Connected Quotes: Finding favor from God

A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn ( Proverbs 12: 2, NKJV)

for

He who earnestly seeks good finds favor,
But trouble will come to him who seeks evil (Proverbs 11: 27, NKJV)

therefore

Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God…(Proverbs 3:3-4)

and also, get wisdom

for

For whoever finds me(wisdom) finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 8:35)

Finally

Don’t forget, that

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22)

finding-a-good-thing-wife

Source; https://viva-naija.com/he-who-finds-a-wife/

 

Related article:

Scriptures on the favor of God: http://www.missionariesofprayer.org/2016/04/scriptures-on-the-favor-of-god/

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True Humility???

 

Like many Christians, I guess, I have had the question of what ”true humility” is on my mind for a while now. One interesting part of this question has been the fact that I have always taught to myself that the answer laid somewhere in the lines of Philippians 2 verses 5-8

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

But yet,

I was never sufficiently satisfied with the answer in its plain texts, that is

God

Lowering himself to the state of man (servant)

Dying the death of a cursed man (Gal 3:13)

The same text in January, 2018 however took on a deeper meaning to me;

It was not just the death of a cursed man but it was an unjust humiliation of a sinless Son of God, for an offence he did not commit but was willing to bear “silently” (Acts 8; 32) for the purpose of God.  Eureka!, I said to myself (or at least I feel more satisfied now).

True Humility is the willingness to endure unjust humiliation (without murmuring) for the sake of God (or His is purpose).

This is what I found. I will be glad to know what you have found.

Happy New year!!!

Acquiring Divine wisdom

In the book, The Extraordinary Gentleman: A Handbook for Christian Men , we discuss the interesting concept of the various stages of a man’s life. This article is intended to focus on one key ingredient that a man’s life must have at stage forty (not age forty); and that key ingredient is Wisdom. To give you a little background, the book discusses stage forty as the stage in a man’s life when a man would have demonstrated to himself, his ability to conquer. A man at stage forty will therefore be willing to take on bigger challenges and move from conquering goals he has set for himself to conquering goals set by society. Responsibility to society is therefore attracted to stage forty. The book therefore argues that, wisdom is an important ingredient at stage forty especially in selecting goals that are worthy of pursuit.

Wisdom, the book argues, is of three kinds, divine wisdom (Jas 3:17), human wisdom (1 Co 2:5) and devilish wisdom (Jas 3:15). Divine wisdom refers to knowledge of the will of God for the moment and the situation. Devilish wisdom is wisdom that opposes divine wisdom. Human wisdom is knowledge of the current state of human learning and experience considered appropriate for the moment and the situation.

Divine and devilish wisdom are independent of each other; however, every piece of human wisdom is influenced at any moment in time by either divine wisdom or devilish wisdom. Therefore, human wisdom can either be divinely or devilishly inspired.

According to the book, at forty, a man should have gathered adequate human learning (from stage twenty) and experience (from stage thirty) to make wise judgement in moments and situations. However, at every moment of decision making where there is a clash between human and divine wisdom, divine wisdom must prevail.

How then can a man acquire divine wisdom?

zz-confused-question-mark-man-thumb4364270

The first source is through the word of God. As the bible says, the entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:30, NKJV). Or in a more interpretive language, Your instructions are a doorway through which light shines. They give insight to the untrained (Psalm 119: 130, NET).  The bible also says, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (119: 105, KJV). Essentially, the word of God gives at its entrance, light that   indicates to a man, his current position (lamp unto my feet) in life or in a situation and what lies ahead of him (light unto my path). Additionally, the word has the ability to equip the naive or inexperienced man with insight into matters that he is confronted with.

To put it into more details, the bible says in Psalm 119 vrs 98-100, Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for I am always aware of them. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your rules. I am more discerning than those older than I, for I observe your precepts (NET). In essence, reading, meditating on and observing the word of God are key sources of divine wisdom.

