February 27, 2009
Recently, I had been convicted when I spoke something out of frustration about someone that I should go to the person I spoke about and ask forgiveness. The person I spoke about wasn’t even there when I made the rash statement however, God was there and he was determined to hold me accountable.
I love that about God. Some years ago I had asked him and have continued to ask him to not let me get away with anything. I so want to be transparent and free from sin in right relationship with God but I can identify with Paul who writes in Romans 7:15 (cjbv) “I don’t understand my own behavior—I don’t do what I want to do; instead, I do the very thing I hate!”
And in Romans 7:19 & 24-25 (cjbv), “For I don’t do the good I want; instead, the evil that I don’t want is what I do!” “What a miserable creature I am!—who will rescue me from this body bound for death? Thanks be to God, he will!—through Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, our Lord!”
Thank God for God! What would I do without him? So, after a long battle within myself rolling this over and over…after turning up the radio so that maybe that would fix it (ya know ya can’t hear God so well with the radio up) and after saying to God, “God, maybe this isn’t your voice…” to which he replied, “You know my voice.” I gave in and made the call to ask for forgiveness.
All the games I play but he is patient with me. Sometimes I beg him…God please don’t give up on me! To which he reminds me of Philippians 1:6 (NIV) “….being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I’m so grateful for his wonderful grace when I sin.
I love that God has made a way for us through confession but that requires courage. James 5:16 (cjbv) says, “Therefore, openly acknowledge your sins to one another, and pray for each other, so that you may be healed,” and then it goes on to encourage in the light of what’s been previously written “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Wow how redeeming!
We are to confess our sins openly before one another and in the very same verse is the power of a righteous man’s prayer! It is the righteous that act according to this manner and it doesn’t hinder their prayers a bit in fact the word indicates that it makes their prayers powerful and effective.
There is no shame in this! This is the way out! This is the door!
John 3:19-21 (cjbv) “Now this is the judgement: the light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light. Why? Because their actions were wicked. For everyone who does evil things hates the light and avoids it, so that his actions won’t be exposed. But everyone who does what is true comes to the light, so that all may see that his actions are accomplished through God.”
Coming into the light is painful to our spirit. It means that our sins will be exposed and burned by the rays of God. But just like we go to the doctor when we have an infected wound, we go to Jesus our Healer…we come into his “office” of light and he cleanses the sores that sin inflicts on us. He burns them to stop the spread of infection and bring healing.
Is it painful? Yes. Does it take courage? Yes. But God will help you and he has already paid the price for you to be free. Come into the light today. Don’t be afraid. God is there to cleanse your sinful wounds and bring healing to you. He is the door and he can stop the cycle you are in…you can trust him.
He stands waiting……come to him and be free.
February 27, 2009
February 23, 2009
This weekend my loving husband and I decided that we would purchase a new bed we had been saving for to try to relieve our morning aches. I had found a place in Michigan online that seemed to have pretty good deals and they were also having a sale which was even better.
Long story short we were blessed with a good salesman that got us a great bed at a reasonable price within our budget…thank you Jesus…anyway the salesman insisted that it would not fit in our van and encouraged us to buy ratchet straps from the nearest store.
Okay, so we loaded the mattress set on our luggage rack and proceeded down the road. It had snowed that day and the wind had picked up to what felt like 30 or 40 miles per hour at times! Oh and did I mention that the snow had turned to a sheet of ice on the road?
We were trucking along at about 40 miles per hour with everyone staring at the crazy Indiana people’s van with the mattress set strapped onto the top when all the sudden a gust of wind came and we began to lose control of the van!
Prior to this time we did not realize how slick the road was so after many prayers and tense moments the van was back on track and we took those events as our wake up call to slow down.
Later on in the journey we experienced other icy patches and the oncoming traffic was going too fast for what we knew the road conditions to be. We saw many accidents and I praise God that we finally made it home safely mattress set intact…woo hoo thank you Jesus that you keep us even in our moments of insanity!
