“The enemy will always attack you in your weakest area. The beauty of this is that you know his strategy.”~TB
The devil’s job is to get you off task, off focus, and offline so that you reject the truth and do his bidding. As such, his sneaky underhanded tactics are visceral, jarring, and strategic. He will use any deceptive practice that is the most effective in getting you to stumble. Now, this may seem discouraging. Your weaknesses and footholds will always be where he’ll hit you the hardest. It’s not his job to make your walk with Christ easy, in fact, it’s the total opposite. While you may experience attacks, setbacks, and discouragement, the devil’s unfair play makes it easy to recognize his strategy. Further, if the devil is messing with you so intensely, know it’s because you’re disrupting his plans for discord and destruction. He’ll never go after the lukewarm, so stand firm in Christ and keep moving.
Knowing how the opposition will attack you is like having his playbook to prepare against his moves. Take stock of your weaknesses, vices, and footholds. Knowing your greatest areas of opportunity is the first step in discerning how the opposition is going to attack you. When you experience opposition of any kind, take a step back, calm your feelings, and observe what is going on around you. Remember who made you and that He is available to help you always. Ask God for help in revealing the playing field and the best plan of action to rise above the opposition’s nonsense. Know that the evil one cannot take your salvation and standing with Christ. The best plan of attack is to acknowledge your weak points, ask God for help, and do the work in improving your walk with Christ. Remember, in times of trouble, double down in your faith and not your own understanding. Though you may stumble, God will not let you fall.
Are you using the playbook or are you falling prey to the oppositions dirty tactics?
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1These are more proverbs of Solomon, collected by the advisers of King Hezekiah of Judah.
2It is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them.
3No one can comprehend the height of heaven, the depth of the earth, or all that goes on in the king’s mind!
4Remove the impurities from silver, and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith.
5Remove the wicked from the king’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice.
6Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great.
7It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table than to be sent away in public disgrace. Just because you’ve seen something,
8don’t be in a hurry to go to court. For what will you do in the end if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?
9When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret.
10Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation.
11Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
12To one who listens, valid criticism is like a gold earring or other gold jewelry.
13Trustworthy messengers refresh like snow in summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.
14A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.
15Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.
16Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!
17Don’t visit your neighbors too often, or you will wear out your welcome.
18Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.
19Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.
20Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound.
21If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat. If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
22You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the LORD will reward you.
23As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger!
24It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.
25Good news from far away is like cold water to the thirsty.
26If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
27It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.
28A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.
“Don’t be alarmed when rocky moments occur in your walk with Christ. It’s not the opposition’s job to make it comfortable.”~TB
God’s workers are in the direct line of fire, standing against the plans of the opposition. For that reason, expect to receive different types of attacks. The devil is no dummy as he focuses his energy on trying to disrupt those who are doing the Lord’s work. His attacks are strategic in that he will hit you in your weakest area. By the sheer nature of your holy employment, expect distractions, disruptions, and derailment. Even though you may experience this level of spiritual warfare, do not forget who to go to when you are weary and could use some assistance.
If the ‘on the job’ injuries become more than you can handle, tap into your holy insurance policy which you can find in the Word. Biblical reading shows you the various battles that God’s faithful people endured. It also shows you how to stand firm and fight these battles. Friends, we are in precarious times and the battlefield is in the mind. We are no longer fighting with bloodshed, but with mindset. Use God’s word and His resources to help reinforce your mindset. When you know that the devil is fighting a losing battle it’s easier to see the playing field for what it truly is.
Are you using your holy insurance to combat the evil one’s attacks?
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1Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.
2A wise servant will rule over the master’s disgraceful son and will share the inheritance of the master’s children.
3Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the LORD tests the heart.
4Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.
5Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished.
6Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children.
7Eloquent words are not fitting for a fool; even less are lies fitting for a ruler.
8A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper!
9Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.
10A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.
11Evil people are eager for rebellion, but they will be severely punished.
12It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.
13If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your house.
14Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.
15Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— both are detestable to the LORD .
