The Scars of Life

 

Everyone has a scar.  Whether it be a scar from a childhood fall or an old battle wound, we all have them.  Some scars are more visible than others, whereas some scars are not.  Some scars are intentional to mark a rite of passage into manhood, to indicate which tribe a person is from, or worn as a badge of honor.  Some of the most painful scars of those that lie deep within a person’s soul that they don’t dare let out for fear of the pain it would cause.  Whatever the origin of the scar, there always lies a story.

After trekking 3,000+ miles from Alaska crossing Canada and the United States this past summer, my son had his good share of mosquito bites from all the campgrounds we visited.  Unfortunately, my son is the type of person who has allergic reactions to mosquito bites and as a result, there are welts and scars left behind.  Many times I had to remind him to stop picking at the bites because they would leave a scar.

He said, “I like my scars because they remind me of my stories.”  He was right.  We may not always like the stories behind the scars, but they make up who we are.

Do you have scars?  What story do your scars tell? 

I will never forget a woman I met on an airplane ride on the way to a friend’s wedding.  I sat next to her and her son–in which it was obvious they had both been in some type of accident that resulted in burns on their body.  At the time, I was a nurse in a trauma/burn center so I had an idea of what burn victims went through.  As the plane ride progressed I introduced myself to the woman that I was a nurse who worked with burn victims.  She immediately seemed relieved when I told her who I was.  I asked her, ‘do you mind telling me your story of what happened?’

Behind Every Scar Lies a Story.

Her story is unimaginable one that is a living nightmare.  Her family was driving home when a person under the influence of narcotics crossed the center line of the highway and hit the driver’s side to driver’s side head-on.  Her husband had been driving, she was in the passenger seat and their two sons were sitting in the back seat.  The vehicle burst into flames immediately upon impact.  Nearby witnesses rushed to the scene. Leslie and her son got themselves out of the vehicle.  No one could even go close to the vehicle because of the flames.  Leslie walked toward a Good Samaritan on the highway and asked, “please get my husband and my other son!”  The Good Samaritan saw Leslie wearing a cross necklace and said to her, “ma’am they are in a better place.”

In an instant, she lost her husband and her son.  Because of this man’s negligence, Leslie not only had to deal with multiple surgeries and heal from her burn wounds but also deal with the grief from the loss of her loved ones.  My heart broke for Leslie as she told me her story.  When we were about to exit the plane, I noticed Leslie had a little limp.  I asked her, “Do you want me to get a wheelchair for you?”  She said, “After all my hours of physical therapy, once I was able to get out of the wheelchair, I never had any intentions of getting back into it.  I don’t care how long it takes me to get somewhere, I will never return to that wheelchair again.”  Wow!  Her response amazed me.

Leslie’s story reminds me of the man who was paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus approached the man and asked ‘Do you want to get well?’  At first, the paralyzed man doesn’t answer yes or no, he responded that he had no one to help him get into the healing pool.

“Then Jesus said to him, “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked”  (John 5:5-8)

Why do you think Jesus told the paralyzed man to pick up his mat first and then walk?

The mat, in this man’s story, represents a place of dysfunction which allowed him to lay paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus tells the man to pick up his mat, so he couldn’t revisit his place of dysfunction again.  Jesus desired for the man to be fully healed not stay in a place of sickness.  It was probably hard for this man to live his new life as a healed walking man.  The only life this man knew for 38 years, was one of begging and lying paralyzed on his mat.   But then Jesus came and changed everything not only for this man but for us as well.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed”  Isaiah 53:5

Jesus desires for us to be healed wholeheartedly in Him–He was wounded for our transgressions.  Our scars tell our story.  When we hide behind our scars we omit God’s greater story.

How do you choose to present your scars?  In shame and disgrace?  Or to tell God’s story of restoration, healing, and grace?

Jesus came to heal the sick–he was bruised for our iniquities.

“When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17).  

There is healing found in the wounds of Jesus--by his stripes, we are healed. Click To Tweet

Our scars remind us of God’s story of what He is able to do in our lives.

Not every scar is visible.

Do you carry around deep scars that lie within afraid to reveal your story?

