What Fuels Faith?

prayer, bible study, holy spiritI am of the opinion that you can never talk about or study faith too much.  As followers of Christ, our faith and belief in Him and His saving work is the foundation on which we base our lives.  We have quite literally staked our eternal existence on the fact that Jesus Christ was and is the son of God and that if we believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths this truth that we shall be saved.  This is the first step in our faith journey but it can not and must not be our last.

Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me. Psalm 66:20 (KJV)

It was God’s mercy that authored His salvation plan and the same mercy that is still available to us today.  Just as the Psalmist said, because God is merciful He listens to our prayers and does not turn His face away from us when we call on Him.  And that is the key component in the fueling of our faith.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NASB)

John 15:5 is one of my favorite verses because it so plainly states how we can be successful and fruitful followers of Christ.  Out of our faith comes our good works and our faith is sustained by abiding (staying) in Jesus.  And we abide in Jesus through our prayers and time spent one on one with the Holy Spirit in meditation and adoration.

Our day should start in prayer and prayer should be our first response to trouble, to joy, to sorrow, to worry, to doubt, to danger and to most anything that comes our way.  Proper prayer focuses our eyes and hearts on God who is able and who is strong to save.  It is God who delivers us and God who provides the strength that we need to overcome.  And most importantly, it is communion with the Spirit that provides the critical component in stoking the fires of our faith as we stay grounded and rooted in Him.

Prayer as a response must be practiced.  It is not a natural human response.  Unless we are taught and encouraged to pray without ceasing, we will wither on the vine and our faith will be weak and small.  Even after salvation we will more likely resemble the lost and unsaved than the saints of God if we neglect time spent in prayer and study of God’s Word.

Rejoice always;  pray without ceasing;  in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NASB)

Do you have a desire to grow your faith in God?  Do you want to know Him better and be a larger and stronger force for good in your home?  The place to start and the place to stay is in prayer and fellowship with the God who can provide all that we lack and so much more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,  to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB)

God Loves All His Creatures, Cows Included

God loves cows

Hi, Reed!

It was Sunday evening after church.  Vicki and I had just turned in our driveway and could see our house in the grey twilight a few acres down the gravel driveway through the pasture.  As we neared the cattle pond on the right side of the driveway, we noticed a commotion among the three calves in our small, nine cow herd.

One of them seemed to be thrashing through some low shrubs and small trees that formed a barrier between the driveway and the pond.  This is not unusual behavior for a calf; they are quite playful when they are young, but instead of continuing straight through the bushes the little calf stopped short as if it had suddenly come to the end of a leash.  Vicki and I looked at each other and pulled the car closer.

When we pulled up beside the calves we could see that one of them had gotten a cable wrapped tightly around its neck which was now also wrapped around the trees and bushes that the calves had been playing in.  The little calf was beginning to panic and to pull against the cable which caused the cable to begin to constrict.  As we stepped out of the car, one of our favorite cows was starting to choke to death.  I started praying.

Reed was this calf’s name.  We have such a small herd that we name them and often feed them by hand.  Our favorite cow is a small, gentle, black and white we named Panda due to the pattern on her face and her general coloring.  Panda’s first and only calf is Reed.  Reed inherited his mother’s calm, gentle nature and is always the first in the herd to approach us and want a head scratch.  We’ve become quite attached to him.

My wife and I realized that unless we got that cable off of Reed’s neck he was probably going to die.  As we jumped back into the car we could hear him choking and gasping for air.  While Vicki searched for a pair of wire cutters big enough I called Vicki’s father (who lives down the road and owns every tool known to man) and with panic in my voice, described the situation.

Vicki located the wire cutters and I grabbed some work gloves as we ran back out the door.  As we once again approached the place where Reed was entangled we could see all nine cows now gathered around Reed as he knelt in the grass.  Hearing the commotion and thinking danger was present the small herd had encircled Reed.  Normally, this is a good thing and the larger, older cows protect the smaller, younger ones but at that point it just  made things more difficult.