16It is senseless to pay to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.
17A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.
18It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend.
19Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster.
20The crooked heart will not prosper; the lying tongue tumbles into trouble.
21It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for the father of a rebel.
22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.
23The wicked take secret bribes to pervert the course of justice.
24Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
25Foolish children bring grief to their father and bitterness to the one who gave them birth.
26It is wrong to punish the godly for being good or to flog leaders for being honest.
27A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.
28Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
“Rejoice in the fact that we get to serve a loving and merciful God.”~TB
A “have to” mindset is where you look at life’s tasks with a tedious and duty-bound attitude. In your mind, things just happen to you and you simply react. This lens makes the viewer see things in such a twisted light, it’s no wonder why people struggle to build a relationship with God! Spending time with God is not a chore nor an obligation. Friends, no one is holding a gun to your head. If something in your life sucks, change it. If you cannot see the joy in choosing to follow Christ, check your mindset, or quit pretending. No joy can come from a forced relationship. If you don’t want to know God, then don’t. Just stop pretending like you’re doing Him a favor with your bogus actions.
When you understand all that our Father in Heaven has done, is doing, and will do in your life, you can’t help but have a change in perspective. You’re “have to” mindset shifts into a “get to” viewpoint because you know the price that was paid for you. What once seemed like a chain weighing you down is now a joyous and love-filled activity. Know that God loves you and seeks to have a restorative and everlasting relationship with you. His love is unfailing and unyielding, so be glad you get to experience it. Take the time to cultivate an honest and personal relationship. His wisdom brings joy, peace, and contentment. How wonderful it is to get to know Him!
Are you leading a “get to” or “have to” kind of life?
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1Listen as Wisdom calls out! Hear as understanding raises her voice!
2On the hilltop along the road, she takes her stand at the crossroads.
3By the gates at the entrance to the town, on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
4“I call to you, to all of you! I raise my voice to all people.
5You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.
6Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. Everything I say is right,
7for I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.
8My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge.
10Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.
12“I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.
13All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.
14Common sense and success belong to me. Insight and strength are mine.
15Because of me, kings reign, and rulers make just decrees.
16Rulers lead with my help, and nobles make righteous judgments.
17“I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
18I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver!
20I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice.
21Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
22“The LORD formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.
23I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began.
24I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
25Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—
26before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.
27I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
28I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth.
29I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
30I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.
31And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!
32“And so, my children, listen to me, for all who follow my ways are joyful.
33Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.
34Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home!
35For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD .
36But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death.”
“We become trapped into our own laziness of lying, cheating, stealing, and wasting time because we hate doing what is right in the sight of God.”~Jon Barnes
Many of us want to tiptoe through our problems and fears by saying we hate reading, working with people, doing something new, following directions, cleaning, exercising, eating right, and the list goes on and on and on.Verbalizing our excuses only helps us to mask and hide our solutions to execute better habits and behaviors.We refuse to change into what God wants for us.Stop following the crowd!
Tap into your help by listening to God and humbling yourself.When God blesses us, we tend to get prideful, nonresponsive, and lazy, as if we have arrived to enter into the “Gates of Heaven”.Then, our pride turns into spiritual gangrene that sets in to stop us from walking into our destiny.Being unprepared, lazy, and not finishing our jobs are clear signs of disorganization, neglect, dirtiness, and overweight attitudes of prideful time mismanagement, which leads to an obese lifestyle of overindulging.
Stay on top of your game by staying honest to your mission, working through your little problems, and mastering the lifestyle God wants you to live.The closer you get to God’s standards, the more disciplined you become, full of love, patience, and kindness, with clear clean words, work, and faith.
Did you go to the gym with God this morning or are you trapped under your pride and laziness?
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For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord.
1 Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.[a] They have no fear of God at all. 2 In their blind conceit, they cannot see how wicked they really are. 3 Everything they say is crooked and deceitful. They refuse to act wisely or do good. 4 They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots. Their actions are never good. They make no attempt to turn from evil.