Leslie told me she was glad her scars were outwardly visible.  She said these scars were a reminder to others of the deep scars she had inside.  The scars she had outside were nothing compared to the pain of the scars she carried around inside.  I love how Leslie’s story progressed because she allowed for God’s love to progressively heal her.  It wasn’t a quick and easy process, it has been a long hard journey and continues to be hard some days.  If you can imagine she even came to the place of forgiveness to the man who took her family away from her.  Her willingness to forgive and trust in God’s plan allowed for her to stand on the path to wholehearted healing and never live in that place of brokenness again.

How do you carry your scars?  Do you allow for God’s greater story to be told?

Jesus has scars too.

The scars in life can be hard and painful.  Nobody knows our scars better than Jesus because he has scars too.  His scars tell the greatest story ever told–one of redemption, forgiveness, healing, love, restoration, and grace.  There is healing in the scars of Jesus.  He died for all of us–so we could be healed.  In verse 53 of Isaiah “by his stripes we are healed,” the Greek word healed is sózó which is translated saved, healed or rescue.  The origin of the word comes from safe or well.  Jesus came so we could be saved, healed and rescued from our iniquities and pain!

You are loved, my friend! I pray you seek Jesus for your wholehearted healing.  He has the power to heal, forgive and resurrect our circumstances into something greater!

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The reference from the Greek word sózó came from the website http://www.biblehub.com/greek/4982.htm.

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Hope for Our World

As I watch the news of the devastating flood in Houston and the missile strike threats from North Korea over the past couple of weeks, I am reminded of the depth of devastation that exists in this world.  I am saddened how thousands of people are displaced from their homes because of Hurricane Harvey and how North Korea’s dictator victimises the people who reside there.

Both situations are devastating.  As a nation, we can rise up to help Houston but are left helpless in how we can help free the victims in North Korea.  In North Korea, there is no freedom of speech, freedom of religion or freedom to live as a human being.  I was shocked as I watched the video of a young girl who escaped North Korea and told her horrific story at a One World Conference.  She painstakingly describes the life North Koreans live under an evil dictator’s rule.  People are executed for merely speaking an opinion or reading an unauthorized book.  They live in below poverty conditions, work in Nazi-like labor camps, and live in fear every day of what their evil dictator will do.  It is unimaginable that this treatment of people is allowed to take place in our current world.  We can only hope and pray for the freedom and safety of these people, that dictator Kim’s evil ways will be stopped and for the direction of our world to be headed back towards God.

The condition of our world reminds me of how the Israelite’s must have felt when they lived in exile under the Babylonian empire. Their nation had been through exile before for 400 years under the Egyptians and again under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. At the time, their situation seemed pretty hopeless. Their present circumstances seemed unlikely that God was going to fulfill His promise of restoration.

We serve a God who is bigger than our circumstances, who is bigger than what we can see.

In Ezekiel, God made a promise, “I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24)

At this time, the Israelites were living in captivity away from their country, under the rule of the very powerful king Nebuchadnezzar—who did not believe in their God. Then God intervened and showed the prophet, Ezekiel, a vision—a land full of dry bones.

God asks Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37: 3). Ezekiel then responds and says, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3).

God then directs Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones telling them to hear the word of God “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37:5). As Ezekiel was prophesying, the bones started to come together, skin and flesh covered them, breath entered them, they came to life, stood up and made an army (Ezekiel 37:7-10).

Even though Israel’s situation seemed hopeless, God was showing Ezekiel what He can do in a hopeless situation, even under the rule of a powerful king. God showed Ezekiel how He was able to resurrect and make alive a valley of dead dry bones by merely breathing life into them. God’s fulfillment of His promise of restoration wasn’t dependent on Israel’s current circumstances, but His divine power [1].

Oh, how thankful I am our future is not dependent on what our leaders do or don’t do but the faithfulness of our God.

God goes onto to remind us, “O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them” (Ezekiel 37:12-13).

In the eyes of Israel, there was no hope for restoration for their nation. We serve an Almighty God. God’s power goes way beyond a valley of dry bones. He is able to revive, renew, and restore even the most hopeless of circumstances. If God can deliver the Israelite’s from exile, He can deliver us as well [2]. If God can breathe life into dry bones, renew, restore and rise up the nation of Israel out of the grave—He can do the same for our world.