Because of the way Reed knelt, we couldn’t tell if he was still alive.  Fortunately, as we got out of the car we could still hear him gasping for breath so we knew he was still holding on.  I cautiously approached with my wire cutters in hand being careful not to spook the other animals.  Reed began to stir and shy away, still in a panic, and I couldn’t get my wire cutters close enough to him to cut him free.

The next best option was cutting the cable where it was wrapped around the tree which would at least keep the cable from getting any tighter around Reed’s neck.  Despite my best efforts my wire cutters and my strength were not enough to cut the cable.  As I kept praying and kept trying I heard the sound of a truck behind me and knew that Vicki’s father, Richard, had arrived.

Richard had tools in hand as he exited the truck and I apprised him of the situation.  Despite almost being run over by the other calves in their distress and by Reed as he began to thrash around again, Richard was able to get the cable cut right where it wrapped around the tree.  Reed pulled away slowly, head down and in obvious pain and the heard encircled him again.

At this point it was raining and I was still in my church clothes so Vicki sent me home to change while she and Richard tried to devise a plan to get Reed still long enough to remove the cable.  I took the chance to get quiet and still and get on my knees and ask the Lord to intervene.  I asked the Lord to protect us and to help us save Reed who could now breathe but would not be able to eat or drink unless we could get that cable off of him.

The plan was for Richard to try and rope Reed (a tricky proposition at the best of times, it would be even more difficult in the rain) and tie him to the nearest available tree while Vicki and I tried to keep the other cows from interfering.  I don’t know if it would have worked because God had a much better plan.

As I once again exited the house I saw the herd, with Reed, had turned towards the corral.  In all of the 40 acres of pasture and woods, the 25 foot by 25 foot cattle corral is the one place where you could enclose a cow and separate it from the rest of the herd and that is exactly where they were headed.  I continued watching as Richard, with minimal effort, managed to coax Reed into the corral.

Richard entered the corral behind Reed.  Vicki and I, with the help of Vicki’s mother, worked on getting the large swinging door of the corral shut.  With only a small gap in the corral remaining, we hit an obstacle.  A two foot long post is inserted into the ground very close to where the corral door closes to act as a doorstop and this one would not come out to allow us to completely close off the corral.

I prayed and put my hands on the now slick, wet post and began to pull and to wiggle it around in the hole to try and get it loose.  At what felt like a centimeter at a time, it started to come out of the ground.  With a final tug and twist the post popped out of its hole and the door was shut.

What happened next is not completely clear to me.  All I know is that I looked Reed in the eye and spoke to him through the slats in the corral and he seemed to calm down.  Richard approached him and was soon able to grasp the loose end of the cable and Reed bucked and gave a little shake of his head and the cable fell off!

We all stood there looking at each other not really sure what had just happened.  We quickly opened the corral back up to let Reed join his mother, which he did happily if not vigorously.  We could tell he was still hurting, but he was definitely going to make it.

All I can say about this story is that it is completely true and I am sure that God intervened.  I have no other explanation for the herd turning towards the corral, for a post that had been stuck in the ground and not moved for months suddenly breaking free, and for a cable that had been twisted and tightly wrapped around the neck of an innocent calf suddenly falling off with a touch.  God answered our prayers that night and I give Him all the praise and glory and I promised that this was a story that would be shared.

Thank you, Lord, for showing up just in time and always giving us just what we need!

Prayer Workers Wanted: Apply Within Your Heart

prayer, god, quiet timeHave you ever read something that immediately grabbed your attention and made you sit up and take notice?  Perhaps it made you begin to think and to question the way in which you were doing something or going about your life.  Maybe it was so profound that it stuck with you and caused you to want to do better and to be better.

Such a thing happened to me recently.  I was reading a monthly publication and an article about prayer when I came across the following paragraph.

Craig Warner, Executive Director for the Gideon’s International writes:

Intentional and genuine prayer is work.  Praying is much more than a physical exercise of bowing our heads, clasping our hands together, and going to our knees.  The goal of prayer is God Himself – not joy, peace or blessing.  How do we reach that goal?  Practice.  In his book, The Path of Prayer, Samuel Chadwick writes, “Though a man shall have all knowledge about prayer, and  though he understands all mysteries about prayer, unless he prays he will never learn to pray”.

