Details of Jesus’s Death and Burial Prophesied About Hundreds of Years Before- John Chapter 19

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah prophesied about the suffering of Jesus over 700 years before Jesus came. These verses are from Isaiah 53.

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Jesus was crucified. He was nailed to a cross and hung on the cross until he died. It was a brutal death that would normally take a few days. Jesus could have stopped it, but he allowed it to happen out of his love for us.

 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate, who had his doubts about crucifying Jesus, had a sign put on the cross as perhaps a jab at the Jewish leaders.

 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.  Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 

The Jewish leaders wanted it changed. But Pilate would have none of that.

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Even a small detail about the death of Jesus was prophesied about hundreds of years before he came in Psalm 22.

All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

. The soldiers at the cross cast lots for his garment.

 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

The soldiers came the break to legs of Jesus and the two criminals crucified beside him. They broke the legs of the two criminals, but when they came to Jesus, he had already died, so they pierced his side to let the blood flow out.

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 

This fulfilled Zechariah 12:10 also written hundreds of years before Jesus came.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son”

Even the burial of Jesus was prophesied about in Isaiah 53.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Jesus’s body would have been thrown into a common grave with the two criminals. but Joseph of Arimathea intervened and got a new tomb for Jesus.

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 

We see just from these verses that the death and burial of Jesus was in God’s plan all along. It was not some surprise and God had to quickly come up with Plan B through the resurrection. It was intentional on Jesus’s part to come and die for us.

Think about how much God loves you that he had this plan, The fact that details surrounding the death and burial of Jesus were prophesied about hundreds of years before he came is a faith builder.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Tortured, Rejected, and Sentenced- John Chapter 19

Isaiah 53:7&8- He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth
;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?

Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus came. The Jews were looking for the promised Messiah, the king who would sit on David’s throne. Isaiah 53 speaks of the suffering servant. In these verses we see references to Jesus being tortured and eventually killed.

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Pilate’s wife sent him a message we see in Matthew 27

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Perhaps this was on Pilate’s mind as he tried to deal with the situation. The Romans were superstitious people and yet viewed the Jews as being backward and difficult. In an attempt to diffuse the situation Pilate had Jesus flogged.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

They flogged, whipped, Jesus with a cat of nine tails which was a whip with nine leather straps with sharp pieces of rock etc at the end. The soldiers mocked him. The robe they put on him would have stuck on because of the blood from his back. The crown of thorns caused Jesus to bleed from his scalp.

Pilate had Jesus brought out and said:

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 

But the reaction of the chief priests and their officials was:

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate replied

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The chief priests answer?

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

This freaked Pilate out which is not surprising due to the Romans beliefs in many gods.

“Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus finally replied

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

Pilate tried to set Jesus free but the religious leaders persisted in a peculiar way.

 “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.

Interesting because the Jew despised the Romans and wanted them out of Israel. They had no love for Caesar or the Romans. Pilate presented Jesus to them saying here is your king. The religious leaders who despised Caesar and the Romans answered.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Pilate gave in and consented to have Jesus crucified.

Think about what Jesus endured. Think about how he suffered. Then think about the truth that he went through all of that, the farce of a trial, the torture, the rejection, because he loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Who Will We Choose?- John Chapter 18

Last week we looked at Pilate questioning Jesus in What Is Truth? Today we look at Jesus willingly undergoing humiliation that happened through two events, his mock trial and the people choosing Barabbas.

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After his arrest, Jesus was taken to the High Priest. The irony of Jesus being God in the flesh standing before the High Priest who was supposed to lead the people to worshipping God, you know as in Father, Son, Holy Spirt, does not escape me.

Annas was the father of Caiaphas who took over as High Priest from Annas. When Jesus was asked about his teaching and his disciples, his answer was basically that he had nothing to hide..

Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”

The response? Jesus was slapped in the face. A side note- imagine being the person who slapped Jesus in the face only to appear before Jesus on his throne. False religion demands respect from us without earning it.

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

Jesus did not back down even though he knew what was going to happen.

 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

Later on after Pilate questioned Jesus, Pilate tried to find a way out of the whole thing by offering the people a chance of who to free, Jesus or Barabbas a rebel.

“I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?”

The choice of the crowd that was there?

They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Isaiah prophesied about this over 700 years before Jesus came in Isaiah 53.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Jesus willingly allowed himself to be humiliated and rejected publicly because he knew it was part of his mission which was to suffer and die for us. He did so because he loves us that much.

The question is who do we choose? Who do you choose? Jesus? or something else?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What Is Truth? John Chapter 18

In our times of confusion the question Pilate asked Jesus in John 18 is so fitting. We are living in a time that ‘truth’ seems to depend on who shouts the loudest and who controls which media channel one watches. Depending on the issue, it seems that truth is not as important as opinion. Who do we look to in midst of all this confusion?

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When Pilate questioned Jesus, he first asked

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied with a question

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

Pilate wanting nothing to do with the situation responded.

