Monday, 19 March 2018

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:1-13

In my perspective

When the Disciples went to Jesus privately and asked why He spoke in parables (Mk 4:9-11), He basically says that only those who care to ask questions and hear the answers can understand. So with that in mind –
Let him who has ears, Hear.
Section 1:
On the surface this parable looks like a story about the wise and foolish and their consequences. All were given the same things: an invite to the wedding, a lamp, some oil and a notification of the Bridegrooms entrance. Even the location was given to them (vs 1). The 5 wise prepared by taking an extra jar of oil, but the foolish thought they would be okay. When the Bridegrooms arrival was announced, panic took over the foolish and they left the place to get what they needed, however when they were gone they missed the arrival and the doors were shut to them. The Bridegroom sent them away claiming not to know them.
The encouragement or warning in this parable is to stay alert! Prepare, be caught doing what you were instructed to do, be ready because you do not know when He will come.  So be like the wise and keep on top of what you were asked to do.

Section 2:
In my understanding, there is so much more to this parable. Lessons we can learn, meat we can chew on and a message that offers us encouragement.
‘At that time’ (vs 1) – During the Great Tribulation. Here we have Jesus (Bridegroom) who gave everyone an invite to a wedding (The Kingdom of Heaven) which He has warned us is coming and ‘at that time’….  
The Church (the virgins) is made up of two components, The Jews (The Foolish) and the Gentiles (The wise). Both were given salvation (The Lamp), The Jew by the birth rite in the Abrahamic Covenant and the Mosaic or Sinaitic Covenant (Ge 15:18-21 and Exodus 19-24); and the Gentiles by their birth rite of salvation by being born again (Jn 3:3,7). Both Jew and Gentile were given access to exactly what they needed for salvation (the lamp and the oil).
Both were taken to the location (25:1) of where the Bridegroom would meet them so they both had equal opportunity. Unfortunately only the Gentile (The wise virgin) prepared by taking oil with extra jars, or rather, by having a relationship with Jesus by being full of the Holy Spirit, and praying and reading the Word. He had ears and heard the call and took note of the warning and instructions and prepared himself.

The Call
They both heard the ‘Call’ – perhaps the trumpets sound? Upon hearing this call, the Jews realise they have been wrong and seek help from the Christians who give them instructions.

The wick
They trimmed their wicks – a wick in a lantern needs to be trimmed in order to continue to burn the brightest and continue to draw the oil up properly. If the wick is burned and dirty it doesn’t draw the oil a well and as a result will not burn right.
So the analogy of trimming their wicks, correlates to maintenance of our salvation – prayer, forgiveness of sins, obedience, reading the Word, love – this all allows us to be full of the Holy Spirit, where our cup can overflow.

The arrival
While they were busy trying to make up for their foolishness, and earn their salvation, Jesus comes and takes those that are ready, home. He shuts the door, essentially he separates the sheep from the goats, the foolish virgins are cast out with the wicked regardless of their birth rite – they heard the call but missed the coming – they simply did not do what they were told to do – hence all the confidence they had in their position meant nothing in the end because they did not have a relationship with Jesus (John 14:6 – I am the way, the truth and the light – no one sees the Father but by Me).

·      The lamp, which symbolises salvation, also symbolises the Bridegroom, as Jesus is the bridegroom and the Light of the world (Lamp)(Jn 8:12).
·      Trimming the wick could be akin to pruning branches (John 15:2) or to defining the Wood, Hay and Stubble (1 Cor 3:12).
·      25:9: There comes a point where division starts. And it is important to know when your responsibility for another person comes to an end – where your help simply cannot make up for another persons foolish decision. This could also be an example of when to say no to other peoples requests, where all we have to offer is a word of advice or direction. We simply have to walk out our own path and be faithful with what we have been given – not with what other people have been given (eg: taking on the role of the Pastor? Filling the shoes of someone’s incompetent parent? Sacrificing our own family for the needs of another family). Knowing when to say no.
·      Thinking ahead by taking the extra jar of oil is akin to being ‘Watchful’.