I can’t stop thinking about it and even better, I can’t stop praying about it.  I want to know God better.  I want all of Him, or as least as much as I can handle in this earthly body.  The principle path to knowing God better is prayer so that means I need to get a lot better at prayer and talking to Him!

I think for most of us the primary obstacle to a better prayer life is the time and effort that we are willing to invest in it.  In other words, we aren’t doing the work required, we aren’t making prayer a priority and therefore our relationship with our Heavenly Father isn’t as strong as it could be.  I know this to be true in my case and I suspect it may be true in the lives of other Christians as well.

It’s been said that prayer is our power source and that is almost right.  Prayer is not the power source, God is the power source and prayer is the method by which we stay filled with the Spirit and in harmony with the power source.  The more we pray the more we are able to attune our hearts to the master and creator of the universe who is also our savior and our friend.  The miracle in all of this is that he desires our companionship and love more than we desire His.  He seeks us, draws us, teaches us and is always working on our behalf and unless we stay in contact with Him through prayer we are apt to miss most of what He is doing.

God is so good and the depth of his love and character is infinite.  Although we have an eternity to get to know him the sooner we start and the more emphasis we place on prayer the better and sweeter our lives will be.  And through our connection to God others around us will be blessed and God’s kingdom will grow.

The Problem With Praying For Gods Will To Be Done

prayer, God's willThe problem with praying for God’s will to be done is that it sometimes makes for a very short conversation.  If prayer really is supposed to be a conversation between we who are God’s children and our heavenly father then it seems to me that there should be more involvement on our part.

I honestly believe, based on what I have read in the scriptures, that God desires to use people to carry out His will.  People are important to God.  Me, getting involved in carrying out God’s will on earth, is extremely important to God.  When I pray for God’s will to be done, that is a start, but it should not be the ending.

If I really examine my motives, sometimes when I pray for God’s will to be done I am actually trying to absolve myself of any responsibility in the matter.  It is as if I am saying “I don’t know what to do, so you take care of it while I think about something else”.

I think the Lord would rather that I pray “God, make me fit to carry out your will and use me for your glory.  I invite you to use me as your instrument and I am here and available for you.”  If I pray this prayer and really mean it, then God’s plan will be carried out and I will be where He wants me to be.

Ultimately, God’s will is going to be carried out one way or another.  He has the final say, He is the author and the creator and His word stands forever.  That won’t change.  What can change, however, is me and my choosing to work together with Him.  Will I be His willing vessel or will I refuse and miss out on a great blessing?

My responsibility when I pray is the condition of my heart and the motivation behind my prayer.  Am I speaking just to hear myself talk?  Am I really asking for God’s intervention in the life of another or am I just trying to get through my prayer list so that I can go on to something else?  My flesh wars against my spiritual nature and wants to have its own way but through Christ in me I can pray in the Spirit in a way that pleases the Father.

This is a hard lesson and one that I am still working on.  The concept of prayer is a simple one but because it is communication between me (who is finite, flawed and flesh) and God (who is spirit, infinite and perfect) the actual process of prayer is anything but simple.  It takes Jesus Christ to bridge the gap between what I am and who God is and it is only through His work on the cross and His shed blood that I am able to come before God with a pure heart and clean hands.

I want my prayer to be heard by God and I want to pray in a way that pleases Him.  I want God’s will to be done but before I can honestly pray for it I need to ask for God’s will to be done in me and for the willingness to say “yes” to whatever He asks.

Defense Against Bad Ideas

salvation, prayer, bible study, church attendanceNow that we have established where bad ideas come from we need to carefully consider how we can defend against them.  Despite the best efforts of the powers of darkness and despite our own fallen nature we can have victory over evil in this life.  We live in a corrupted world and we inhabit corrupted bodies of flesh with an inborn sinful nature but God has not left us without the power to overcome.

What is this power to overcome and what are the tools that God has given us to do good and not evil?  Here is how I see it:

Our first line of defense is and will always be our salvation and regeneration made possible by Christ’s sacrifice.  Because he died in my place my spirit has been born anew and in my body of death I now hold the spirit of life (2 Corinthians 4:7-12).  This is a powerful truth and it is the foundation for our eternal hope and our assured victory.