All this got me to thinking about how many of us go about our lives going too fast for the conditions with baggage strapped to us and we think things are fine but we don’t see the danger often times until it is too late. How many times does God spare us with his grace and mercy? How many times does God use those things in our lives to discipline us and proclaim his holiness to us?
This morning I was reading in Acts chapter 5 about Ananias and Sapphira. This is a familiar story about a couple who were going far to fast for the conditions and did not think through the plan they had. They tried to pretend to be something they were not and were judged by God. The Lord struck them out of his holiness and they died immediately.
God knew the deceit in their hearts and made an example of them before the people. They had sold some land and tried to lie to the disciples and God claiming they had given to the church the full amount that they had received for the land. They were not even required to give the full amount but they chose to come with pretense and deceit in their hearts before God.
More and more I’m realizing with the current events of the days we are living in that playing games with God is a dangerous move. We are seeing the prophetic scriptures being fulfilled right before our eyes. The time has come to decide this day whom we will serve…
God is calling to his church to become the spotless Bride he’s been longing for; to wake from our slumber and stop living on the fence. I hear the call in my own life…it’s time to examine ourselves and ask God to show us what he sees.
It’s time to let go of the baggage from the past that causes us to swerve to and fro on the icy road of life and give God full control of the wheel. We can’t fool him…he knows it all.
God show me the places in my life where I am not being honest with you, I pray this with fear and trembling. It’s so hard to face truth sometimes. I want to be all you’ve called me to be. I want to be saturated with you and I want you at the wheel at all times.
If I am carrying baggage from the past, show me, help me to lay it forever at your feet because these are times to travel light and have an ear to hear you clearly.
Help me to be genuine and transparent at all times so the light of your glory can shine through. I trust you Lord. Help me pass the tests when they come…I want to please you. Amen.
February 21, 2009
Early this morning before dawn I awoke with this question pounding throughout every fiber of my being…Do you know me? Do you know me? Do you know me? I confess that this has been my cry recently to KNOW him. It isn’t enough to know ABOUT him anymore…I must KNOW Him deeper and more intimately than I ever have.
There is such an urgency within me that comes with this question. Do others know him? Or do they know about him? I think of the narrow gate in Matthew 7:13 Jesus is speaking and he says, “Go in through the narrow gate; for the gate that leads to destruction is wide and the road broad, and many travel it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life and only a few find it.”(CJBV)
Further down in Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus says this, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?
Verse 23… “Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never KNEW you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’(Complete Jewish Bible version).
Jesus is speaking to people who say they have done all these things in his name, they appear to believe in him and serve him, and his name is on their lips but where are their hearts? (Isaiah 29:13)
What hope do I have if only few make it through the gate? Where is the gate? In John 10:1-15 Jesus is speaking again and he is teaching the people about a sheep pen and how the shepherd is the one who the sheep KNOW his voice and they follow him.
The people aren’t getting what he is saying to them so he speaks more directly saying in verses 7 “Yes, indeed! I tell you that I AM THE GATE for the sheep…”
Again in verse 9 Jesus says to them plainly… “I AM THE GATE if someone enters through me, he will be safe and will go in and out and find pasture…I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.”
How do I enter through Jesus, the Messiah, the Gate so I will be safe? Romans 10:9-10 (NIV) says, “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
It goes on to say in the next verse…”As the Scriptures says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Also in Isaiah 28:16) So then all I have to do is confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that God raised him from the dead and I will be saved then I can go on living like I want to…great!…but wait a minute…
When I read from the Jewish Bible it says this… “that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua (Jesus) is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be delivered.
For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one keeps on making public acknowledgement and thus continues toward deliverance.”
Going on to verse 11 it finishes this thought saying… “For the passage quoted says that everyone who rests his trust on him will not be humiliated.”
This would indicate that believing in Jesus is a continual process towards righteousness and deliverance and not just a “set it and forget it” approach.