In our present-day situation, God is showing us we need to be dependent upon Him more than ever. We need to stay constant in prayer, praying for our leaders, our government, for the direction and well-being of our world, and these social injustices are stopped.

There is HOPE for our World

 

Even when the condition of our world seems hopeless, we can always find HOPE in God’s truth, promise, and power of HIS renewal and restoration.

Just like Israel, we will be a nation that rises again at The Word of God.

“Breathe, O Breath of God.” [3]

“They came to life and stood on their feet—a vast army.” (Ezekiel 37:10)

At The Word of God, dry bones came alive.

Great armies arose out of death and destruction.

God’s great power is mighty and infinite. Nothing is bigger or can defeat it.

“You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:28)Click To Tweet

By His powerful hand, He created us. God will restore us and bring us to the promised land [4].

How can we make a worldly difference?

Through our prayers. We can pray for Houston and North Korea.

Why should we pray for North Korea? 

'But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,' Matthew 5:44Click To Tweet

We can stop evil in its tracks when we pray.  God hears our prayers.  We need to pray for those who cannot speak for themselves.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.”  Proverbs 31:8 NLT

How can we pray for North Korea?

  • Pray for the safety, well-being, provision, and protection of North Korean under dictator Kim rule
  • Pray for their freedom, that they will no longer be victimised and set free from his reigning rule
  • Pray for dictator Kim that his evil ways will stop and no longer hurt people
  • Pray North Koreans will know God’s love, mercy, and grace and be able to live out their faith

Want to know more ways of how you can pray for North Korea? Click here.

How can we pray for Houston?

  • Pray for the safety and well-being for those affected by the flood
  • Pray flood victims will get the aid, food, and shelter they need
  • Pray for their healing and restoration for the rebuilding of their city and lives

Our prayers make a difference and will be heard. Keep praying for the well being of our world and stay present in God’s promises. We may not like present circumstances in our world, but we can pray for God’s divine power to intercede on the world’s behalf before it’s too late.

Labor Day is a day to celebrate our nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership.  Thank a military provider for his/her service to celebrate and honor our nation’s freedom–something some countries do not have.  Not all of us agree with our leaders all the time.  But we can be thankful that we live in a country where our leadership and military fight for our freedoms.  Thank you to everyone who has served to keep us safe and allow us to live a land where freedom exists.

Will you Pray for Houston and North Korea?

“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 Amen!

In Him,

Heather
1. Dyer, C. H. (1985). Ezekiel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1298). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
2. Chisholm, R. B. (1998). The Major Prophets. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman Concise Bible Commentary (p. 327). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
3. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/laurendaigle/comealivedrybones.html
4. Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed., p. 335). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.


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Where is Your Hometown?

I hope you enjoyed last week’s post Where do I fit in?  Do you ever feel like a stranger in your own skin?  Starting over in a new place can be exciting but also difficult.  I have to learn where the kid’s new school is, where the grocery store is, the vet, my work, the park, and anywhere else we need to go.  When I look around nothing is familiar and feel like a foreigner in a new land.

Starting over means meeting new people and asking simple questions like ‘Where are you from?’  Being in the military, these simple questions can be tricky to answer!  There is not a short and easy answer to give.  I was born and grew up on the east coast, moved to AZ for 10 years, then lived in Alaska now we live in Colorado.  So I guess I’m from the east coast and lived in AZ for most of my married life.

We all come from different walks of life.  Some of us grew up in the inner city and are used to taking the subway or bus for transportation.  Some of us grew up in neighborhoods and walked to school.  We knew all of our neighbors by name and even got together once in awhile.  Some of us grew up in the suburbs where the nearest neighbor was a half a mile away, but you could still call on them to borrow a cup or milk or an egg.  Whatever walk of life we come from, all of us come from somewhere that we can call our hometown.  There may be circumstances in life that don’t allow us to visit or go back to our hometowns, but we always know where our home is when God’s love resides in our hearts.

This is not our home.