5 Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. 6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. 7 How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. 8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. 9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you; give justice to those with honest hearts. 11 Don’t let the proud trample me or the wicked push me around. 12 Look! Those who do evil have fallen! They are thrown down, never to rise again.
“It is never easy to hear about death, murder, overdose, abuse, ignorance, mayhem and evil that befalls many people.” Jon Barnes
Why are we still dealing with not implementing and using the good solutions doing the right things for ourselves and families?It is a challenge just to follow the rules and regulations to make things fair for everyone. I get it.However, it is easy to follow simple steps of organized kindness, educated movements, and musical movements in the direction of hope and justice.
There is no reason to fake who you are, so just be good and do the easy steps of improving your life with God.The reality of positive change comes quickly and the fruit of your love is explosive.It may seem like evil is winning the battle, but that is just not the case.Death is the conclusion of all evil and wicked people will meet their maker soon enough.God has an easy solution about justice in His Own Time, soon for all of us.
Notice the route and path of wicked people and go in the opposite direction to follow God.That is the only alternative.Bless God for giving us a mind to do good, prepare, and work out our faith in Him.It is refreshing to hear and see the results of the good work and stories I read about people all around the world.Be thankful for the ease of how God operates and cares for us all.Count our challenges as all joy, with a smile of thanksgiving.
Is it that easy for you to become negative, mad, and out of control, as you always assume the worst in your situations and challenges?
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2 Kings 25
25 So on January 15,[a] during the ninth year of Zedekiah’s reign, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon led his entire army against Jerusalem. They surrounded the city and built siege ramps against its walls.2 Jerusalem was kept under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah’s reign.
3 By July 18 in the eleventh year of Zedekiah’s reign,[b] the famine in the city had become very severe, and the last of the food was entirely gone.4 Then a section of the city wall was broken down. Since the city was surrounded by the Babylonians,[c] the soldiers waited for nightfall and escaped[d] through the gate between the two walls behind the king’s garden. Then they headed toward the Jordan Valley.[e]
5 But the Babylonian[f] troops chased the king and overtook him on the plains of Jericho, for his men had all deserted him and scattered.6 They captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah, where they pronounced judgment upon Zedekiah.7 They made Zedekiah watch as they slaughtered his sons. Then they gouged out Zedekiah’s eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon.
The Temple Destroyed
8 On August 14 of that year,[g] which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem.9 He burned down the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings[h] in the city.10 Then he supervised the entire Babylonian army as they tore down the walls of Jerusalem on every side.11 Then Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took as exiles the rest of the people who remained in the city, the defectors who had declared their allegiance to the king of Babylon, and the rest of the population.12 But the captain of the guard allowed some of the poorest people to stay behind to care for the vineyards and fields.
13 The Babylonians broke up the bronze pillars in front of the Lord’s Temple, the bronze water carts, and the great bronze basin called the Sea, and they carried all the bronze away to Babylon.14 They also took all the ash buckets, shovels, lamp snuffers, ladles, and all the other bronze articles used for making sacrifices at the Temple.15 The captain of the guard also took the incense burners and basins, and all the other articles made of pure gold or silver.
16 The weight of the bronze from the two pillars, the Sea, and the water carts was too great to be measured. These things had been made for the Lord’s Temple in the days of Solomon.17 Each of the pillars was 27 feet[i] tall. The bronze capital on top of each pillar was 7 1⁄2 feet[j]high and was decorated with a network of bronze pomegranates all the way around.
18 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took with him as prisoners Seraiah the high priest, Zephaniah the priest of the second rank, and the three chief gatekeepers.19 And from among the people still hiding in the city, he took an officer who had been in charge of the Judean army; five of the king’s personal advisers; the army commander’s chief secretary, who was in charge of recruitment; and sixty other citizens.20 Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, took them all to the king of Babylon at Riblah.21 And there at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them all put to death. So the people of Judah were sent into exile from their land.