Even so, just because we are born again does not mean that God will not allow us to make bad choices or fall to temptation if we are bound and determined to do so.  Even as a saved child of God our ability to choose is sacrosanct.  And without proper training and maturity in God’s word we will continue to make bad choices even while we are on the path to life eternal.

After salvation, we must commit ourselves to growth and maturity.  Just like a baby animal is no match for a predator, we are no match for the schemes of the evil one while we are still babes in Christ.  We need knowledge of God’s word (The Bible), we need to develop an active and vital prayer life and we need to surround ourselves with mature believers who can hold us up and keep us accountable while we grow.

Study of God’s word accompanied by prayer will allow the Holy Spirit to speak directly to our hearts and grow us in grace and truth.  God’s word is alive and is able to speak to us right where we are as it teaches us and improves our weak areas. (Hebrews 4:12)  In this way we develop a strong foundation that is able to withstand times of trouble and temptation.

We must also surround ourselves with those who can teach us and guide us in this life of faith.  Believers who have been through what we are going through and can provide Godly wisdom will keep us in good stead as we grow.  We are commanded by God’s word to help each other and support each other (Galatians 6:2) in love and an active, vibrant life of faith is made possible by the support of other believers.

These are the foundation on which we build our defense against bad ideas and temptation to sin.  Still, as we grow in faith and maturity we must also learn where we are weak and what we need to avoid.  There are more distractions than ever for Christians in the world today and nothing will choke our desire for God faster than the cares of this life.  We must guard our hearts and keep our desire for God and His law above all else.  If our main goal is always to love the Lord with all we have then we will not find ourselves often going wrong. (Mark 12:30)

We can have victory because Christ has already won the war.  Our part is simply to continue in faith and make good choices based on God’s word and the Holy Spirit’s instruction to us.  Our defense is sure when we stand on the rock of truth.

A Day of Prayer – Is It Just Today?

prayer, USA, freedomThursday, May 1st is our National Day of Prayer.  Millions of believers across the USA will join their hearts together in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father.

Leading up to the National Day of Prayer, the Baptist Association in my county is hosting many “read through the Bible” events in which God’s Word will be read aloud, publicly, from beginning to end.  In 15 minute time slots, we were given the opportunity to sign up and read the Bible as part of this event, which started on Monday morning and will conclude on Thursday morning.  That’s 72 straight hours of Bible reading, out loud and in public!

For my slot on Tuesday morning, I picked up in the 19th Chapter of the book of II Samuel.  While it was a little bit intimidating to stand and read out loud in a public place I consider it a privilege to live in a country where religious expression is still protected by the Constitution.  While many in our great country just want Christians to “shut up and go away” this event provides us an excellent opportunity for us to stand up and be publicly seen and heard.

Throughout this week the USA has been on my mind as a subject of prayer and contemplation.  As children of the Most High God it is our duty and responsibility to pray for our nation and our leaders.  From the greatest to the smallest, we all need God’s presence in our life and a personal relationship with Him.  So many in our land (and in our world) still don’t know the redeeming power of salvation or the hope that God offers all who would come to Him.

This week is an opportunity for us to really seek God’s face and pray for healing, for wisdom, and for a fresh movement of the Spirit of God in our country.  But we don’t need to stop with the National Day of Prayer.  The National Day of Prayer should be the beginning of a fresh call for all believers to earnestly pray for their country, its leaders and its people.

Join with me today and commit to praying for your country.  Even if you don’t live in the USA, your country needs your prayers now more than ever.  Let us commit to going before our Heavenly Father with our prayers, petitions and supplications and watch as the Spirit of God begins to move.

A Prayer For All Of My Tomorrows

prayer, supplication, praise

Lord, I ask that you be in the center of all of my tomorrows.

I am so thankful that you care enough to want to hold me up with your strong right hand as I walk through this life here on earth and also into eternity with you.

I want to know more about you, your great love, your mighty acts and your unseen ways.

Help me to be the person that you have called me to be.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings.  I can’t see around the next corner or even further than the next step.  Everything I do, everything I have and everything I am depends on you.

You are everything.  You created all.  This world and everything in it belongs to you and exists in you and for you.