Section 3
This goes beyond the scope of this study, but bear with me.
I started asking the ‘What, Where, Why and When’ questions which took me to the previous chapter. I found this VERY interesting as a precursor to the parable of the ten virgins. See if you notice the pattern? (I will highlight it at the end of this summary)
1.     Where? – The Mount of Olives (24:3) Being 800m above Jerusalem, on the Eastern side, one of three mountains in the Jordean Ranges dividing the desert and Jerusalem.
2.     Who? – The Disciples came to Jesus privately to ask questions (24:3)
3.     The Questions? – When will it happen and What will be the signs?
·      Vs 15-31: What? – The Great Tribulation Jesus explains what is to come
·      Vs 32-35: Jesus encourages them to UNDERSTAND His Word because it will stand til the end of time.
·      Vs 36: (and vs 44) He highlights that no one will know the hour or the day, it will be sudden and unannounced.
·      Vs 40-41: He highlights that there will be division within friendship and family, one will be taken and one will remain.
·      Vs 42: He tells them to keep watch (as a side note, Jesus tells the Disciples to ‘keep watch’ regularly. The word comes from the Greek word ‘Agrupneo’ and means ‘To Be Sleepless – to keep awake’ (Mt 25:5; Ro 13:11; 1 Thess 5:6-8) It refers to the Spiritual, not the physical.
·      Vs 45: makes a definition of the wise and faithful servant.
·      Vs 48: Talks about what happens when the wise servant becomes foolish by doubting his masters word that he will return, and as a result he makes the wrong decisions.
·      Vs 51: The foolish will be cast out with the unsaved…. Essentially losing his standing or relationship with his master and made an equal with the unchosen.
Did you notice that in the leading up to the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus explains every element! What the Kingdom of Heaven will be like in the Great Tribulation and what to watch out for.
He encourages His disciples to understand His Words, as it will always be with them and He explains how no one will know when it is going to happen, but that there will be clear division amongst those that profess to ‘know’ Jesus and who think they are ‘attending’ the wedding feast. He emphasizes that only those who are ready will be at the banqueting table and that it is really important to keep watch – stay alert and read the signs, listen for the call. It is ok to sleep if you are prepared.

So basically, before He tells them the parable, He explains it all to them and then sums it up with the parable. Jesus says things in so many different ways that we are without excuse.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Good Samaritan

 Luke 10:25-37

Define 'WHO' my neighbour is?

On the surface and taken at face value, the Good Samaritan is a story about doing good to a stranger. 
The world has latched on to this allegory and even included it in 20th Century legislation, for people who step forward to provide emergency medical assistance to a stranger [Civil Laws (Wrongs) Act 2002 (ACT)s5; Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW) s 57; Personal Injuries (Liabilities and Damages) Act (NT) s 8; Civil Liability Act 1936 (SA) s 74; Civil Liability Act 2002 (Tas) s 35B; Wrongs Act 1958 (Vic) s 31B; Civil Liability Act 2002 (WA) s 5AD].
However, Jesus spoke in Parables, (Mt 13:10-17) because His followers were gifted to understand them (Mk 4:11-33).
So here is my interpretation:

This is a story about salvation, not kindness. The challenge is found in Jesus’ words “Go and do likewise”, prompting us to ask the question ‘what is likewise’?
We want our neighbour defined (vs 29)  (a parameter so to speak, for our responsibility to love others) but Jesus turns the question around and wants us to define ourselves, a personal confrontation comparing ourselves to Him (vs 36).
In this story we find
·      An expert in the law
·      A Priest with the Jews highest calling
·      A Levite with birth rite and privilege
·      A Samaritan considered unclean and despised by all Jews
·      A man with insignificant importance
·      An Inn Keeper

It’s a story where love is lavished unlimited on the un-expectant by the unexpected.

On a road referred to as ‘Blood Pass’ by the locals, few Jews dared to traverse, it was well known as a hideout for thieves and robbers. With Jerusalem being 3000ft up and Jericho being 1000ft down, it was a dangerous trek. The road to Jericho could be an allegory to life’s journey – many winding bends and crevices in which darkness and the unexpected troubles can hide, jumping out at us at any time.

Hidden within the parable is the same question asked by the rich young ruler (Mk 10:17-27) and Nicodemus (Jn 3:4) – “What must I do to inherit the Kingdom of God”.
It is not enough to ‘know’ the right answers; it is not enough to assess if it is in my calling; it is not enough to protect our self from defilement.
It is simply enough to love by action, without concern for  our selves – that love be defined by action and selflessness.

