Sunday, July 27, 2008

Song for Sunday

God, be merciful to me;
On Thy grace I rest my plea
Plenteous in compassion Thou,
Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within;
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.
My transgressions I confess;
Grief and guilt my soul oppress.
I have sinned against Thy grace,
And provoked Thee to Thy face.
I confess Thy judgement just;
Speechless, I Thy mercy trust.
I am evil, born in sin;
Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art,
Teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow,
Wash me whiter than the snow.
Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice,
And in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face,
Blot them out in boundless grace.
Gracious God, my heart renew,
Make my spirit right and true.
Cast me not away from Thee,
Let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation's joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.
Sinners then shall learn from me,
And return, O God, to Thee
Savior all my guilt remove,
And my tongue shall sing Thy love
Touch my silent lips, O Lord,
And my mouth shall praise accord
This modern hymn so beautifully displays the words we read in Psalm 51. Each of the verses seems to point out one of the many sins that finds its home in the human heart. Not only are such sins brought to light, but we see in these words that hope is not lost. Though man is born in sin, though we are each of us deserving of eternal punishment, there is hope for those who find their rest in Him. For those whom He has chosen, for those who confess the sins that so easily entangle, He is gracious and faithful to grant forgiveness and true repentance. Our pastor posed a question this morning during his sermon: what set Peter apart from Judas in regard to their sin against Christ (John 13; Luke 22:31-32)? Peter entrusted Himself to the One who saves, the One who judges rightly. Peter's denial of Christ was followed by confession, repentance, and he went on to proclaim the truth to the early Church. Which of these verses stands out to you the most? Is there one in particular that resonates with your heart? If you are convicted and in need of true confession, He is faithful to forgive and cleanse.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

"Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme..."

I was giddy all week in anticipation of Thursday night. One of the great things about living in a city like Louisville is that I have had the joy of seeing some of my favorite musicals live. Thursday was one of those nights when I was able to see a performance I have wanted to see since being a little girl twirling around the living room. (I made sure to apologize to my team at work in advance on Thursday morning if they caught me humming particular Disney songs to myself throughout the day.)

I went with a group of six ladies to see "Beauty and the Beast" at the Derby Dinner Playhouse. This is a local theater that hosts various shows, and you are given a full dinner when attending a performance. We were at our very own table located right by the stage. I was sold on the place as soon as we walked through the doors. The stage is in the center of the room, and all of the tables are surrounding it. Because "Beauty and the Beast" was the performance for the evening, the stage actually looked like a stack of gigantic books. There was never a scene we couldn't see because they literally used the entire room for the performance. The waiters and waitresses are also part of the cast, so when you first sit down there is a lingering curiousity as to which character your table's waiter is going to play. We had a wonderful time, and the playhouse seemed to disappear as we were pulled into this magical story.

One of the marks of my childhood was watching my favorite Disney movies over and over, dreaming of the day when my own Prince Charming would swoop in, or wondering if I would ever visit an enchanted castle and wander through the mysterious rooms. My imagination always ran wild with such thoughts, so I was always either reading and dreaming or watching these musicals and dreaming. This is one of the reasons I seemed to always resonate most with "Belle." Out of all the Disney personalities I adored growing up, she was the one I was always drawn to most. I used to imagine what it would have been like to live in a different era, and thought that I would be similar to her in her little country town. All of the townspeople knew her, they all liked and respected her, but she always felt a little out of place. While all of the other young people were congregating at local gatherings, she preferred to have her nose in a book. Although she was present in body, her mind was often wandering off to magical places. This was me as a little girl. You would rarely find me outdoors during my early years, or at parties during my adolescence. Aside from my closeknit circle of friends (girls I still hold dear to this day), I was usually holed up in my own little world of imagination as I poured over the pages of a book. I always felt a little different, like there was something that made me stand out but that I could never quite place my finger on. And this is one of the reasons that it would take a man like none other to come in and unexpectedly swoop me off my feet...

