Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Another Glimpse at the Heart Behind Making His Name Glorious

Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, 
and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, 
and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." 
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 
"I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways,
 according to the fruit of his deeds."

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:5-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I angrily snapped at my husband for questioning my motives. I’d had a day of seeking wisdom from the Lord and others, and eventually attempting to reach out to someone who was hurting, both of which I recognize as being "good" things to do. I mentioned in my text to the woman that I had a fair amount of flexibility in my schedule, as I am down to one child at home, and have time for ministry and for studying for counseling certification. 

I thought nothing of those statements - just thought I was stating some facts. But at his questioning, I had to admit a sense of  “needing” to explain to a woman employed outside of the home that I was not the “Roseanne” stereotype, staying home and watching (or living) soap operas, meddling in other’s business, or otherwise wasting my life away. 

Upon further contemplation, I realized that while my (revealed) intent had not been to draw attention to myself, I had mistakenly done so.  That said, I knew that my first step must be to confess sin - newly revealed - to God, who already knows. His Word clearly reminds me that my heart is and will be deceitful. 

Keep your heart with all vigilance,for from it flow the springs of life. 
Proverbs 4:23

My heart is both redeemed and being redeemed. And, the Only One worthy of glory is, always has been, and always will be God. I can hardly wait for the day when I no longer wear this flesh but am completely restored to be who He always intended for me to be - pure, blameless, walking in constant fellowship with him in a manner that is “naked and unashamed” with nothing to hide (as if that was possible),  and with nothing to confess. But until then, I am and will forever remain grateful for my husband and my close friends, who lovingly speak Truth to me, encouraging me along the way. 

And I am sure of thisthat he who began a good work in you will bring it tocompletion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:6

God ... saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works 
but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 
and which has now been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel ... But I am not ashamed, for I know Whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
2 Timothy 1:9, 10, 12

Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: 
“Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, 
for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, 
and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. 
In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.
“But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? 
For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, 
and there is no abiding. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided
 for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own.
 I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. 
In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, 
and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.

1 Chronicles 29:10-17

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A Glimpse at the Heart Behind Making His Name Glorious

"Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, 'How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name" (Psalm 66:1-4).

Early this morning I received a glimpse of what it means to make the name of another "glorious," and it happened in a most unusual way. Barely out of bed, I shuffled into the living room and viewed the messes which had been left in our living room when we left town this weekend. Books, shoes, laundry... all cluttering the room and shouting to me to buckle down and clean it up! Laundry... "We STILL have office laundry?!" I exclaimed to my husband. "This HAS to go to work with you!" He nodded, also recognizing that it had waited about a week for our teenage son who had busied himself with school and sports, and subsequently found himself ill. I reckoned that he wouldn't get to it. "I'll start folding it. We can at least send SOME of it today." My husband joined me, and together we delved into a mound of sheets and hospital gowns. As I watched him, I noted that he was considerably faster than me at folding the gowns. "So you don't tuck the sleeves in together?" I asked. "No," he responded. "In the long run, NO ONE is going to comment on whether the pile of folded laundry LOOKS good... only that it's done."

I still hadn't had coffee - my morning necessity for alertness - but I commented about the fact that we do things "differently." Not that there's a "right" or "wrong" for doing the job... And I mentioned how we loaded the dishwasher "differently." Probably best not to go too far with that one! I'm ridiculously fussy about how it's loaded, and in my mind there is either a "logical" or a "not-so-logical" way to do it! So I  bit my tongue and said nothing else.

But then it occurred to me, "Doesn't it make sense to want an element of professionalism in EVERYTHING you do?" Not much more was discussed as we hurried through finishing the job and getting him out the door.

I later reflected on the laundry pile, and wondered WHY it mattered to me? Who really cared whether or not the gowns looked nice, whether folded or unfolded? Well, I'm my husband's wife, and I CARE! I wanted to make HIM look good because I love him and I know in my heart that he IS a notch above your average physician. He's pretty AWESOME! And then came my 'Aha!' moment. If, as my husband's bride, I felt so certain that I should do my best as a reflection on his glory, how much more, as the Bride of Christ, should I be focused on making HIS Name Glorious?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

It's Good to Remember...

