 25:14-30 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.” ‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

When we are not fulfilling the purpose God has for our life God will give that blessing to someone who will. We miss out on abundant and eternal life. When we trust in Jesus and allow Him to work through our lives He blesses in ways that are unimaginable. Jesus spoke this parable using a monetary example because that is something we can identify with. God’s plans are much greater than any monetary or material gain. “Well done my good and faithful servant.” or “darkness”, “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” We have a choice.

Love, Life Lessons, and a Three Legged Dog

Chloe
In an earlier blog “Dog Eat Dog World” I believe I had mentioned that sometime I would tell the story of our three legged dog. My heart was touched from the first I had heard of her and I was in love from the moment I laid eyes on her. Even our pets are a special part of God’s plan for our lives. Never an accident in how they become a part of our families.

The first I heard of Chloe was through a dear friend and coworker of mine. We were in a committee meeting at the hospital of which she was the head of. She was fighting tears that morning and having a hard time getting our meeting rolling. Through her tears she decided to provide the explanation of her emotions to all that were in the room. She started to explain that her sister had the sweetest dog literally jump into her minivan as she was loading up the family a few days prior. The dog had a broken front leg, was emaciated, had obviously just had puppies, and had no collar. The dog immediately won my friend’s sister’s heart and she decided to try to help. Her family called shelters and checked with neighbors to try to find the owners. No owners were found. There was a sign that they came across that puppies were found near the area where they live. The scenario gave the appearance that the momma and puppies were all dumped out in the country and left to fend for themselves. We can only speculate as to how Chloe obtained her broken limb.

Unable to find an owner of the dog her sister decided to take her to the vet to see what could be done for the leg. A very expensive emergent surgery could possibly be performed at another pet hospital further away. Finances are a factor when the dog is your own, but to spend thousands on a strange dog it just wasn’t a feasible option for them. There also was the risk that it was already too late to surgically repair the bones of the leg. The vet could set one of the bones, but not both. Casting the leg was not an option. The only option was to keep the leg splinted and to try to keep the dog sedate and with the splint on for weeks to allow the bones to heal. Her sister quickly became exhausted with trying to keep the splint on the dog and the dog calm. They were at the point of thinking that the dog may need to be euthanized because all the shelters were full and it seemed that no one could or would take her in. My friend had also met and fell in love with the dog hence her reason for tears during the morning meeting.

A few days later one of my friends from church posted a story about a dog her neighbors had that needed a home. She went on to tell the story which sounded very similar to the story of the dog my friend from work shared. I messaged my friend and said this sounds so similar to a story I just heard. Through our conversation I learned that she lived across the street from my work friend and it was the same dog. My work friend had taken the dog to her own home to care for since our meeting at work. Upon this discovery and going on about what a small world it is I called my friend from work, Leslie. We talked at great lengths about the dog. She had quickly become exhausted with trying to keep the dog sedate with splint intact as well. Her boys had not yet had a dog as a pet and she wasn’t sure that the dog would be the right fit for her family.

Her voice perked as she said “Anita you sound like you might be interested in this dog!” We had just put our cat down about a month before and just had one small dog at the time. We had actually been thinking about getting another dog and just hadn’t started looking at the animal shelters yet. Rescuing a dog with no home was already on my heart as the best option for us. Dogs are so adaptable and potentially having a dog with only three legs was not an obstacle for us. We are accustomed to the weird and unusual in the Lucas homestead. A three legged dog made perfect sense.

The girls and I went to meet the dog and were in love. In addition to the broken leg her ears had sores from being bitten by flies and her eyes were weepy with a gooey drainage. Our church friend and neighbor of my friend Leslie knew of someone that could help financially if needed. That person couldn’t take the dog, but wanted to help who ever could with expenses. After bringing her home we tried to keep the splint intact to no avail. Giving her the name of Chloe we soon realized that Chloe was quite the Houdini. The first day in our home of course was a work day for us so we had to leave her. We tried to keep her in a pen in the garage. She escaped the pen, climbed over bicycles, a wagon, and a Barbie car, lifted the cracked window with her nose, busted out the screen and jumped to the ground about four feet below. She stayed in the yard and greeted my mother as she pulled in the drive with broken leg dangling and a smile on her face. The splint was left behind in the pen that she destroyed. We quickly learned that she was fine staying inside the house where our presence was felt even with us not there. Having rewrapped her leg at least a dozen times I saw firsthand or first pawed that this leg of hers was not going to heal. My friend already had a vet appointment scheduled at the same vet we go to that Saturday morning. We kept that appointment. The vet was so happy that someone had agreed to take her in because he really didn’t want to euthanize her either. When he took the splint off of her leg the look on his face demonstrated what I already knew in my heart. There was just no healing that would happen. We decided to amputate and have her spayed that next week. Doing both surgeries at once we thought would be the best option for Chloe and financially. We would have had to go into debt pay for all of it and were so grateful for the financial help with the cost of the amputation. It took the work of five families to rescue our sweet Chloe all together.