Coming to Christ and knowing him is a commitment, a new and full life; it is a hard road and something not to be taken lightly.
This life will last a short time and we will stand before God when it is finished. I don’t want to hear the words above directed at me on that day.
When the scripture talks about “trusting in him and not being humiliated or not being put to shame” it is not talking about in front of man but rather in front of God where it really matters!
Father, I pray for myself, that I would come to know you in a deeper, more intimate way. I confess with my mouth that your are Lord and I believe in my heart that you, Jesus, died for me and you were raised from the dead.
I give thanks to you that you will never leave me or forsake me. Thank you that you are the Good Shepherd; help me to know your voice and follow you and you alone. Amen.
February 17, 2009
I was reading my Jewish Bible this morning and I was so struck by the words of Isaiah. I started in chapter 53 reading about Jesus the Messiah and how he was “… a man of pains, well acquainted with illness…”
I love reading from this version as many times in the NIV the Hebrew and Greek words are not translated so clearly. What depth this brings to Jesus the Messiah…he knew all about pains and illness.
Later in verse 4 it says “…In fact, it was OUR disease he bore, OUR pains from which he suffered…But he was wounded because of OUR crimes, crushed because of OUR sins; the disciplining that makes US whole fell on him, and by his bruises we are healed.”
It never occurred to me until just a few minutes ago that Jesus ACTUALLY carried our illnesses and pains! I had to wonder was he actually inflicted with disease? Earlier in this same scripture in verse 2 it says about Jesus the Messiah “…he was not well-formed or especially handsome; we saw him, but his appearance did not attract us. People despised and avoided him.”
In those days people who had disease were despised and avoided. . Wow! What a revelation! He KNOWS what it is to have illness and disease! He KNOWS what it is to have pains!
And again in Isaiah 53:10-11 it says “…yet it pleased ADONAI (The Lord) to crush him with illness, to see if he would present himself as a guilt offering…and at his hand ADONAI’S desire will be accomplished….By knowing (pain and sacrifice), my righteous servant makes many righteous; it is for their sins that he suffers.”
But why? Why did God allow Jesus to suffer in such a way? To test him and to make MANY righteous! He suffered to save us and bring healing to OUR diseases! Thank you Jesus! We are free from sin and disease because of what you did for us!
But Danni died of disease, how can I make sense of this? Jesus healed her in her death and not only that but that disease had ABSOLUTELY NO HOLD ON HER SPIRIT!
That’s why she could think of others in her condition! That’s why she could pray for others and care for others from her sick bed! SIN AND DEATH AND DISEASE HAD NO HOLD ON HER BECAUSE OF WHAT JESUS HAD DONE ON THE INSIDE OF HER!
She had accepted him as her Substitute, as her Redeemer, as her Savior, as her Healing, as her Wholeness, and in return she was FREE no matter what circumstances she was in…Halleluiah! She was freer than anyone of us I know and yet her body was dying and she was confined to her bed!
Halleluiah, Halleluiah, Halleluiah….I can see why she sang those words from her bed with her dying breath…she was free like NEVER BEFORE! PRAISE YOU JESUS…YOU ARE GOOD ALL THE TIME!!!!
She was free because Jesus had carried the illness for her and healed what mattered on the inside…her eternal spirit.
Come to Jesus today and let him heal you on the inside…stop trying to carry the illness and pain that you suffer and let him carry it for you as he did for Danni.
I saw these things with my very own eyes and so did many others and I am here to proclaim to you that Jesus our Messiah, our Savior is real and he works in marvelous ways even through the deepest, darkest set of circumstances! I testify to you today!
February 14, 2009
Job 3:25-26 (NIV) “What I feared has come upon me, what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness ; I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
Most of the third chapter of Job is him cursing the day he was born. He has just had everything near and dear to him ripped away. He says an interesting thing in verse 25…”what I feared has come upon me…”
I always thought to myself, “How do people take care of special needs kids or anyone who is suffering?” I confess there was always a fear of this type of situation. Something I’ve learned is that God will always make you face your fears.