 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

Jesus replied in his typical way of not answering the question he is asked but rather revealing the truth he knows.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Pilate thinking he was getting somewhere made the statement

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus switches the subject again to reveal more about himself

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Pilate’s reaction is what we all feel during our time

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate.

Standing in front of Pilate was Jesus the creator of the universe, the eternal Son of God. Standing in front of Pilate was Jesus who said in John 14

 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”

There are issues in our time that we may never know the full truth about in this life, but there is someone we can look to in the midst of confusion who is the truth-Jesus.

Jesus never changes in his character as we read in Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Jesus who suffered under Pilate did so willingly because of his love for us. Jesus chose to suffer and die for us. He could have stopped it but didn’t. That is how much Jesus values and loves us. In the midst of confusion, start by looking to Jesus. He loves us. He never lies. He always guides us. We can trust him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Peter’s Failure/Our Failures Are Why Jesus Came- John Chapter 18

Last week’s post in the study from John was Jesus Healed Someone Even While Being Arrested. Peter cut off a man’s ear and then Jesus healed the man. Peter was impulsive at times. He had a tendency to say the wrong things at times. Jesus had told Peter that Peter would deny him three times.

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Peter cutting off the man’s ear and denying Jesus the third time tie together in John 18.

Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”

He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”  Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Jesus would go on to forgive and restore Peter in front of the others after Jesus’s resurrection.

Peter’s failure and subsequent restoration underscore why Jesus came. Jesus came as a human baby to grow to be a man to become our Savior. Jesus came for us even though we fail, sin, have faults etc.

Jesus chose Peter knowing all of Peter’s faults. Jesus chose Peter knowing Peter would deny him. Jesus knew something else. Jesus knew the whole picture. He knew Peter would regret denying Jesus. He knew he would restore Peter.

Jesus knows our faults. He chooses to love us and chose to die for us to save us knowing we would mess up even after coming to know him as our Savior. But Jesus also knows the whole picture. He knows how he will work in our lives to help us grow. He knows one day we will be in heaven with him and sin no more.

Jesus came to be our Savior knowing our faults because he loves us. Remember that the next time you mess up. We all mess up. But Jesus loves us and walks alongside us knowing our faults because he loves us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Arrested- John Chapter 18

It may seem odd to write about the arrest. torture, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus at Christmas time, but if Jesus did not die for us and defeat death for us, then Christmas would have no meaning. Jesus knew his mission all along as I shared in Jesus Knew His Mission All Along. We also saw in John 17 that Jesus said. “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you”

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The reason he was born as a human baby was to become our Savior. During his arrest Jesus demonstrated his power thus underscoring that it was an intentional mission on his part.

A detachment of soldiers came to arrest him. A detachment would have been at least 400 armed men. Judas the betrayer led them to the garden.

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

The next verse if we ponder the full impact of it should drive home the depth of Jesus’s love.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

Jesus knew he would be beaten, tortured, and crucified and yet he went out to them. He went out to them to endure all of it to become our Savior.

After they told them that they were looking for him, Jesus replied with three simple words and yet with that simple statement he knocked them all down on their rearends.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

Jesus displayed his power to show they had no power over him. He allowed it all to happen. He could have stopped it.

So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let’s remember the reason Jesus was born as a human baby. Let’s look to the purpose of his birth to become our Savior and remember what it cost him.

When you think about how Jesus only permitted it to happen because of his love for us and could have stopped it yet did not, how does that make you feel?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Prayed for Our Protection and Growth- John Chapter 17

Last week we began to look at Jesus Praying Before He Was Arrested. Jesus began his prayer, with his disciples around him, by stating the Hour Has Come. I wrote about the meaning of that in Jesus Knew His Mission All Along

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In the section we look at today from John 17, Jesus prays for the disciples, which we can learn from also. In his prayer, Jesus talks about one of the main reasons he came- to show us God the Father.

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.

That is a theme thread throughout John that began in John chapter 1:18

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Jesus came to show us who God is and what he is like, so we could be brought into relationship with God.In this prayer in John 17, Jesus is praying for his disciples not the world.

 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

The reasons Jesus prays for them are for protection and their growth.

Jesus knew he was about to depart this world. Yes, he defeated death through his resurrection, but he also ascended to heaven. Jesus knew they would be persecuted and that Satan hated them because of his hatred for Jesus.

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 

For our growth as Christians he prayed:

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

For all who know Jesus, Jesus sees us as being in the world, but not of the world. He sees us as living in this life full of problems, struggles, sin, but not being of his life. Because of Jesus, like Jesus we are not of this world.

Once we come to know Jesus, he begins the process of helping us to grow in him. It is a lifelong adventure. Yes, part of that is to leave our sins behind and live differently. Other aspects include becoming more like Jesus in how we not only live our lives, but how we treat others.

I like the saying that Jesus loves us so much that he accepts us the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

When I think about myself, it amazes me of how Jesus has changed me and my life. If you had told someone who knew when I was a teen or in my twenties that I would become a teacher and have a ministry for refugees and immigrants, they would have laughed in disbelief. Jesus can change lives to become reflections of him.