The morning I took her to the vet for her surgeries I wondered if she would still love me afterward. In such a short time we had already developed quite the bond and the concern that I would lose her trust was weighing on me. The vet allowed me to call and check on her a couple times and they were happy to give the update that she had come through surgery fine. She had to stay the night for observation with the amputation being such a vascular surgery. The next day when I picked her up she was a different dog. She was brighter, so happy to see me, the weeping of her eyes was completely gone, and she appeared to have a radiant grin. My tears started to flow as soon as I looked her in the eyes. “This indeed is a very special dog” I thought to myself. Healing was a piece of cake for her. She had already grown accustomed to walking with three legs due to the break. Chloe gives deer, squirrel, and any other living creature a run for their money despite only having three legs. She falls often, but gets back up without missing a beat. Digging has been no problem she just uses her one front paw and has even managed to dig up a mole or two. One morning I looked out the front window saw her dig and catch a mole. She flipped that mole around the yard like it was a squeak toy.

It was the burden and pain of what was broken that was making her sick. Once what was broken was completely removed she was able to fully heal and be happy. She is left with the obvious scar of what she has gone through. Every day she is a reminder to me that in our lives there is only One who can rescue us from the brokenness in our lives. Jesus provides the amputation we need to completely remove the burden of our sinful broken hearts. His forgiveness alone will remove our sin that separates us from God our Creator. The day I picked Chloe up from the vet reminds me of the day when I will look full into the face of Jesus. There will be no more weeping of my eyes and my smile will radiate joy! We are often left with emotional and sometimes physical scars to remind us where we have been. Jesus bears the scars to His hands, feet, and side as a reminder for eternity of where we have been and what He did to bring us out of our brokenness. We can continue to carry the burden of our brokenness leading to death and eternal separation from God or we can ask Jesus to free us from the burden of our sin and shame leading to eternal life in the presence of God.

Don’t forget the Diet Coke

tears
The way God stirs a person’s heart for a ministry and starts to lay the foundation for this work is utterly amazing. Some of the greatest ministries have come through hardship, pain, and loss. So many foundations are started from pain of the loss of a loved one. Awareness crusades against drunk driving and drugs. Many safety rules, regulations, and safer products have come from those who have lost someone tragically pushing to prevent others from sharing their same grief. It seems as though at this point in time God is leading me to minister to those who are grieving out of my very own grief. Loss of someone you love through death is not necessarily the only cause to grieve. A break in a relationship of any kind will stir grief. Many times there is grief for the loss of health long before a person takes their final breath. Teenage girls and boys go through the stages of grief especially with the first break ups as they start to date and experience young love. Any changes in life can bring about a certain level of grief as the old patterns and familiarity pass away. Grief knows no social, economic, cultural, religious, language, or ethnic barriers. The basic human needs and emotions are the same for all of us.

I was reminded today of the sting that grief brings shopping at the grocery store for a family get together. A bad habit, but my father loved to drink caffeine free Diet Coke. This was a habit I had harassed him to change for a long time. With family parties I still would make sure I bought his favorite soda to drink. At the store I walked past Coke products and the thought “Oh I need to get dad his caffeine free Diet Coke!” fleeted through my mind. As I walked up to the bottles of Coke products my heart sank as I realized that there was no need. Memories of him had been flooding my mind more today than usual. I had not consciously thought of the fact that it was four months ago today that he died, but apparently my subconscious was very aware.

The fact that we all experience grief reminds me that even people that are hard to love may be going through an incredible silent pain. The fact that we all grieve reminds me to have more patience and compassion. The fact that we all grieve reminds me to smile and encourage others more. There are no levels to the experience of loss and each person will experience it in their own way. It is not fair for us to ever think that someone else has a “piece of cake” life because none of us are immune to loss.
As I mentioned in the beginning that some of the greatest ministries of God’s love have come from loss. The greatest ministry being that of His own Son Jesus. Jesus came to this earth fully God and yet fully human. He lived a sinless life. He took the payment of all of our sins on the cross. He grieved in His walk on this earth, he demonstrated tremendous grief as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His greatest grief was at the point on the cross where all the sins of all of mankind were laid upon Him suffering complete separation from God the Father at this point in time. His pain and grief led to His resurrection three days later which leads to the most beautiful promise of love, hope, and redemption fathomable. God’s greatest gift is the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Oh yes we will suffer pain, loss, and grief, but for those who put their faith in Jesus there is indescribable beauty waiting on the other side!!!!!!
1Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit”

1John 3:5 “You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.”