I think we each have a character from our childhood with whom we connect, hence the reason we always loved him or her. I adored "Belle" above and beyond any enjoyment I had in watching (and singing along with) "Ariel" or "Jasmine" or "Aurora." And more than anything, as an adult looking back at my innocent youth, I cannot help but see how such tales of mystery and adventure can draw us to the Author of our own unique stories.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Song for Sunday

Jesus My Only Hope
I come into Your presence
With nothing in my hands
I only bring thanksgiving
For Jesus, God and Man
I cast myself on mercy
I cast myself on love
I trust Your gracious promise
To wash me with Your blood
Jesus my only hope, my only plea
My righteousness, my Great High Priest
Who intercedes for me before the throne
Jesus, I trust in You alone
I will not fear Your judgment
For me, no wrath I dread
For it was spent on Jesus
Poured out upon His head
When Satan’s accusations
Make my poor heart afraid
I hear my King declaring
“Father, that debt is paid”
Jesus my only hope, my only plea
My righteousness, my Great High Priest
Who intercedes for me before the throne
Jesus, I trust in You alone
(words and music by Mark Altrogge -

Thursday, July 17, 2008

No Substitute

I am without my wedding ring this week, and it is quite possibly going to drive me completely bananas! The wedding and engagement bands are a set, so I took it to the shop earlier in the week after six months of feeling the two sliding around separately on my finger. Well, as soon as I got home on the day I took my rings in, I immediately went to my jewelry box to see what ring I could wear in the meantime. There are a couple to choose from, mostly ones I received from grandparents over the years. I picked out three, walked them in to where my husband was working at the computer, and asked him which he thought would be the most appropriate substitute. He quickly swiveled the chair around, look straight into my eyes and said, "No, there is no substitute." I admittedly became slightly whiny and replied, "But I feel strange not having my wedding ring on my finger," to which he then replied, "But there is no substitute. No other ring should ever go on that finger." Now, if you aren't someone who finds extreme significance in symbolism, then this scene may not mean much. But to me, this was huge. There is no substitute, even if temporary. Nothing will ever take the place of the ring that was placed on my finger, signifying that I am now, and for the rest of my days, my beloved's and he is mine.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Remember the former days of old..."

...which for me includes remembering the days before proper eyebrow maintenance.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Song for Sunday

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
(words by Samuel Trevor Francis, adapted by Thomas John Williams)
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
’Tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
’Tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee!
Similar to those bloggers who post a "Thursday Thirteen," "Wordless Wednesday," or "Favorite Photo Friday," I've decided to do my own weekly post on Sundays. I am more than blessed to attend a church that sings rich music, both in words and melody. I was reminded this weekend, though, of how easy it can be to sing through such lyrics without pausing to meditate on the truth being communicated. The Lord really pierced my heart with this old hymn this morning as I was singing through the worship music and helping lead the congregation. After what has been an extremely mixed bag of emotions this weekend, both laughter and tears, these words were as a balm to my soul.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Nothing like a fun birthday on a hot summer day!

40 Scripture memory verses, 95 pages of notes, 5 books, and a 10-page assignment later, I am finally able to rest. Although I still have the final exam to complete before next Friday, I am done with my summer class. My husband just finished his 6-week Hebrew class as well, so we have both spent the past day doing very little that requires an extended amount of thinking. I was so tired last night, I fell asleep while doing laundry, and he had to come and remind me that there were wet clothes still waiting to be dried. All that to say that we are definitely enjoying our Saturday!
While my husband is still recooperating, I decided to go to a birthday party this afternoon. BreAnna is one of my newest friends at church, and she is celebrating her "20-10" birthday as she referred to it. There was a good number of people there and just one more chance for me to meet people that we still haven't gotten a chance to know. (This picture is of BreAnna, her husband Micah, and sweet little Toby!)

This could be very dangerous...I was introduced to a new shop here in town that specializes in cake. I am most certain that we will be visiting this little shop in the very near future...

You can't go to a party without the kids asking to have their picture taken! I talked to these little girls about popsicles and Disney stuff, and they of course wanted to me to take a picture just so they could see themselves. So cute!