November 17, 2015
Every now and then I wonder at my lack of journaling. It seems that “life” keeps happening and I can hardly catch my breath! But then I remember – like today – the importance of looking back at the marvelous things the Lord has done. And it occurs to me that even if I journal about the tough things going on, I frequently look back at those times and give thanks to the Lord that they are distant memories. He has done great things!

Today I re-learned something I “knew”… but I really needed to “know” it on a much deeper level. Yesterday, I had turned off phones and refused communication with some family members because I was worn out and didn’t trust my judgment – wasn’t sure I could extend much wisdom in such a state. This morning, I knew I needed to make phone calls, but as I looked at the day, I saw many “to do’s” and wasn’t sure where those phone calls fit in. I really wanted to be still and pray, read the Word, meditate, and read the chapter from the book that would be discussed by my small group this morning. All were very good things to do! But I had this strong sense that I really needed to make those phone calls. Feeling conflicted, I said, “Lord, what is it that you want me to do?” My unrest and inability to focus on anything but the impending conversations gave me a pretty clear answer. So I prayed. I thanked God for His orchestration of all events, for His obvious love and care for my family, for His Presence in my life… At that moment, I was reminded that I KNEW Him! Did I need His counsel and His Word? Yes! But could He give me all I needed in my time of need?... This was the place where I had to “throw in the towel” and confess that I relied on myself too much. He really DOES help me to remember things at the right time. And He really IS enough.

I made those phone calls, with the comfort of His Presence at every turn. Admittedly, I had moments of behaving like Peter, when he stepped out of the boat to join Jesus in walking on the water. I felt myself thinking about the situation too much and not trusting my Savior. But I felt His hand pulling me out of the waves… teaching me to rise above and not drown. By the time all of the conversations were over, I was a tad bit late for my small group meeting. But I had the sweetness of joy and rest that comes when I surrender and trust Jesus in the day-to-day grind.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

“Not Good Enough” – Part Two

     I got my youngest through finals, picked up another from college, and survived yet another sinus infection. Being able to be still and write is healing to the soul (like chewing on "soul food"!)...