I am redeemed because of you.

You have set my life on a path to heaven that cannot be changed, no matter how many dark valleys I must walk through.

You have greatly favored me and blessed me beyond my comprehension.

You provide every spiritual blessing for me; may I have the wisdom and the vision to never stop asking to be anointed for the work that you have set before me.

Never let me be satisfied with less than you.  Never let me choose what is good over what is best.  And may I always seek you first in everything that I do.

Show me the areas in my life that need to be brought under your Lordship.  Mold me and form me into your image as I go.

Keep me from evil and from choosing paths that do not bring glory to you.

Give me eyes to see myself as you see me and a heart to love others as you love them.

May I never forget where I come from.  May I never forget how you brought me out of darkness and into the light of your truth and love.  And may I never stop looking forward to all the good that awaits me.

Help me to live a life that is visibly different.

Help me to be humble, wise, firm and courageous in proclaiming the gospel.

I want a heart that longs to give you all while at the same time being generous to my brothers and sisters who are in need.

All of my tomorrows belong to you.  May I always live in such a way that remembers who holds the future and who is the victorious king.

Thank you, Lord, for being with me through all of my tomorrows.

Friday Favorites 12/6/13

prayer journal, prayerFriday favorites is a place where I can talk about and recommend some of my favorite things.  From food to music to technology to great ideas, Friday favorites will feature them all.  If you have feedback on something that’s deserving of a Friday favorite, please don’t hesitate to use the comment section or send me an email at matthew515blog@gmail.com.  I want to hear about your favorites too!

“I will live my life in accordance with God’s Word.  I will strive for His glory”.  The previous sentence is what it says on page 2 of my prayer journal.  What started as just a way for me to record prayer requests and how God answered them has become something more.

I’m not really sure why I was prompted to write such a statement of faith on the 2nd page of my prayer journal except that I just felt lead to do it.  What’s amazing is that every time I read through that page I pray that statement just like the rest of the prayer requests in my journal.  It has become not only a statement of faith, but a supplication to God that He grant me the strength and will to live it.

It is an amazing thing to see God at work and to be a part of it.  My journal has helped me focus on being a faithful prayer warrior and has helped me fulfill one of scriptures commands to believers:

“Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.” (Psalm 111:2 NASB)

Because I take delight in seeing God work, I want to study and remember what He has done in my life and in the lives of those I am praying for.  This is why I now write those things down in my prayer journal and spend time reading and praying through it several times a week.  This practice has greatly enriched my prayer life and it has become a special time between the Lord and I that I always look forward to.

If you want to grow in the Lord and in your communication with Him then I heartily recommend starting a prayer journal.  Grab a blank notebook, it doesn’t have to be anything ornate or expensive.  Begin by writing down just 1 or 2 things that are on your heart right then and there.  Through the days and weeks as you pray over these things God will bring to your mind other things to write down and pray about.  Your journal will grow and along with it your trust and faith in God.

 Today I am thanking God for my prayer journal and for the privilege of calling on Him.  That’s why my prayer journal is today’s Friday Favorite.

The Goal Post

Goals,Dreams,PrayersDespite the title, this post is not going to be about football.  (Although it is rather appropriate considering today is opening day for most college football teams.)  More specifically, this is going to be a post about goals for Matthew515.com with a look back at the previous month.

I want to be completely transparent about Matthew515.com. As the site grows and begins to accept donations and generate income I will, at the end of each month, post those numbers here for all to see.  My hope and prayer is that the site be self sufficient and generate income for my family and to the glory of God’s kingdom as I try to do what He has called me to do.

A word about supporting the site:  Any book or product you see with linked text is an Amazon link.  If you click the link and end up purchasing a product through Amazon this site will get a small percentage of that sale.  Likewise the Amazon banner on the right side of the page; if you click it and then buy anything from Amazon the site gets a small percentage.  It’s a very quick and easy way of supporting the site that doesn’t cost you anything extra.

I have also set a goal for unique visitors each month.  It’s a big goal, and frankly, it’s probably impossible for me alone.  Thankfully, I am not alone.  I have placed my faith and my trust in the Lord and I believe in setting goals that only God can accomplish.  That way, there’s no doubt that He provided and He gets all the credit and all the glory.  I am praying for 10,000 unique visitors per month as a site goal.  Like I said, it’s a very big goal.