The word of God is therefore able to equip you with the wisdom that is needed to excel as a man.

The Four Types of Friends; Confidants, Constituents, Comrades and Commanders.

People that come into our lives or people we choose to be part of our lives are chiefly of four kinds; Confidants, Constituents, Comrades and Commanders (the first three were proposed by Bishop TD Jakes).

 

Confidants are people who are around you because they are into you. They buy into you as a person and therefore are willing to be by your side whether you are up or down, in victory or defeated, right or wrong. They are however wise enough to tell you when you are wrong.

Constituents on the other hand, are those who are around you because they are for what you are for. They are people pursuing the same destination that you are pursuing, are going the same place you are going and are therefore travelling the same path you are travelling. They are only with you because you both have the same destination in mind.

Commanders on their part, are in your life because you have a resource that can take them to where they are going. They are not in your life because you are going where they are going but because you have a resource or skill that they consider important in helping them arrive at their destination.

Comrades, finally, are those who are around you because they are against what you are against. They are those who are around you because you share the same enemy. They are only with you to see the greater enemy fall. As T.D. Jakes describes it, they are like scaffolding that is put in place to put up a building. Once the building is done, the scaffolding is removed. Once the enemy is down the comrades leave.

holding on and letting go

Unlike Comrades, the Confidants as T.D Jakes puts it, are in for the long-haul. They are there to be with you, in essence, to the end of your life. They are not in your life to help with a particularly defined ‘mission’ but have come into your life because they have bought into you as a person. Constituents on the other hand are in your life because you are going where they are going and when they find somebody else or something else that promises to take them there faster than you, they will leave you for that person or something. Like Constituents, Commanders leave you when they find someone or something that promises to take them to their destination faster than you would. They may also leave you when they no longer need your resource or have found a resource of higher quality elsewhere. A key characteristic of Commanders is the loyalty they require and from you at the time they need your resource.

Wisdom, is to be able to categorize your friends or the people around into Confidants, Constituents, Comrades and Commanders, to love all of them as God has commanded us (Matt. 22:39) and to handle them as their categorizations demand.

Comrades are with you until the enemy is brought down, so be ready to let go of them in love when that time comes. Constituents will leave you when somebody or something better comes their way; no matter the time in your life that may be. Therefore, do not build your life plan around them. Commanders will demand your loyalty at the time they need you, your duty is check if they are entitled to it. If they are, be a faithful servant (1Peter 2:18). If they are not, give off your time and resource, only what you are willing to give them out of love. Confidants however, are in for you, so the only time they may leave you is when they cannot have sufficient supply of you or your friendship. Therefore, do not neglect your Confidants.

 

The Words, the Ways and the Works of God

In our last article, Becoming a Gardner of the Word, we delved into understanding a step by step process by which we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the word of God in our lives. However, in grooming our relationship with God as men who want to continually metamorphose into the Extraordinary Gentleman, we need to understand the operations of the Words, the Ways and the Works of God. These three poles of the knowledge of God improve our effectiveness and efficiency in having a fruitful relationship with God.

The Words – the words of God are the authority for his accomplishments; the embodiment of both His promise and His ability to accomplish. His words are His thoughts, statutes, commands and will concerning any particular situation. With a God who is omnipotent (Mr. 10:27), knowledge of His omnipotent word (Ps 119:96, whether written or revealed) concerning any situation is the potent license to request or command (depending on the situation) the existence of the appropriate circumstance.

The Ways – the ways of God are the patterns or methods for his accomplishments. Knowledge of his ways is what distinguishes leaders in a time and followers of that time. And that is why God made known his Ways unto Moses but his Works unto the children of Israel (Ps 103:7). When a man has knowledge of the ways of God he does not hesitate to take action in the will of God or haste to take action without knowing the will of God. He is confident for example, that all things work for his good even if they now do not look right at the moment. Apart from knowing the general ways of God with his children, it is also important that a man has adequate knowledge of God’s specific ways of dealing with him. Knowledge of the general ways of God with his children makes a man effective in his relationship with God but it is the knowledge of the unique way God deals with you that makes you efficient.