     I have always loved a good story, and I have recognized that in order for a story to be worthy of captivating an audience’s attention, it MUST have conflict. Disney has had a handle on this for many years. Cinderella’s parents never intended for their precious daughter to be a cinder wench. And once she had ‘earned’ such a dubious title, it seemed impossible that she could one day be a princess. Snow White was certainly the “fairest of them all,” but an evil queen would work her spell, tempting this fair maiden with a lovely apple that would put her in a deep sleep. Would her prince ever find and awaken her? Rapunzel was born a princess, but stolen from the safety of her crib by an evil fairy. How would she ever escape the tower of doom?
     Our own story is no different. A lush and pristine Garden of Eden… Two sinless people walking daily with God… All is well--for a short time, anyway. Enter the serpent. Enter sin. All people born of Adam’s seed would be born into a world now polluted with the nasty stuff. And they would not know, as Adam and Eve had known, the intimate fellowship with their Maker. I have to wonder if we truly understand the depth of the separation. The only thing that comes to mind yet hardly touches the surface is a story from my own marriage. My husband was in the military, and during this one particular season, he was deployed, and was difficult to reach for over four months (Yes, I’m aware I had it “easy” compared to many!).  But I had enjoyed his presence in our home for a number of years, and we had three young children. He had always taken care of many things, such as finances, and now I was left to do it all by myself. And it was lonely. I missed my best friend. I felt incomplete. And at this stage of life, I can honestly say that I feel the same when I get too busy to spend time with the Lord.
     But I’m jumping ahead of myself! Let’s look again at this “Jesus” who was turning the Roman world upside down with new ideas. One crystal clear statement of belief in Jesus Christ as God comes from Martha, after the death of her brother. Most seem to remember her as Mary’s complaining sister (Luke 10:38-41)! But in this instance, after articulating her understanding that her brother Lazarus will “rise again in the resurrection on the last day,” and being informed that “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25, 26), her response is remarkably straightforward. “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (verse 27). Later, as Jesus proceeds to have the stone moved from the cave which contains Nicodemus’ corpse, the same sister, Martha, informed him of what a stink there would be with a body that had been laid to rest for four days! His gentle reminder, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (verse 40) was soon followed by his command to Lazarus to come out of the tomb. Imagine actually being present in that moment! Her mustard seed-sized faith had to have grown immensely that day! Two sisters, in an age and culture that necessitated a man to provide daily bread, were in dire need of a miracle… not to mention the pain of having just lost a loved brother. Filthy linen strips pulled off of his once dead body, the dead man was now freed to go.
         And now Jesus would have to start “laying low” pretty soon. This resurrecting miracle, which drew many more to believe, also sent some Jews fussing to the Pharisees about what he had done – as if this most certainly GOOD thing was something terrible! But now the Pharisees feared his power, and they also stated a great fear of the Romans, who would not be happy with a new king (verses 45-48), fearing they would “come and take away both our place and our nation.” Because of this, “… from that day on they made plans to put him to death” (verse 53).
              I have to wonder at those who “believed” in Jesus at that time. They continued to seek him, hoping to find him in the temple as they came to Jerusalem for Passover (John 11:55-56). And on that day that we remember as Palm Sunday, they met him with cries of “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel” (John 12:13).  However, a few verses later the truth of the matter unfolds… “The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign” (verse 18, referring to Lazarus’ resurrection). In a world where sickness prevails, it seems reasonable to seek the One who can bring a cure... But only five days later, many of these same “believers” would unite in shouting, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him” (John 19:15).  The miracle man who had loved the unlovable and had healed so many from illnesses, even bringing a dead man back to life, now hung between two robbers who joined the crowds in mocking him (Matthew 27:38-40). Meanwhile, blood gushed from “thousands of rams” while “ten thousands of rivers of oil” rushed upon the land as Passover sacrifices were made. The little “lamb” who had begun his journey on earth in a stable would end it on a cross. “It is finished” were his final words.
     Paul Harvey, an American radio broadcaster who died a few years ago, is best remembered for his line, “And now you know the rest of the story.”  Logic would argue that Jesus’ story was most assuredly over. If he truly was the Son of God, would he not have avoided all of the excruciating pains which instead he quietly accepted?
     Isaiah, a prophet of the Old Testament, who lived more than 700 years before Christ, wrote the following (Isaiah 53:8-9):

  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut of out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

     The reason for his death—“stricken for the transgression of my people”—sticks to my gut with bitterness. Who are his people? Why such a brutal death? Furthermore, is the likeness of this “prophesy” to the actual death of Christ a mere coincidence? Former atheist, Josh McDowell (The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict) cites a scientific study of probabilities, which states that the odds of one man fulfilling just eight prophesies is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. That said, I can hardly imagine the number of zeros which would follow for the odds of the 61 major prophesies that were fulfilled in Christ, not to mention the nearly 300 “minor” prophesies which were also fulfilled.
     Returning to some events which followed Jesus’ crucifixion… He was buried in the tomb of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea (John 19:38-41). His frightened disciples mournfully hid, probably fearing by association they would also make their graves with him. A huge stone sealed his tomb, which was also guarded by soldiers sent by Pilate to keep any more stories of “that imposter” from arising (Matthew 27:62-66).
     Problem is, those stories have been arising for more than 2,000 years since that day. Mary Magdalene, a most unlikely witness, who had once been a demoniac (Luke 8), was first to gaze upon an empty tomb. Peter, a disciple of extremes, who had exercised faith and walked on water with Jesus (Matthew 14:29), had been severely rebuked for his outspokenness against Jesus’ predictions of his death and resurrection (Matthew 16:21-23), and finally, just as Jesus himself had prophesied, had, not once, but three times denied having even known him (John 18). And stories of his resurrection continued to mount. Paul, who penned at least thirteen of the books which we still find in the New Testament, announced it this way in 1 Corinthians 15:3-10a:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.

     Was Paul delirious? How about all of the rest? And we still haven’t touched upon the reason for Jesus’ death or at the meaning of “his grace toward me.” Oh, how I LOVE to tell the story! And I will certainly be back with more, because it’s just getting “good,” and it’s going to get even better!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Not Good Enough (Part One)

***It became absolutely necessary for this to be more than one post! The next one COULD come over the
weekend, but I make no guarantees! I have many responsibilities, such as taking care of my family, which
MUST remain high on my "To DO" list! I welcome any comments at the end of this post. Enjoy!