August is the first complete month for Matthew515.com after the site was completed on July 23rd.  This being the last day of the month I will post the numbers for August and when we reach the end of September I will post those numbers and so on.  This will give us a very real picture of how the site is growing, how God is working, and hopefully be of interest to you as well.

This has been and will continue to be a journey of faith.  I am excited about what God is going to do and I look forward to each step along the way.  I will work like it’s up to me and pray like it’s up to God and leave the results to Him.  I want to be found faithful and I want to do exactly what God has called me to do.   Please pray for me and my family as we continue this journey.

And now for the numbers:

Unique Visitors: 759 (This is the number we are praying will one day meet or exceed 10,000.  We have a long way to go but this is an excellent start!)

Number of Visits: 1,521 (Avg. of 2.0 visits per person)

Pages viewed: 7,458 (Avg. of 4.9 pages per visit)

Income: $1.57 (Via Google Adsense Ads viewed)


Thus ends our first monthly summary and I appreciate you taking the time to read it and to support the site and the ministry.  As always, please leave any comments or suggestions in the spaces below.

Devotional Guides Are Like People

devotionalguidesarelikepeopleDevotional guides are meant to help us as we read and study God’s word.  Devotional guides are written for specific topics, specific books of the bible, specific periods of time and sometimes even about specific Biblical figures.  There’s even a devotional guide for The Daniel Fast book that I just purchased; so far it’s been very informative!

Clearly, there’s a range of devotional guides available and I hope you have one (or more) that you use regularly.

When I make the statement that devotional guides are like people, what I really mean to say is that they come in all shapes and sizes and that their contents are as varied as their covers. At my house is a perfect example of this.   Vicki and I are currently using two very different devotionals on a daily basis that are each excellent in their own way.  And they couldn’t be more different.

Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, is tremendously popular.  It is a 365 day devotional that contains a paragraph or two of God talking to you (I say “you” but these are notes Sarah took in her prayer journal as if Jesus was talking to her and that’s how she wrote them down) and then two or three bible verses that pertain to the devotional text.  It’s easy to read.  It’s comforting.  It tends to be short and to the point and is perfect for when you are time crunched but still desire to be spiritually fed.

I have very much enjoyed reading Jesus Calling these past few months and I can see why so many people read and recommend it.  And it’s available in about 12 different sizes and covers and even has a kids version, so there’s likely to be one that fits your lifestyle.

My Utmost for His Highest

Then there is My Utmost for His Highest.  Compiled by Gertrude Hobbs after the death of her husband Oswald Chambers, this is a 365 day selection of his sermons and teachings.  It was first published in 1924 and is considered to be one of the most popular religious books ever written.

My Utmost for His Highest is tough reading.  Not only did Mr. Chambers use larger words and more complex sentences than we are perhaps used to seeing in 2013, he was also a very intelligent man who was not afraid to challenge believers with hard truths.  Mr. Chambers pulls no punches in delivering his sermons and lessons and sometimes what he has to say is difficult to wrap your mind around.  Rather like raw vegetables are the lessons of Mr. Chambers; they may not taste good but they are very good for you.

The really neat thing about both books is that our Lord is in both of them.  “Jesus Calling” contains the same Jesus who said “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  “My Utmost for His Highest” contains the Jesus who told the rich young ruler “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me” (Matthew 19:21).

The Lord’s Words to Us

Two different statements made by our Lord in two different situations yet both were exactly right for those who heard them.  God always says what we need, when we need it and both of these fine devotional books contain Godly wisdom for those who are searching.  However, do not mistake a devotional guide as a substitute for the Bible!  The Bible has no substitute and is a living word that is designed to speak to you personally, in whatever situation you find yourself.   Make reading the Bible your priority in your devotional time and then, as you feel led, seek out a devotional guide that can enrich and enhance your worship experience.  That’s the only way it should be done.

Are you currently reading and using a devotional guide in your study time?  If so, which one and would you recommend it?  Feel free to comment below.