The Works – the works of God are the evidence of his accomplishments. They are the signals that indicate that the words of God have completed their journey through his Ways to produce glory to His name. God’s works appear in various forms; creation, miracles, signs and wonders. Matured Christians at their peak are satisfied by the Words of God but the immature or unbelieving are only sufficed by the sight of his Works. When Jesus operated in authority by driving the traders out of the temple, his disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me” and were satisfied but the Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” (John 2:17 – 18, RSV)

In summary, a fruitful relationship with God demands knowledge of Him. Knowledge of God seasons our response to his love. Knowledge of God however exists within the sphere of three major poles, the knowledge of His Words, His Ways and His Works. These we shall call the three poles of the knowledge of God. The Words of God work through his Ways to produce his Works. The end of all these is to bring glory to God.

Becoming a Gardener of the Word

It is quite obvious that it has been a couple of weeks since our last post on this blog. I will like to apologize greatly to all our followers for all inconveniences caused, we are greatly sorry.

However, today, I will like us to discuss one topic that is of great importance to building the spiritual mindset if an Extraordinary Gentleman, i.e. the Word of God. Developing the spiritual mindset of an Extraordinary Gentleman involves consciously nurturing the mindset through reading and meditation on the word of God written in the bible or as revealed by His Spirit. And therefore our title “Becoming a Gardner of the Word”. The word gardener is chosen to present the painstaking care and love the seed of the word of God needs to be nurtured with so as to ensure maximum fruitfulness. In this post I will like us to discuss a few steps that can be employed to nature the word of God.

1. Clear the weeds: Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness …(Jas 1:21a, RSV): firstly, like every good gardner, prepare the land of your heart and mind for the word of God . This can be achieved by clearing weeds of sin or weights that easily besets you and can limit the growth of the word of God in you. as Jesus said, when the seed of the word is sown among thorns, the seed is choked and becomes unfruitful (Matt 4: 18-19)..A good and complete session of self-reflection is an important starting point in clearing these weeds out of your heart and mind.

2. Cultivate the land and receive the seed:…and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls (Jas 1:21b, RSV): a meek heart and a humble mind is like a tilled land; it is loose and well aerated and permits germination and taking of roots, a good condition for the growth of seeds. cultivate your land by adopting the heart and mind of Jesus Christ towards the word of God. Jesus was meek at heart (Matt 11: 29) and humble in the mind (Php 2:5-8). Recognize the word of God’s ability to save you and accept the entirety of the word presented to you, not doubting, but ready to obey it to the later. When you obey the you will be saved.Gardner of the word

3. Apply fertilizer: …but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it (Heb, 4:2, NKJV): after the word has been received on a cultivated soil and has germinated, there is a need to supply the word with nutrients needed for growth and for bearing of fruits. The fertilizer for the word is faith and the active ingredients of the faith fertilizer is works. For without works faith is dead (Jas 2:17) and becomes ineffectual for the complete growth and bearing of fruits of the word.

The bible says, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror: for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (Jas 1:23-24, NKJV). When we are concious to what the word says and accept it with a willing and working faith, we do not forget what the word said about us and to us. Working with what the word says about us and to us is , taking step as revealed by the word of God and the witness of His spirit in us, is what leads to the growth and fruiting of the word in us. Know this, that you can only do these by the help of God (Heb, 13: 20-21, Php 2: 13) .

4. Undertake good husbandry practices to promote and preserve fruiting: You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain… (Joh 15:16) to promote successful fruiting and maintenance of the fruits, there is the need to undertake good husbandry practices. To do this, the bible advises, “…add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pe 5: 1-8, NKJV).