Even though the flash didn't come on for this picture, I still liked it ~ Me and the birthday girl cooling off in her kitchen

Happy birthday, BreAnna! I hope you enjoy your day and that you had a wonderful time at the party!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

When Paths are Crossed

We can never be sure when or how the Lord is going to cross our path with that of another individual, someone completely unexpected. During some downtime at work about a month ago, I found myself browsing the most recent news updates on the website for the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. This website has proven helpful in reading the latest features and research updates, as well as discovering which states and cities have a group of volunteers represented. Kentucky doesn't currently have an alliance, but Ohio has an extremely active volunteer base. In my search, I came across a news article about little 2-year-old named Meghan. As with many cases of TS, Meghan's family had no knowledge of the condition until she began having seizures. Tests showed that little Meghan had growths on both her brain and heart. The family, both Meghan's parents and grandparents, have been heavily involved in volunteer opportunities and raising awareness about what is still a very unfamiliar condition to many.

Since first reading this news article, I have been corresponding with Meghan's grandmother, Cheryl, via email. They have provided information about the alliance in Ohio, including dates of the events that are scheduled for 2009. While I am still uncertain as to the possibility of attending these events, I have been so surprised at the amount of families involved in the cause! You learn so much about the love of closeknit families, and all who are involved can be encouraged knowing that they aren't alone. In our most recent email correspondence this past week, Cheryl asked that I provide for her a detailed account of my story. She seems to be the type of individual who welcomes insight from anyone willing to provide it in regard to TS, and I was more than happy to give her a glimpse into what the journey has been like thus far. I am not sure at this point in our "conversation" where she is at in relation to the Lord, so I presented my story in a way that gently, and directly, emphasized how I have seen the Lord's hand in everything that has occurred thus far.

Dear Cheryl,

From a very young age, maybe around the age of four, I had a red "birthmark" on my face. My mom tells me that it started as a very tiny spot on my right cheek, as if there was just a blood vessel close to the skin, and it grew until sometime when I was in elementary school. My "birthmark" felt like a signature mark on my face as I saw it in every picture taken of ,and it was a spot noticeable to everyone. There were numerous visits to doctors throughout my childhood, from family practitioners to dermatologists, who stared in awkward silence at this skin abnormality to which they couldn't assign a known cause. One doctor called it a mole (right), and another pulled his monster medical book from the shelf and flipped through the pages for what seemed like hours. All that to say we never received an answer or suggestion for where to go for specific assistance.

It wasn't until college that I started thinking more seriously about the other skin problems. The patches of bumpy skin on my lower back were nothing like those on my face (I now have two areas on my face, the one on my cheek and one that developed under my jaw line). Those areas on my back spread very gradually, but it was still very obvious that they were, in fact, spreading. There was also the question of why I had patches on my arms and legs where there seemed to be no pigment in the skin. My mom became increasingly more insistent that I visit her new dermatologist in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in hopes of getting a more informed opinion, and my boyfriend (now husband) agreed that it would be a good idea.

My mom accompanied me to her dermatologist in the fall of 2004. I didn't have high hopes for being told anything new. Within minutes of meeting the dermatologist, he glanced at my face, back, fingernails (definitely a first), and told me that he was almost certain of the diagnosis. He also asked to schedule another appointment to have a biopsy of one of the spots on my back. After all of this was done, he informed me that all signs pointed to Tuberous Sclerosis (TS). I understandably didn't know at the time what that meant exactly, but there was definite relief to finally have an answer.