Going through an experience like I’ve just been through made me see just how faithful God is and how powerful is his perfect love to drive out any fear. (1John 4:18)
I have seen his deliverance first hand. I used to fear not having enough money but after I had seen the provision of the Lord time and time again I no longer have those fears. Slowly God is causing me to face my fears in order to deliver me from them!
There are others he did this for in the bible such as Moses, Gideon, Esther, Elijah, Job, Joshua, and the list goes on and on.
So if something that you have feared has come upon you; go to God and thank him for the opportunity for you to be able to see his deliverance first hand and repent for having feared that thing in the first place.
Many times we are commanded in the bible not to fear people or situations but we are however instructed constantly throughout the scriptures to fear the Lord. Strong’s Concordance number 3372 is used the most where “fear of the Lord” is used in the bible and it means this…to fear, revere, be afraid, to stand in awe of, be awed, honor, respect, be dreadful, be held in awe, terrify, and to inspire reverence.
These are all attitudes we need to have where God is concerned. It seems to me that the only thing we are instructed TO fear is God!
LIFE HAS HAPPENED
PIECES OF DELICATE GLASS IN SHARDS ON THE GROUND
MY LIFE IS SHATTERED
HER LIFE IS SHATTERED
EVERYTHING IS IN PIECES ON THE GROUND
PIECES ARE GROUND INTO THE GROUND
BURIED DEEP IN THE GROUND
THEN THE MASTER CRAFTSMAN COMES
HE LOWERS HIS HAND TO THE GROUND
HE POURS THE WATER OF HIS WORD ONTO THE GROUND
AND THE PIECES COME FORTH FROM THE GROUND
HE POURS HIS WATERY WORD ON AGAIN
THE BROKENESS SHINES IN THE SUNLIGHT
HE LIFTS THE SHARDS GENTLY FROM THE GROUND
HIS PALLET STANDING BY
THE CANVAS IN FRONT OF HIM WHITE AND CLEAN, BRIGHT AND NEW
THIS IS A SPECIAL CANVAS THE LIGHT CAN SHINE THOUGH
HE GOES TO WORK WITH ALL THE PIECES OF BROKENESS
FROM EVERYWHERE HE CAN FIND
HE PICKS UP HIS BRUSH AND WITH LONG AND SHORT STROKES
HE MOVES THE COLOR
NEXT THE SHATTERED PIECES ARE AFFIXED IN PLACE
THE LIGHT OF HIS GLORY SHINES SO BRIGHTLY
COLORS ARRAY IN ALL DIRECTIONS
SUCH A THING OF BEAUTY THE MASTER CRAFTSMAN HAS CREATED
BY THE TOUCH OF HIS HAND AND THE WASHING OF HIS WORD
IT HANGS NOW IN THE GALLERY OF HEAVEN FOR ALL TO MARVEL
YOUR MASTERPEICES IS SO UNSPEAKABLE
FULL OF YOUR GLORY FATHER
I WILL TRUST IN YOU AT ALL TIMES FOR I HAVE SEEN WITH MY EYES
AND HAVE BELIEVED WITH MY HEART YOUR LOVE FOR ME
February 10, 2009
I was up with the roosters this morning longing to know God more, he’s doing more work in me. After a time of prayer I began to write and as I did things weren’t coming together so I left it alone as I commonly do to let the dust settle and then I can often times convey my heart.
I had the word open to Matthew 25:31-46 as I was writing but it didn’t seem to fit. I was reading about the sheep and the goats how on Judgement Day God would separate the people according to how they treated one another.
I came back to my writing thoughts this afternoon after I had checked the scripture for the day on one of my favorite sites and low and behold there it was again…Matthew 25…the sheep and the goats. I wondered what it was that God was saying.
My thoughts were on Danni about how she was reliant upon me during the last months of her life. I thank God for the opportunity to have served her, mommies do anything for their babies. She hated that I had to do the things I did for her but I was glad to.