My life, like that of any “normal” person, has been marred by a number of shortcomings. In elementary school, though I certainly tried hard and cared about grades, my report card would never quite contain straight A’s. My handwriting was “not good enough.” A few years later, in junior high (middle school), I would valiantly audition for an early entry into the choir. Again, I didn’t make the cut; I was “not good enough.” Cheerleading tryouts would dash my hopes of ever being popular with the “in” crowd, as I was informed that I was a runner-up, just in case someone quit the team (Does that EVER happen?)…  Fast forward to high school cheerleading tryouts and a more vocal auditions, seared by the emotional drama of hearing  “not good enough.” You would think, after a while, I would just try something different!

So that I don’t leave you thinking, “Poor thing! Sounds like all she ever did was fail!” I must say that there were also a few successes, but, as Solomon, the writer of Proverbs stated, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth…” (Pro 27:3). So I’ll leave it here and state up front that there have been many other such doleful occasions over the course of life thus far, but those of childhood often give rise to the more turbulent emotions!
I would be remiss if I did not recall THE reason I began considering these past failures! I was doing laundry and tidying messes after enjoying a houseful of family and friends this past weekend, and, while promptly hanging shirts as they were removed from the dryer (so they would not wrinkle), I considered a past incident, which, until now, had never caused me to blush. I had been married for about 12-13 years, and was in what I recall being the most insane years of motherhood, with my older three children all under the age of six. My husband, after years of completing his education, was entering a world of professionals. And, as such, he was determined to look the part. Unlike me, he seemed to need a little help with the aging process, and even wore glasses just so that he would appear to be older! And then, there was the dressier attire. Since we were still “living on love” and not quite earning an income, it seemed best to cut corners and do all laundering of dress clothes at home. Liquid starch was purchased, and between taking care of children and cleaning their many messes, I made my first attempt at soaking his laundered dress shirts in starchy water and then ironing them. I think it might have taken me the entire day to get about 4-5 shirts done! But it was all worth it when in waltzed my sweet husband, with a bouquet of flowers in his hand, his eyes quickly averting to the beautifully starched and ironed shirts, admiration written all over his handsome face…
 Nope. The REAL story is that at some point he managed to scrutinize my onerous achievement. And, being the one who has wondered why my foot didn’t ACTUALLY fit into my great big mouth, I promptly informed him that he could iron his own shirts (There was an adjective in the original sentence, but I’m NOT going to include it!). Many years later, I would be asked to list on a survey my least favorite household chore. I’ll bet you can guess my answer! “IRONING! I’d rather clean toilets!”
So, why do I share all of these things? Well, in my previous post (see “Justice,  Kindness, Humility…”) I reflected on a verse found in Micah 6:8. And as I completed that blog, I sensed that I would likely come back to it. But this time I will also include verses 6 and 7.
          With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
            Throughout every culture and every era of history, stories abound of man attempting to make things “right” so that his guilt is somehow assuaged. In this verse, my mind ambles to thoughts of Jewish high priests slaughtering lamb after lamb at the celebration of Passover. A bloody mess it was, with what likely exceeded 250,000 lambs slaughtered annually (from The War of the Jews by the historian Josephus).
Then there’s Micah's phrase “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression…?” and my mind even abandons Jewish culture and recalls learning of the rituals of others around the world, such as the Aztecs of my own hemisphere, who are sadly remembered for sacrificing many of their own people, seemingly for the hope of appeasing their “gods.”
However, since I AM approaching this from a Judeo-Christian mindset—I may as well be up front—I return to the Jewish Passover, with the high priests, who slaughtered so many animals for the sake of covering the sins of their own nation. This was akin putting new paint on a dilapidated automobile, attempting to keep it up regularly, lest the rusty rottenness beneath “shine forth in all its glory,” making it dump-worthy. Or, since I am speaking of vehicles, I love my pastor’s story about cloaking the garbage in the back of his pickup truck with a towel so that he could place his wife’s luggage there and not offend her with all the filthiness beneath.