5. Persevere to harvest the fruit of righteousness: Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness (or peaceful fruit of righteousness) for those trained by it(Heb 12:11, NET). The painstaking process and activities needed in the “gardening” of the word of God is not always joyous but when the word is fruitful in us we become fruitful. At maturity, though there usually is a time of waiting, we harvest holiness and happiness in all aspects of our lives.

God bless you and do not forget to leave your comments below.

The Will of God: A Portrait of David

Today I will like us to continue our discussions on the will of God with an illustration from the bible. Unlike many of our articles that have scripture references scattered in explanatory texts, this article will be the other way round. We will have short explanatory references and questions scattered in scripture text to stimulate thinking about the will of God. This is to help us understand the working of the will of God with an illustration from the life of David. Enjoy the reading!
2 Samuel 5: 17 – 25 (Net Bible)

When the Philistines heard that David had been designated king over Israel, they all went up to search for David. When David heard about it, he went down to the fortress. 5:18 Now the Philistines had arrived and spread out in the valley of Rephaim. 5:19 So David asked the Lord, “Should I march up against the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” (How do we react when the line of action in a situation seems obvious, do we ask the will of God or choose our own mode of action?) The Lord said to David, “March up, for I will indeed hand the Philistines over to you.” (Though the Lord might give us obvious answers sometimes, other times his answer might just be the opposite)


5:20 So David marched against Baal Perazim and defeated them there (Do we act on the will of God with confidence in him?). Then he said, “The Lord has burst out against my enemies like water bursts out.” So he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.(Do we remember to give the glory to God for the victories?) 5:21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men picked them up.

5:22 The Philistines again came up and spread out in the valley of Rephaim. 5:23 So David asked the Lord what he should do (When the situation seems familiar do we still ask the will of God?). This time the Lord said to him, “Don’t march straight up. Instead, circle around behind them and come against them opposite the trees (God might just have a different ACTION PLAN!). 5:24 When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, act decisively (And a different TIMING for the action plan to unfold). For at that moment the Lord is going before you to strike down the army of the Philistines.” 5:25 David did just as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines from Gibeon all the way to Gezer (When we act because God is acting, our victory is extensive and resounding).

I hope the Holy Spirit inspired you to receive in-depth understanding of our case study illustration. Remember to leave your comments, we cherish them a lot and do not forget,

The will of God in every situation consists mainly of three parts, the declared will (what), the action plan (how, who, where) and the timing (when).

How to fight with your wife: like a Christian

One thing that has always “scared” me has been the fact that someday, as a man, I might have to experience a not so beautiful part of the one I love as a wife and will be faced with the inevitable choice of speaking or acting, what do I do?

I must confess that I tried to write this article once but I got stuck on the way, however, ideas form Dan Benson’s book “The Total Man” has helped, so I modified and adapted the title of that chapter of his book since I had not decided the title of the article by then.

Going back to the point I was making in the first paragraph, I don’t know if you share the dilemma or have experienced it already? But what do you do in such a situation. As an Extraordinary Gentleman, the only way you are permitted to do anything is by employing the most excellent way. Even when it has to do with fighting (arguing, no blows allowed!) with your wife, you have to fight excellently. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I could believe in a marriage without disagreements and without anything that will cause me to wonder “why under the heavens did I marry this woman!”, but I hear it is inevitable. Like a friend of mine who got married 9 months ago told me,(and I am paraphrasing) it is not easy to live together with a woman when the two of you grew up under totally different conditions, sometimes even the way she eats can be irritating.