Jesus showed me one day that as I did things for her I was doing the same things as unto him. I did my best for her and for him.
Matthew 25 shows us that how we treat and how we care for others goes a long way with God and we will stand before him some day to give account. I have learned so much compassion for people from serving Danni and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been there for her. I love her so much. I miss her so much.
What we do for others in this life matters.
This week is one year when Danni was diagnosed and I am amazed how life changes, we don’t know when exactly the Lord will return but if we are wise we will lay all doctrine and preconceived ideas aside and cry out to God to know him as he really is and not how we have made him out to be in our minds based on our earthly experiences or what someone told us about him.
Time is short…little sheep...treat people well…seek him to KNOW him as he really is and stay close to the Word these are perilous times and life can change on a dime.
February 9, 2009
I love how my Father wakes me up every morning. We set our alarm to a local inspirational station and it never fails that the music seems to be handpicked for us. You know how when God is speaking to you many times you will hear the same scripture over and over from several different people and sources?
The song this morning was one I had never heard before but contained the following scriptures that have continually been presented to me in the last few days.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
I confess I had to repent for my prideful way of coming to the Lord in my “strength”. He would give me something to read and I would think in my mind, okay, I’ve read this and I know this story.
Consequently, God has been quiet lately and I haven’t been receiving much from the word. I thank God for showing me my error and I will come to him in my weakness that his power can be made perfect and that Christ’s power may rest on me as the scripture says above.
I think many times God is quiet when we come to him because he is waiting for us to come with a humble heart that is willing to receive what he has to say.
I am thankful for Romans 8:26-27 and Hebrews 4:14-16 which allowed me to see the grace of God and just how sufficient it is for me. I love how God always goes before us and provides all we need.
God, I want to know you, I want to experience your love for me deeper than I have ever known. Help me to fully surrender myself to you humble and weak so that your power can be made perfect in me and that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Help me not to fear and fill me with your joy and peace. Bring healing to my spirit. Help me to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. Grant me favor in your courts and help me to hear your voice clearly. Help me be obedient to your voice at all times. Thank you that you will give me the desires of my heart as I stay focused on you.
Keep me from evil, give me all I need for today and let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you that your Spirit is interceding for me. Amen
February 6, 2009
Yesterday I read a news story about a 93 year old man who froze to death in his home because he didn’t pay his heating bill of nearly $1000 and the heating company shut off his source of energy. After the man died a hospital received from him $600,000! He had the money why didn’t he use it? How did this needlessly happen?
As I thought about this I realized that this is the way we as followers of Christ live our lives. We fret and stew about small potato stuff not realizing or believing that we have a Father that is of endless supply! In Luke 12:22-34, Jesus tells the people not to worry about the small stuff (my paraphrase) but to seek the kingdom and these things will be given you as well. GOD IS OUR SUPPLY!
I love the next verse (32), “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom…” Going on it says to sell your possessions and give to the poor. If we see a need in our brothers and sisters give to that need. This is how the kingdom operated at that time.
How can we see the members of the body in need and not help them if it is within our power to do so? How can we send them away and say be warm and fed when they have nothing? (James 2:16) Or better yet should we say we won’t help a person because they haven’t got a job?
In the original church, Acts 2:45 says, “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” Is this is how Jesus intends for the kingdom to work? Again in Act 4:32-34 it says, “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. From time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales, and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.”
What a radical thought. It is amazing to me that they sold the things they had for the shear purpose of supplying for another believer, the funds were given to those who had need in the body IF there was a need!
Radical! But look at what unity came from this type of behavior and most importantly it says “With GREAT POWER the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.” Isn’t this the focus and goal of the believer’s life?
God tells us not to worry about the small stuff of everyday life but to focus on the kingdom seeking it with our whole heart and I don’t know about you but this is really challenging me to do some things different with the money and possessions I’ve been given. People... in these dark days we have got to have the gospel in our mouths and be able to proclaim it with GREAT POWER! GOD IS OUR SUPPLY!