Philippians 3:20 (NIV), “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”

Paul was reminding the Philippians in this verse as Christians, we are merely aliens living in this world, our citizenship is in heaven not here.  We live in the world but are not of the world.  He encourages them, even when there is trouble in this world, we are in union with the things of Christ, not of this world.

1 Chronicles 29:15 (NLT), “We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.”

As Christians, we can rejoice because the life we live here on earth is only but a moment compared to the eternal life we live in heaven.  Our lives will only be a trace of God’s creation once we go to heaven.  There are so many times I miss my family and friends.  I wish I lived in the same town as them and yearn to be closer to them.  I am reminded that wherever I live this is only my temporary home–heaven is my final destination.

1 Peter 2:11-12 (NLT), “Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.  Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”

In this new life and town we are living, God reminds me, it doesn’t matter where I reside, His love always brings me home.

In a world filled with hate and violence–God’s love brings us home.

In a world filled with destruction–God’s love brings us home.

In a world filled with devastation–God’s love brings us home.  

Home is where the heart is.

I don’t have to wait to live in my hometown to feel at home.  Wherever God’s love is present, I am always home.   Peter warns us in this verse to not give into the evil worldly desires but to rise up against them, so others will know our actions are from God.  Starting over in a new town can be hard, but I don’t feel like a stranger when God’s love resides in my heart.  His love turns a stranger into a friend.  He is the one who provides for my every need.

In this world, we will have troubles and struggles but stay faithful my friend, God is holding them in His hands.

Romans 12:12, 'Do not be overcome by evil, overcome evil with good.' Click To Tweet

Where is Your Hometown?  Do you struggle with not living in your Hometown?

 

Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own skin?  How or in what way?

 

God’s love and grace are transformational.  We become victorious when His word is alive and active in our lives!

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Where Do I Fit In?

As many of you know this summer our family embarked on a journey of traveling and new beginnings.  We trekked across Alaska, Canada, and many National Parks in our RV, until we arrived in our new home in Colorado.  Every place we move arises a lot of unknowns.  Where will we live?  Where will the kids go to school?  Which school is best for them?  Where will I work?  Who will be our friends?  What church will we attend?  What activities will we be involved in?  And mostly, will I fit in?

With each new move, I question will we have nice neighbors?  Will others be accepting of us?  Will I fit into this new life?  Do I really have to make a new life all over again?  Moving every 3-4 years in the military is just enough time to establish roots, which makes leaving so much harder.  I would never trade the amazing adventures our family has had traveling to our next assignment but would do anything to keep the friends and relationships we had, move with us.

As I get my footing in our new house, our new area we live, I can’t really just knock on someone’s door and ask ‘Will you be my friend?’  These things take time.  Moving really makes me lean and depend on God more for His provision of everything.  This new life reminds me of the parable of the new cloth and old garment.

Matthew 9:16  NKJV “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment;  for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.”

Luke 5:36 NKJV “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one;  otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.”

In this parable, Jesus is questioned about His actions regarding fasting.  Jesus is trying to explain the dangers of patching an old garment with a new patch of cloth.  That would be ridiculous to patch a new cloth on an old garment because when a person washes the old garment, the new patch of cloth would shrink and make the tear worse.  Jesus was challenging those questioning Him to understand, we don’t just cover up the old with the new.  He was offering a whole new meaning and message–we become new when our freedom, identity, and truth, comes from God Himself, not from following a bunch of rules.  Jesus was the new message, a fulfillment of God’s law.

Jesus was offering a whole ‘new cloth,’ one that didn’t cover up the old with the new.  In this new life I’m living I can’t try to fit my old life into my new one.  It would tear and not match up.  I can’t travel around with my life in a box and expect everything to match up wherever I go.  I have to be gentle with myself and allow for God’s timing and plan to fall into place, not my own agenda.  I am so thankful for Jesus’ message, I don’t have to try to fit in and be something I’m not.