I believe that the following guides might help in pursuing and excellent path towards conflict resolutions. But first,

Prepare for the fights,

image source: diefoto.com

I don’t mean the boxing gloves or a sharp cutlass, not even looking forward for a fight but know that it will come and therefore weaken its effect by:
1. Recognizing that some days she will forget her “Makeup”: all of us have a “weight” or “sin” that easily beset us and though we might work every day to reduce or eliminate it, patience and time are investments that must be made. You are not perfect either and that is one reason why you must expect to be offended especially by the one you are likely to spend the most of your private time with.
2. Talking everything out: don’t try to tolerate or wait to see if she will change on her own, maybe she does not even know she is hurting you. Tell her everything as plain as possible but say it in love (speaking the truth in love Eph. 4:15) and gentleness, the aim is not to tell her how wrong she is but how better the marriage will be when the fault is minimized or eliminated. As much as possible don’t store up any issue otherwise, it will blow up nastily one day. However, be sensitive to the time and manner in which you raise the issue for discussion, at least, never discuss it in public even in form of a joke. When the fight becomes inevitable, make the fight safe by
3. Making rules for the fights: not the type of rules that determines who wins the fight, but rather the kind of rules that make sure that no one wins the fight. The only one ever permitted to win a fight between a married couple is the two of them, after all the two shall become one. Examples of rules could include, attacking the problem, not the person, no calling of names (especially in public or before the kids), No accusations (you always…, you never…) and of course no blows!.
4. Discussing the results of the fight: find a short period to cool off after every fight, then issues raised during the fight must be discussed most preferably the same day, for do not let the sun go down while you are still angry ( Eph 4:26). Do not assume you already understand what each other said while you were arguing, clarify what each other meant and make resolutions on how to avoid a fight on the same issue.
5. Forgiving each other: forgiveness is a true healer, and the man should be the first to ask for forgiveness, even if the fight was only 1% your fault. After all, you are the head and the leader of the family team and so you must take the initiative. You must also share all that the other said that hurt you so that she can freely ask for forgiveness. And don’t for forget to forget. Don’t raise what you have forgiven as an issue in another fight. Forgive each other just as in Christ God has also forgave you (Eph 4:32)
6. Celebrating your victory over divorce: celebrate each amicable resolution, even if it is with a hug, for the lack of a resolution is the source of dissolution (divorce). Conflict resolution after a fight is an important part of life especially if it has to do with the one you are going to spend the rest of your life with, celebrate the resolution and renew you love towards each other.

image source: queenoffree.net

May God grant us the strength to make our marriages a wonderful representation of the love of Christ to the world.

I love your comments and don’t forget to leave the one on your mind, questions are most welcome.

Reference

Benson D. (1977) “The Total Man”. Tyndale house publishers INC, Wheaton, Illinois.

The Neighbour Principle

“You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour. Who, then, in law, is my neighbour? The answer seems to be persons who are so closely and directly affected by my act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question.”

This statement by Lord Atkin in the seminal case Donoghue v Stephenson (1932), lays an important foundation for our discussion today of the all-important question involving “neighbours”.

Image source: nakedpastor.com

In a fast-passed world where the “breath” of time is constantly in shortage, there is a common tendency of many of us to disregard or better still, give close to no contemplation to consequences that our little actions have on people around us. The world is constantly moving to a point where the only important person is “me” and all things are right as long as “I derive maximum satisfaction”. This selfish mindset seems to be guiding many personal, family and business decisions. No one seems to care about the unknown person that will be affected by our little selfish and self-aggrandising acts. It is like this, our judgement of what is moral seems to increasingly be self-centred, not God or neighbour centred. This I believe is just not “Christian”. Since it is largely the norm to make selfish decisions in the little things we do, it is not surprising that outstanding business and political decisions are made selfishly with only the one company, country, political party or decision maker as the only consideration, this also is not “Christian”.

Since it has become conventional or ordinary to make self-centred decisions, I want to propose the Extraordinary way. Next time you are considering a word or an act (e.g. like a good answer to a “stupid” question or the appropriate dress for a party or church), consider what emotional, psychological, physical or spiritual consequences it will have on anyone close enough to be affected and make all appropriate adjustments. For as the bible says,

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Ga 5:14).

For
Love works no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Ro 13:10).
God bless you and have a wonderful day.