Reflect on the wonderful truth that Jesus came to show us God and what he is like. Reflect on how Jesus protects us and helps us to experience growth and change. His love for us is all encompassing.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus’s Prayer Before He Was Arrested- John Chapter 17

In John chapter 17, the focus now turns from Jesus preparing the disciples for his impending death and resurrection to praying the night he was arrested.

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John 17 begins with a fact that shouldn’t be overlooked.

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed

Jesus began to pray as soon as he told the disciples in John 16- take heart for I have overcome the world, so as Jesus prayed, they were there to hear his prayer. By hearing his prayer, they knew what was on his heart. When people are dying is a time they express what is most on their heart and Jesus was no different. He wanted them to hear his pray and it is recorded here for us to take note.

Jesus’s prayer begins with him acknowledging what the plan was all along

Father, the hour has come

The crucifixion of Jesus was the plan all along. It was intentional on the part of Jesus and God the Father. It was the mission of Jesus to die for our sins, so we could be forgiven and receive relationship with God.

Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 

.Jesus had emptied himself as we read in Philippians 2:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Jesus received his glory back after his resurrection. We see this is directly what Jesus was referring to in John 17:5

And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

In his prayer Jesus refers to the glory he has brought to God the Father. What is that glory?

For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

The glory brought to God the Father is all of those who come to believe in Jesus. The glory brought to God the Father are the countless souls throughout history who have received eternal life through Jesus.

That means broken people with broken lives coming into relationship with God glorifies God the Father and Jesus. His grace, mercy and forgiveness are offered freely to anyone who will trust in Jesus alone.

God wants you, wants us, to belong to him in a father child relationship. That brings glory to God. Did you know the our salvation is a cause of wonderment among the angels?

Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care,  trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Did you see the last part of this passage from 1st Peter Chapter 1?

Even the angels long to look into these things

Angels are not referred to as children of God. Only us broken fallen humans can be children of God. The angels long to understand this and glory God because of it.

How wonderful it is to receive that which we do not deserve nor can we earn it. A child of God because God adopts those who come to Jesus, God forgives those who come to Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When We Face Difficulties, We Need to Remember The Promises- John Chapter 16

John 16 is a continuation of what Jesus letting the disciples know what is coming. It is a combination of a heads up warning and a promise of a blessing.

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Jesus lets them know why he is giving them a heads up warning in John 16:1

All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.

If we only make promises of a wonderful life because of trusting Jesus, when hard times come people might lose heart. While it is true there will be a wonderful life, it may not happen until we enter eternity in heaven. Jesus wanted the disciples and us to know that people will oppose and persecute us because of him, so when it happens, we will not be weakened in our faith.

They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

The disciples were put out of synagogues and most of them were martyred for sharing the news about Jesus. Throughout history, Christians have been put in jail and killed for their faith. It still happens today in our ‘modern’ world. In some countries Christians are killed by those who think they are doing God’s will. In some places Christians are killed or put in jail by people who think it is the right thing to do. In the western world, governments are increasingly infringing on our religious freedom.

Why didn’t Jesus tell them about it when they first signed on to follow him?

I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you

Because he was with them.

Now for the blessing part of Jesus’s discourse. The promise of the Holy Spirit.

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

The Holy Spirit is our advocate as is Jesus. The plan all along was for Jesus to die for us, defeat death through his resurrection, and ascend to heaven. Then he would send the Holy Spirit. Think about how all of that unfolded in real time. It all happened in a little over 40 days.

For all who believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is given when we believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our future eternal blessing.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Spirit teaches us as Jesus said.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 

The Holy Spirit will always work to glorify Jesus.

He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 

So how this balances out is in this life we may have problems. We might be persecuted in various ways. BUT we have the Holy Spirit to counsel us, teach us, guide us, and is our guarantee of our future eternal blessing.

The question for us is whether we view all of what God has in store for us as being worth far more than the temporary difficulties in this life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Cost of Following Jesus-John Chapter 15

You know those people on television who promise things like your best life now? The books written about how God wants us to have it all? They run counter to things Jesus said.

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In John 15, after telling the disciples he calls them friend and after talking about love for one another, Jesus gives a reality check.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

That is quite the contrast to what Jesus was talking about right before regarding love one another. Now the word hate is being used. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. That sounds ominous.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. 

If I had been there, I would have thought-wait a minute Jesus you were just talking about love one another and how we are your friends and now this?

Being identified with Jesus does involve risk. In some places in the world, it can mean death or imprisonment. In the Western World it could mean loss of friendships and opportunities.

When Jesus talked about pick up our cross in Luke 14:27-

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

He was talking about how we may lose out on things or people in this life because of him.

In John 15 Jesus again brings up the Holy Spirit but note why

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses for Jesus, to go out and share the gospel and show the love of Jesus. We do so even though we will face rejection and at times opposition. We do so out of love for others knowing they are in eternal peril if they do not have Jesus.

This dear reader the reality check from Jesus. The good news is that he is with us no matter what happens.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.