I moved to Louisville, KY in June 2005, and scheduled appointments with a dermatologist and neurologist as soon as my medical insurance went into effect. Both doctors recommended a CT scan of my brain and chest (lungs), as well as an ultrasound of my kidneys. Through personal research and consulting with them, I found out that these are the target areas checked for any internal growths caused by TS. I will never forget the phone call I received from Dr. Donovan, the dermatologist, with news of the test results. She informed me that night that a spot had been detected on my brain. Of all the places for there to be tubers, there was one on my brain. While growths related to TS are not malignant, there was no way to tell if this spot had remained the same size all these years or if it was continuing to grow. Since I hadn't had my first scans until 22 years of age, they wanted to follow-up with more tests a year later to see if the spot had grown. (There were a few other minor spots and calcium deposits, but only one spot that was the cause for concern.) The second round of testing in 2006 involved an MRI rather than a CT scan in order to provide the doctors a more detailed image. Much to our relief, there was no indication that the spot on my brain had grown, so my neurologist suggested that I wait a couple of years until the next MRI. At this point, my doctors have suggested a scan of my brain every two years unless growth is indicated, and a scan of my lungs and kidneys every five years since there are currently no concerns there.

Those are all of the medical details to date. I have been overwhelmed by the vast amount of information doctors have been able to provide, particularly considering how new TS still is to the medical field. I have seen God's hand at work in this since the first steps taken three years ago to get actual answers. One such example of His involvement in all of this has to do with the simple fact that I moved to Louisville when I did. Not only did I unknowingly move to what is a huge medical hub, transitioning from blank stares to concrete answers and real help, but my neurologist here is an acquaintance of Dr. Neil Franz at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital. Dr. Franz is a pediatric neurologist and head of the Tuberous Sclerosis Clinic there in Cincinnati, primarily focusing on children since TS is seen overwhelmingly in children rather than adults. I visited the clinic and Dr. Franz in 2006 and 2007, and he provided some of the most current information there is available nationwide. I was absolutely overwhelmed by his level of knowledge in this area, and saw myself as fortunuate and truly blessed to have been linked with one of the leading doctors in the U.S.

To be perfectly honest, though, when I stop and think through my struggle with TS and the reality of living with such a relatively unknown condition, I typically don't think of myself. In the process of researching TS and gathering as much information as possible, my husband and I have been faced with an even more sobering reality. Because of how I have been affected by TS, because of the genes that have been affected, any children I have biologically will have a 50% chance of inheriting the condition. And to take it a step further, within that 50% chance, any children I bear have an 80% chance having a much more severe manifestation. I learned that this large percentage of children are are born wtih seizures or some degree of mental disability. For someone who has a deep, nurturing desire to bear my own children, this came as a blow for which I wasn't exactly prepared.

The thoughts of family planning cross my mind at least once a month. Being faced with a condition that affects me individually is one thing, but knowing that I could pass along a potentially debilitating condition to my own children can make my stomach turn. However, there are things I have learned since that first official diagnosis in 2005 to remind me that none of this has occurred by accident. It is no accident that I married a man who was himself adopted, and there is no question in our minds that adoption is a high probability when it comes to building our little family. Little did I know just a few short years ago that the Lord would provide a man with whom I am like-minded in such issues, and one who would lead me in truth and not in my emotions. When I am prone to despair, I know that he is going to bring me back to reality because of the way he already leads our home just six months into our marriage.

On a personal note, my perception of myself, both emotionally and physically, has been directly challenged. The Lord brings even these conditions into our lives for the ultimate purpose of finding our only hope in Him and clinging to Him alone in this life we have been given. I look at myself in the mirror every morning and night, and I would be lying if I didn't admit that it can be a struggle. Even with a husband who is more supportive and encouraging than I could have ever hoped for or imagined, I still spend many moments in front of the mirror only seeing the imperfections. The Lord is gracious to use these difficult moments to remind me that He created every detail, every "imperfection" of who I am. The question is not whether I am beautiful, but why I am beautiful. I am who I am because He created me according to His own will, and He has redeemed me for His own glory. I am so quick to forget such earth-shattering promises and the hope that is Him alone, but that's why I can only focus on that which is true. If I believe the lies while looking back at my reflection, it doesn't take long for me to downspiral. But when I cling to Him and that which He has said is true about His purpose in creating me, the imperfections don't seem so imperfect. The truth is that we live in a fallen world, and with that will inevitably come pain, sickness, disease, disaster, and ultimately, death. The question I have to ask myself as one who has been redeemed through Christ is whether or not I reflect Him. In the context of this world, is He evident in and through me? That is my daily prayer, and those who trust in Him are never driven to despair.