Gedaliah Governs in Judah
22 Then King Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam and grandson of Shaphan as governor over the people he had left in Judah.23 When all the army commanders and their men learned that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah as governor, they went to see him at Mizpah. These included Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, Jezaniah[k] son of the Maacathite, and all their men.
24 Gedaliah vowed to them that the Babylonian officials meant them no harm. “Don’t be afraid of them. Live in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and all will go well for you,” he promised.
25 But in midautumn of that year,[l] Ishmael son of Nethaniah and grandson of Elishama, who was a member of the royal family, went to Mizpah with ten men and killed Gedaliah. He also killed all the Judeans and Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah.
26 Then all the people of Judah, from the least to the greatest, as well as the army commanders, fled in panic to Egypt, for they were afraid of what the Babylonians would do to them.
Hope for Israel’s Royal Line
27 In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne. He was kind to[m] Jehoiachin and released him[n] from prison on April 2 of that year.[o]28 He spoke kindly to Jehoiachin and gave him a higher place than all the other exiled kings in Babylon.29 He supplied Jehoiachin with new clothes to replace his prison garb and allowed him to dine in the king’s presence for the rest of his life.30 So the king gave him a regular food allowance as long as he lived.
“Forward thinking, living, and loving good works come with the price tag of past experience, knowledge, and belief that God created all things to support us and our seeds; and we were planted to multiply and be harvested at an appointed time.” ~ Jon Barnes
God’s love story about us is a source of light that quickly flickers and expands within a small amount of time, compared to eternity. Our present experience with Him is a compass that points right or left into your soul’s new destiny of infinity. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light of the direction of Heaven and the opposite choice is obviously Hell. You are playing and paying for your choices right now, based on your knowledge of God’s History and Actions of faith in His Love. Do all the good you can do to follow God and not mankind.
God answers our sincere questions about life, love, and purpose as we actively pursue and discover His ways, lessons and lifestyle. The past is used as a measurement of success and not a dagger to create a mess of misunderstanding, confusion, and anger. Properly use History in the right context to spread hope, love, and healing. Nothing is hidden from God and all time and ages ticks like a clock before His Eyes, like the Present.
Evil is a rat, spinning and running in a cage to nowhere, doing the opposite of what God has designed for mankind. Wickedness is like a Google search to kill, steal, and destroy your mind. Being stuck in the past, living in the same mistake of mass destruction, does not allow time for you to learn, give, and take God’s loving instructions. Stop beating people up with their past mistakes and point to God’s Grace with Future Now Mentality. Jesus paid the price for your future outlook on God and paved the way for you and me to move out of hell into Heaven.
Can you perceive time as being still to understand God’s test and drill or will you keep moving like a dumb rat, not knowing who you are or where you are at?
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Jesus Sentenced to Death
19 Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip.2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him.3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.
4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.”5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever.9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters[a] again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer.10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’[b] Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”
13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha).14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people,[c] “Look, here is your king!”
15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.
So they took Jesus away.17 Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha).18 There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.19 And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth,[d] the King of the Jews.”20 The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it.
21 Then the leading priests objected and said to Pilate, “Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”
22 Pilate replied, “No, what I have written, I have written.”
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.24 So they said, “Rather than tearing it apart, let’s throw dice[e] for it.” This fulfilled the Scripture that says, “They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.”[f] So that is what they did.
25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
The Death of Jesus
28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”[g]29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips.30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down.32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus.33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs.34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.[h])36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[i]37 and “They will look on the one they pierced.”[j]
The Burial of Jesus
38 Afterward Joseph of Arimathea, who had been a secret disciple of Jesus (because he feared the Jewish leaders), asked Pilate for permission to take down Jesus’ body. When Pilate gave permission, Joseph came and took the body away.39 With him came Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus at night. He brought about seventy-five pounds[k] of perfumed ointment made from myrrh and aloes.40 Following Jewish burial custom, they wrapped Jesus’ body with the spices in long sheets of linen cloth.41 The place of crucifixion was near a garden, where there was a new tomb, never used before.42 And so, because it was the day of preparation for the Jewish Passover[l] and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.