Father, show us, lead us; forgive me for fretting the small stuff. Teach us how your kingdom operates and speak through your church with GREAT POWER the testimonies you have put within us! AMEN!
I challenge you to take these scriptures and find others…pray and seek the kingdom…see what God has to say to you individually and be obedient to what he is telling you to do.
February 2, 2009
Near the end of 2004 our family suffered from divorce and our lives were torn apart. Everything Matt had known in his 17 years of marriage and everything I had known in my 16 years of marriage crumbled into pieces.
When divorce happens each married partner shoulders the blame, no one is perfect and there are many things that contribute to the dissolve of a marriage. In all cases it’s the children who are scarred most deeply. Our experience was no different.
For Matt and I our paths came together in 2005 through mutual friends and love and understanding was planted and began to grow. All throughout our courtship we submitted our relationship to God even to the point where we agreed to be apart for a time in the beginning to wait upon God and give ourselves time to get our bearings.
At other times we agreed in prayer that if God did not want us together that he would break us up. We had both been married and knew the depth of what we were entering into. We knew that it would take more than "love" to hold us together…we would need God, true Love, in the center to navigate the waters ahead.
In October of 2005 we felt confident that the Lord had brought us together and we married. We knew it would be difficult as the odds were stacked against us and we had an insurmountable task ahead of us putting two families of deeply hurt children together. Danni was 16, Jessi was 12 and Atlee was 7 at the time. Matt has two children, Mallorie 17 and Wesley 15; these were their ages when we were married.
Step parenting as many of you know is a tremendous challenge. There are so many elements that come into play that don’t exist in a first marriage family. I won’t take time to go into these now but I would like to express that it can also be very rewarding.
Something happed to our family through the time of Danni’s illness, we came together. While the circumstances were very bad God brought good to us and our children. It was a beautiful thing to watch as our children matured and saw what was really important in life. They were changed forever in a positive way.
Last week we took all our children to Florida for a vacation and God did an even deeper work of reconciliation in our family bringing us together. It has been three years since Matt and I were married and we have had enormous mountains and deep valleys to cross and I’m sure that we still have more to walk through but we have also experienced great joy and healing thanks to the Grace of God.
I want to encourage those of you today who may be walking in a second or third marriage with stepchildren that God can work in your circumstances if you surrender to him.
I also want to encourage those of you who may be toying with the idea of divorce to step back check your motives, go to God and ask him to show you the truth about yourself and take a second look into the faces of your children because they will be the ones left spinning in your wake. It is a very painful thing for all parties involved. I know why God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:13-16)
I also understand that there are times and circumstances that divorce cannot be avoided. I am in no way judging any situation I am in no position to do so but I know that when I turn to God he has always been there for me and if you turn to him he will be there for you too.
I think most times we have to suffer things in life to gain understanding of life. Hebrews 5:8 (NIV) says that, “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” This scripture is speaking of Jesus, why do we think that we will not have to endure suffering? Why are we so surprised when it comes to us?
Danni taught me to “trust God and never give up” her words exactly. I have suffered much in this life but every time God has taken my hand as he did for Danni and walked me through the valley only to come out in victory on the other side. He will continue to walk with me till the end of my journey, God is faithful!
Give your life to him today and he will be a rock in the deepest, darkest moments of life. Trouble in life is guaranteed at some point and time for all of us. Jesus is the way through those times if you want to come out on the other side a better person. I’m speaking from experience.
Father, I know you put this on my heart today for someone, speak to their hearts and I pray they would not harden their heart toward you. I ask that they would be able to surrender themselves to you wholly and that they would cling to you. Strengthen them in their time of need. Encourage their hearts today that you see their situation and you are close to them even if they cannot “feel” your presence.
I know your love, grace, mercy and compassion for them as I have experienced it myself. Pour out your kindness upon them; bring peace and release to their spirits. Thank you Father Amen.