John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,”

Isaiah 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

John 10:17-18 “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

Matthew 26-39 “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Matthew 27:46 “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).”

How the Sin in my Heart is like that Black Bra on my Cart

I decided to reblog this post for new followers. It is one of my all time favorite stories and spiritual truth God has shown me through an embarrassing moment!

anitalucasfreestyle

A few years ago when my two daughters were younger I often found that my time to do our family shopping was after nine o’clock in the evening.   Working full-time as a nurse, church activities, dinner, homework, the ever daunting task of laundry, the time after the girls were in bed seemed the best time to shop for the family food and staple items.  One winter evening I bundled up and traveled on down to our local Wal-Mart to purchase the family necessities. This particular store is strategically arranged with the pharmacy, beauty supplies, and pet supplies at the polar opposite corners of the store from the milk, cleaning supplies, and paper products. With a lot of shiny objects in the middle to distract us mommas.   This particular evening my cart filled quickly with large items like paper towels, laundry detergent, and toilet paper. Feeling distracted like a squirrel as…

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What Would Your Fifty to One Hundred Pictures Be?

dad in mickey ears

When my father died this spring it was a completely unexpected death. One of the first things we needed to do when making arrangements for his funeral was to gather pictures. The funeral director we worked with has a picture video made up for the family of the deceased that plays during the visitation time of the funeral. He asked us to bring in 50 to 100 pictures with the maximum up to around 150. Immediately my mother, sister, and I started thinking of significant events and pictures that would most represent the life of my father. It was hard to narrow it down. His life illuminated joy in so many ways. Most funerals I have attended there are picture boards, albums, and/or a video to view to provide a small glimpse of the life we have gathered to mourn the loss of. The pictures often provide healing as they bring remembrance of the blessing this person’s life has been to us. Pictures allow the mourning to turn to celebration and reflection. Many times the pictures will bring a smile or laughter as the memories of the loved one come alive.

As I think of my father, other family members, friends, and church family who have gone on home to Jesus there are pictures that flash into my own memory. Not physical pictures, but the image of their smile, the sound of their laugh, the sound of their voice, significant acts of kindness given to a young girl, and kindnesses shared even into my adulthood. So many loving saints that have formed me into the person I am today.
The memories flooding my mind of loved ones who have passed have gotten me to thinking about these pictures. What pictures will I leave for my family? What joys and moments are significant enough to them to make up the picture board or video? What mental images will flood their minds when remembering my life?

Will the pictures of our lives be of joy, kindness, love, understanding, forgiveness, selflessness, faithfulness, peace, gentleness, self-control, and goodness? Or when others think of our life on earth will there be the remembrance of selfishness, hatred, bitterness, and anger? There are people who have gone on that the latter is what I remember of their life. To remember someone in this manner brings a tremendous feeling of sadness for a life wasted. Thankfully there are very few individuals that I have to remember this way.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

There is no better way for a life to be pictured than God’s way!! This is what I want my 50-100 pictures to represent. What are your 50-100 pictures?

Timeless

clock running

As I reread and study scripture I am always left in awe of how men who loved God that walked the earth thousands of years ago scripted what exactly is on my heart. I marvel at God’s creation, at God’s wisdom, realize how fleeting this life and its materials are, and humbly realize the need my life has for a Savior then I sit down and read words God gave Job, David, Paul, and many others then realize what is on my heart is timeless. The same awe and desire for God’s relationship has been in the heart of mankind since God created us. God is timeless. He is the beginning and the end. The words He placed in the heart of these men and several others hold true today. These men were a vessel God used to show generation after generation what kind of relationship we broken human beings can have with our timeless, Almighty Creator. The lives I have observed that have shut Him out have a bitterness of soul about them. The beautiful poetic words of Job chapters 26-28 are a small sample of what I mean. God hears our cries of pain. He wants us to cry out to Him. It is ok for us to ask “why?”. Then God opens our eyes and ears to the whispers of Him throughout creation. His evidence is all around us if we have our eyes open to it. His peace and presence is right there for the taking for all of us if we just open our hearts. He pours out His wisdom for anyone who asks for it.

Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”