“He has told you, O man, what is good…” Well, just what DID God tell man? Perhaps it makes sense to turn the pages all the way back to Genesis 2, after all things had been created as God spoke words, filling empty spaces with life, and stating that those things he had created were “good.” God instructed Adam clearly, leaving him access to EVERY tree EXCEPT the one from which he and Eve ate fruit in Genesis 3 (Gee whiz, Adam… Thanks a bunch!). Still in chapter 2, in the midst of the creating, came a first “not good” in verse 18, where he stated, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” And at the end of the day in which Eve had been formed from Adam’s rib, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).  So how do YOU suppose that Eve brought good to Adam? I mean, was she not the one entertaining a slimy serpent and taking its advice? I think that most will agree, after a closer reading of the first few chapters of Genesis, that Adam was the one given the original command. And, to lay things more heavily upon him, he was right there, in chapter 3 verse 6, when Eve took of the fruit and shared with “her husband who was with her, and he ate.” The blame game and all that follows, I leave to your leisurely reading!
But moving forward quite a bit in history, I consider John 1:1-4.
          In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
                   Well, maybe THIS can shed some light on the subject, since, like the book of Genesis, it speaks of “the beginning.” If I continue in John 1, it becomes clear that this “Word” refers to Jesus Christ. Now here’s a way for me to make some friends! I mean, everyone loves Jesus, right?  If you have followed history, both past and present, you know the answer! Things looked no different when Jesus’ feet walked upon the earth. For instance, when a guy named Nathanael first heard of Jesus (verse 46), he asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” He would, like some others, later exclaim, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (verse 49).
                   Things were just picking up. Once Jesus had clearly stated his identity (God) and had referred to himself as the “good shepherd” (John 10), people were GOOD and ready to get rid of him! They understood him to be a blasphemer. No person in his right mind would claim, “I speak of what I have seen with my Father” (John 8:38), after stating that truth will set them free (8:32), which he later clarified (14:6), “Oh, by the way, I AM the truth!” (my paraphrase). After his listeners got lost in a conversation about being Abraham’s offspring, he stated that “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”  (verse 36) and later, “before Abraham was, I am” (verse 58). They made a poor attempt to stone him right then and there, understanding “I AM” to be a title reserved ONLY for God, for as educated men they all understood Scripture references such as Exodus 3:14, where Moses asks who he should say sent him to the people of Israel, and God tells him, “I AM WHO I AM … Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.”
                    Take a glance back at the last post and Micah 6:8. Those good things required of man begin with “do justice,” or actively doing what is right or just in God’s eyes (a reminder that nothing escapes his notice). Did you ever wonder what HE thinks about whatever it is that you happen to be doing? I mean, doesn’t it seem that if I’m generally seen as a thoughtful, generous, kind (fill in other good adjectives here!) person, I’ve accomplished God’s will?
                    Trust me – I recognize that I am diving into some deep water here!  But do YOU think it was good for a bunch of guys to get so angry with Jesus (back to John 8:59) that the sound of his words alone would cause rocks to start flying? If you enjoy freedom of speech, surely YOU wouldn’t want to be stoned just because someone disagreed with what you said! But there’s far more to this story, and many of you know exactly where this is going.  Blind men had received sight, dead men, such as Lazarus, had been raised, and Jesus continued speaking. When he stated in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one,” the Jews now determined he was a blasphemer, making himself equal with God (verse 33). Jesus wisely came back with a quote they could not deny as being from the very word they held as truth, saying, “Is it not written in your Law, I said you are gods?”(from Psalm 82:6).
                    You know… if I try to grasp hold of the intense emotions of the moment, I can imagine that they were absolutely furious! This guy had been making a fool of them, and they were NOT happy with the way that this untrained man from Nazareth kept recalling the words of Scripture, which THEY had studied for their entire lives! And I have to think that when he said, “… even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father” (verse 38), they MUST have wondered at this! I mean, WHO could argue with one who only did GOOD things, such as heal and send tormenting demons fleeing? By the way, many DID believe in Jesus at this point, but if I am honest with myself, I fully relate to the kinds of things that can occur when pride has been injured. I, for one, can behave pretty foolishly!
     ***TO BE CONTINUED!***