Reference
http://www.lawteacher.net/tort-law/essays/neighbour-principle.php

Self-Reflection, the Pivot of Transformation

No man is born perfect and no circumstance remains the same. These are paramount reasons why change is constant. However, no change is necessary unless its effects are important in transforming existing situations. To become and Extraordinary Gentlemen, personal transformation is necessary and self-reflection is the pivot of personal transformation. Today I love to share with you a few thoughts of self-reflection.

Perfect yourself daily, both personally and professionally, until
you become a consummate being, rounding off your gifts and reaching eminence
by Balthazar Gracian

Image source: tristanlewis.com

There exist various periods in the life of a man that he comes to a realization of his current inadequacy in dealing with particular situations. Such a situation usually arises from changes in relation to people around him, institutions or even changes in the man himself. However, as we have many times discussed, no matter the particular situation the man is facing, his circumstance falls into one or more of the three fields of manhood; Ministry (purpose), Marriage and Money (career and finances).

The various inadequacies that a man identifies in his life influence the way he deals people (men, women and children), institutions (society) and invisible forces (divine and devilish) that exists in the three fields of his life. For example a man can discover that his anger problem has become a limitation to his ability to interact with his family, co-workers or even disciples over long period of time without a heated confrontation or two. This problem with anger becomes an inadequacy that affects his effectiveness and efficiency in life and therefore calls for personal transformation. A man who therefore desires to be an Extraordinary Gentleman must be ready to undergo continuous sessions of change or transformation that can be exciting, challenging, boring or painful, but rewarding. As the bible says… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us…(Hebrews 12:1).

An important process in effecting a personal transformation is self-reflection. We will consider Self-reflection to involve a calm, usually lengthy, conscious consideration of one’s personality or issues that relate directly or indirectly with to him as a person. As Proverbs 14 vrs 8 puts it, the wisdom of the wise is to give thought to his ways. A man must therefore give thought to his ways, considering what has happened, what is happening, what will happen, what should have been happening and what should happen (what he has to do). This process involves identifying, analyzing and making decisions or resolutions on issues in our personal life. A successful pursuit of our resolution is what is important in transforming us into Extraordinary Gentlemen.

I will like to share with you some characteristics and a simple way to do a self-reflection. I hope it helps you in your own process of self- reflection and most importantly, I hope and pray that you pursue without delay every single resolution or decision you make

image source: salesprogress.com

CHARACTERISTICS
Self-reflection must be:
Conscious – it must be a choice and a controlled process, not a time for your mind to wonder around
Truthful- be blatantly honest with yourself, don’t make excuses for yourself (after all, no one is listening
Biblical – all conclusions must have scriptural or spiritual basis
Written – major self-reflection sessions must end up with a written resolution
Implementable – simple, understandable, measurable resolutions.
Prayerful- pray in the beginning (I am usually guilty of this), confess sins and pray for strength to overcome during the process and be thankful in the end.

THE PROCESS

1. Consider your vision for life: (create one if you do not have, and make sure it carries elements of what you want to be in relation to your Marriage, Ministry and Money)
E.g. I want to be a great dad, wonderful husband, outstanding salesman, incredibly spirit-led usher and a loving philanthropist by 2020 onwards. (And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it” Habakkuk 2:2)

2. Consider your actions in the day or period under review if they align or contradict your vision

3. Tell yourself the truth; humbly congratulate yourself and celebrate victories, but regret and repent from failures, (remember to confess failures that are also sin and ask for strength and will to overcome)

4. Write out failures and corresponding resolutions, especially during major self-reflection moments (remember Habakkuk 2:2 above)

5. Pray for the strength and the will to accomplish your resolution (I usually write my prayer under the resolutions).

6. Go out and bring forth fruits that befitting of your repentance (Matt. 3:8, Luke 3:8)

I hope the Lord Almighty blesses your life through this and give you deeper and relevant understanding. God bless you and remember I cherish your comments and contributions.