The family has also put together a website for the specific purpose of providing updates on Meghan's development. She has certain therapists she meets with on a regular basis, and her family provides both insightful and encouraging information regarding all they are learning during this process. Through Meghan's website, I found that the family has linked to numerous other families that are doing the same thing for the same purpose. I had to make myself get back to work after all of my new discoveries because I was so mesmerized by all of the many websites I was coming across. Who would have thought that reading one news article would lead to this? I am excited to network with others, but I have been especially touched by what I know of precious little Meghan's family. I pray the Lord is evident and at work in all of my correspondence with them...

Happy 4 and Happy 6!

Happy 4th of July!! What were our big holiday plans? We didn't have any, and it was GREAT! My husband and I are both right in the middle of summer classes, so all we really had on the agenda for the extended weekend was to sleep in. (I think I would always wake up on weekdays with a smile on my face if I didn't have to set an alarm as was the case yesterday morning.) Since we had the day off and since my husband was going to grill steaks for dinner, I figured it was a perfectly good opportunity to try yet another recipe. So while he was getting all the goods ready for that, I was making these delectable blonde brownies. Thanks to my co-worker Ashley for the recipe, and she wasn't joking - you can't go wrong with these blonde beauties!
And Happy 6-month anniversary!! On some days I can't believe that we have already been married for six months, and on other days I can't believe we have only been married six months!

My husband truly is my best friend, and I could have never known in all our years of dating that our love for one another could be so deep. I have always been told that you continue to grow in that love as your relationship matures and blossoms with time, but never could I have imagined how wonderful that journey is. I am overwhelmed at the encouraging, self-sacrificing love we have for one another already, and to think that such is only going to continue growing is nothing short of incredible. I look at this man everyday, and I am amazed at the fact that I actually get to walk with him for however many years the Lord affords. So this is, the mystery truly is profound. And here's to the first six months. May the Lord continue blessing our relationship, increasing our love for one another in this life's journey of knowing and becoming more like Him.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Always Prepared to Give an Account

"But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you..." 1 Peter 3:15

I have, admittedly, never been good at evangelism. I have never been able to make heads or tails of the common approaches to evangelism among contemporary churches. The tension seems to be found between a methodical approach and a relational approach to confronting others with the Gospel. Very few things drive me more crazy, make my face become more hot, than those who treat evangelism and those involved as a project. Rather than having a motive which stems from presenting the whole Gospel to the whole person, people are treated as commodities and one more notch on the stick of evangelism successes, i.e. another soul "won for Christ." Rather than investing in their lives, meeting them where they are at in both their personal lives and in their particular culture, methods of approach are based on growth by numbers and not by true repentance. The other approach, as mentioned, is a more relational approach in witnessing to others (the approach I tend to take). This is the approach by which believers do engage individuals in personal ways, ministering to them through various means and in a variety of environments whether at the office, in the classroom, or at a coffeeshop. Yet where and how do you transition into intentionally communicating the Gospel truth to them? Where do you make the connection between their particular issue or circumstance and the only Source of truth and hope? This is not only my approach; this is my struggle.

Last night marked the first of a two-week class I'm taking at school, a class focusing on none other than the issue of personal evangelism. During the typical class introductions, the professor asked us to tell him and the rest of the students what we hope to take away from this particular course. I immediately began thinking of my current work situation, and the people with whom I have been fortunate to work alongside. I began thinking about the general makeup of the individuals within the company, what they represent in light of our surrounding society. The majority of people I work with are fairly comfortable in life. We are a fast-paced, growing, successful company and many give off the appearance of contentment. While I have been more than grateful for this job, there is also potential danger in such a position. I find it easy to simply fit into the common air of comfort, allowing my mind to get lost in the bustle of paperwork and phone calls. I get along with everyone, everyone seems happy, so what more is there to question? It shouldn't take one long to discover why I find it so easy to make excuses for not being more intentional in my approach to those I see on a daily basis... Our first assignment for this class is a two-page account of our personal testimony: life prior to conversion, the conversion experience itself, and life following conversion. While I wasn't the least bit surprised by such an assignment, I began thinking about the importance of a seemingly basic task. If I was presented with the opportunity to do so, would I be able to share my personal testimony of the Lord's saving grace in such a way that was simple yet reflective of His power to breath new life into dead hearts? I spent the better part of last night tossing such questions back and forth in my mind, and the following is what I came up with for a written account of my personal testimony:

My small family was never far from the doors of the church. With my mom as the pianist and my brother and I involved in virtually every program available to children, we rarely missed a Sunday or Wednesday at the Baptist church where I was raised. I come from a long line of Baptists, many of whom proudly wear the title without knowing what it really means. All I knew as a child was that we went to church because it was expected. I can look back at my childhood years and see that there was little evidence of certain individuals in my family possessing a vibrant, growing relationship with the Lord. I learned early on, even before I could actually articulate the issue, that one can religiously attend church and yet never show any fruit of true conversion.
I still struggle at times to recollect details of my salvation experience, the specific moment of conversion, due to my young age. This moment, though, came following a Sunday night at my home church when my family was in attendance at a rockin' Christian band concert. (To this day I seriously doubt that the big-haired guy playing the synthesizer is who won me over.) I was only eight years old at the time, and the most vivid memory I have of this particular night was the feeling I had as I glanced around at the surrounding audience. I remember this gnawing feeling deep in the pit of my stomach as I was overcome with one thought: something was missing. As I looked around the sanctuary, I was struck with the reality that I did not know God personally, and certainly did not know His Son the Savior. All of the songs I had been singing since the age of two, all of the verses I was trained to memorize, seemed empty as I realized that I did not know the One whom the words were describing. Upon arriving home later that evening, I sat on my bed with my mother and shared my thoughts with her. I vaguely remember her asking me questions primarily for assurance of whether or not I was experiencing true conversion. We closed our conversation with prayer, and my mom asked me to pray aloud. I remember asking Him to forgive me of all I had done wrong and to cleanse me as my personal Lord and Savior. I was baptized by immersion only a week or two following the moment of conversion as a biblical mandate and indication of the transforming work Christ had performed in my heart.
Due to my young age at the time, I admit that there were years following when I questioned the sincerity of my conversion. I struggled at times with assurance of salvation, particularly in my early teenage years and around the time when my parents divorced. The question always came to mind of how someone can be a true believer and still battle with anger, depression and frustration. As an immature adolescent, I watched in confusion as my older brother, who once professed the same faith as I did, took a nosedive into a life characterized by rebellion.
Only by the grace of God was I surrounded during these years by godly leaders and friends, many with whom I remain in close contact to this day. The Lord opened my eyes to the truth that He held and protected me through my adolescence, guarding my heart in ways I was unaware of at the time. I cannot look back at the years afforded to me and not be overcome by His overwhelming sovereignty and grace. Not only did He guard me personally in those early years, but I have been able to see how past experiences led up to where I am currently. His Holy Spirit has clearly been shaping me from an early age in such a way that bears witness of the truth and hope found only in Him and in His Word. He has revealed to me through relationships, both family and friends, that He is the only One who satisfies the weary, wounded soul. I could never earn the grace the Father has bestowed, something which He has revealed abundantly in these first months of marriage to my husband. I know without a doubt that I am unworthy of the rich gifts the Lord has provided, of the salvation made possible through Jesus Christ, and that He alone has the power to redeem His beloved. May He receive the glory for all He has done, all He is doing now, and all He will do.

Have you taken time to think through and write out your personal testimony? I am tempted to say that anyone who reads this should consider themselves "tagged," but I won't. However, if you feel compelled to write your testimony out, a written account of Christ's saving work in your life, let me know! Whether it serves as a personal reflection of how you have experienced and seen evidence of His work in your life, or serves as something beneficial in any evangelistic opportunity that the Lord provides, I really this is something well worth time and thought.

"And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6