When my freedom, identity, and truth are in Christ, I will Fit in wherever I go. Click To Tweet

FREEDOM

Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

IDENTITY

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

TRUTH

John 8:32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
 
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Maybe you’re a single mom trying to fit in a married couple world.  Or maybe you’re a part-time working mom trying to fit in the stay-at-home mom world.  Maybe you struggle with temptations or sins and don’t know how to walk away and believe it’s better to keep them hidden to fit in.  Maybe you struggle with an eating disorder trying to fit into the world that says you have to be skinny to be accepted.  Maybe you struggle with addictions and don’t know how to fit in a world filled with pain.  Maybe you have stronghold reigning in your life that doesn’t allow you to fit in at all.
Where do you find your F.I.T?
Do you struggle with where you FIT in?

 

If I waited to find my acceptance and approval in the world, I may never Fit in.  Starting over can be difficult but when my F.I.T is found in Jesus, I will always FIT in wherever I go!  I don’t have to worry or fear the unknown when my F.I.T is in Jesus.  He fulfills my greater purpose, I don’t have to be something I’m not.

God’s love and grace are transformational.  We become victorious when His word is alive and active in our lives!

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10 Thanksgiving Bible Verses

I love Thanksgiving time!  It is a time to gather with family, cook together, eat lots of food and celebrate what we are thankful for.  This year may be a tough season for many of us.  Some of us may have experienced job loss, an unexpected illness or have financial struggles.  The list is endless of what makes our seasons tough.

There is one thing we can always count on for sure, even in our rough seasons and that is God’s promises.  We may experience storms and struggles in life, but there is always something to be thankful for.  We may not want our circumstances or even like them, but God will use them for His glory and will produce the greatest blessings.

This Thanksgiving let’s give thanks to God not just for the good we are thankful for but for everything in between;  the good, the bad and the ugly.  When we do, we receive God’s greatest blessings when we are thankful in all circumstances (Thes. 5:18).   

Here are 10 Bible verse to Remind us of God’s Goodness-

1.  “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God” 2 Corinthians 4:15

2.  “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” 2 Corinthians 9:11

3.  “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds”  Psalm 9:1

4.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”  Philippians 4:6-7

5.  “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” Colossians 3:16-17

6.

7. “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever” 1 Chronicles 16:34

8.  “I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the LORD Most High”  Psalm 7:17

9.  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

10.  “In that day you will say: “Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted”  Isaiah 12:4

There is always something to be thankful for.  

What are you thankful for?

What Bible verses remind you of what you are thankful for?

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The Power of Prayer

Hello!  I pray that this prayer series is blessing you with the hope and encouragement you need.  It is true if you have faith the size of a mustard see you will move mountains (Matthew 17:20).  The power of prayer is not to be taken for granted.  Prayer allows God to intercede on your behalf.  It allows God’s divine intervention to make the impossible, possible and move the mountains you are facing.  

Have you ever had a prayer, you prayed over and over and thought is God really listening to me?   I sure have.  When our son died, we had so many people praying for God to heal him.  I thought there was no way that God wouldn’t answer our prayer with that many people praying for him.  Even though God didn’t answer our prayer the way we wanted him to, he indeed answered our prayer.  Our son is healed in Heaven.  He no longer suffers or is in pain.  God is taking care of him until the day we see him again in heaven.  

God is always listening.  He cares about your every need.  He desires for you to succeed and be filled with his abundant joy, love, peace and freedom.  

My hope and prayer is that God equips and prepares you with the tools you need to be able to make prayer most effective in your life.  You never know what impact your prayers will make unless you jump in and start praying!  

I have many resources on my Prayer Page that will help provide prayer resources, prayer tools, prayer journaling, prayer blogposts and periscope broadcasts.    

These are my favorite Prayer posts and periscopes:
​1.  Developing a Prayer Plan 
2.  How to Make a Prayer Journal
​3.  A Useful Prayer Tool
4. How to Fight the Right Fight With our Prayers

Life without prayer is a life without hope.

We are more than conquerers fighting an endless battle.  We are meant to leave behind a life that is defeated by our circumstances and live a life that is Victorious in Jesus!

Do you allow the power of prayer to intercede on your behalf?  What prayers do you pray that have the most impact on your life?

Prayer “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying……”  Ephesians 6:18 NIV

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I pray the God of hope will fill you with Peace as you Trust in Him!  Have a Blessed week!  I would love to hear from you!  Leave Comments Below.