·      The expert in law: A Jew with authority (most likely a Levite as they were entrusted with the reading of the Torah in the Arc of the Covenant), knowledge, respect, position, and confidence. He seeks to trap Jesus in asking Him to define who our neighbours are. His motivation was not pure, but rather he needed his neighbour defined so as to know where his responsibilities end.
·      A Priest: A Jew and a Levite appointed by God and man (as only Levites could be appointed as Priests Deut 18:1) with the highest calling among the Hebrews. Most likely rich as they received tithing from the Israelites (Nu 18:21-35). He was a Holy man, with authority, position and respect.
·      A Levite: A man with a God appointed birth rite. All Priests were Levites, but not all Levites were Priests. Levites had certain privileges that descendants of the other 11 tribes were not given. He would have been connected with the community and was assigned responsibility in the tabernacle, setting him apart from everyone. (Ex 32:26-29). The Levites were commanded to love strangers (Lev 19:34) but turned it into a virtue to hate them(Ps 139:21-22).
·      A Samaritan: A Jew who was considered defiled and unclean, hated by most Jews. To understand why, one must understand simple history. Of the 12 tribes of Israel, the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh lived on the other side of the Jordan, that was the land the Lord God gave them (Duet 3:12-20) When Assyria captured the northern kingdom of Israel in 721 B.C. some were taken in captivity while others were left behind. The ones left behind intermarried with the Assyrians. Thus these people were neither fully Hebrews nor fully Gentiles. The Samaritans had their own unique copy of the first five books of Scripture but rejected the other books of the Prophets and the writings, they also had their own unique system of worship and Alter (later destroyed by the Jews in 128BC).
Samaria was also a place where the outlaws / murderers could run to hide (Josh 20:1-9) ; the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans (Jn 4:9). They were simply known as unclean, idolaters and half-breeds.
·      A ‘Man’: This man was insignificant to the parable, and yet, ironically he is the centre of the parable.
·      The Inn Keeper: He was simply going about his business and was tasked with the care of a stranger.

Points of interest:
·      2 Denarius is equivalent to two months worth of accommodation in the first century.
·      The Samaritan took an incredible risk
·      The Samaritan gave the Inn Keeper freedom to do whatever was needed.
·      Jesus said “by chance”….

“Go and do likewise”.
What did the Samaritan do?
He saw, he took compassion and he acted outside of his responsibility.
He gave medical attention, physical attention (which set himself as a disadvantage), he relocated, provided for his future needs, protected and provided sustenance. He gave an all night vigil to see that he was well enough and employed another to care for his needs until he returns. The Samaritan would have been aware that a Jew was his enemy.
Yet still he lavished unlimited love on an enemy.

I am an expert of the law : 1 Co 1:5
I am a Priest: 1 Pe 2:9; Rev 1:5-6
I am a Levite: 1 Pe 2:9; Heb 8:3
I am a Samaritan: Gal 3:29
I am a man: insignificant and in desperate need of help Acts 4:8-12, Ps 8:4
I am the Inn Keeper: Ro 12:4-5 One body with many members all working together.

Jesus “So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?”
The definition of neighbour is everyone in your path, all the time, regardless of status. Now go do the same says our Lord.

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Passing of my Parent

Ok, so, this blog is a little raw and not necessarily the best I have to offer, but it may explain why I have not blogged in a long while.
This is difficult to write and rather personal, so I invite you to skip it. I mostly share this because apparently it helps me mourn?

When my Paternal Grandmother passed away at 85years old, my Father did not attend her funeral. I thought it weird at the time, but I recall Dad saying over a glass of red wine that 'the worst thing about your parents passing, is that you know It's your turn next''. I now understand the depth of his sorrow.
Last year, my dear Father left us suddenly on the 28th September 2016, at 10:30am.
I knew Dad was unwell, I had spoken to him on the phone on the Saturday night and told him I would come in a week to help him 'get his affairs in order', so to speak.
On the Wednesday he felt good, he was going to take my niece into town for morning tea, he went out to the garage and lifted the roller door...... and that is all it took. He signalled to Mum to help him inside as he couldn't speak, she helped him on to his bed, ran to get him some water to wet his dry mouth; she put her fingers in his mouth to help his tongue which was stuck to the roof of his mouth, and that was it. He threw his hands in the air and grimaced in pain and died of a massive heart attack.

The grave is silent; death is final for those who are left behind.

I disagree with Dad on one thing - the 'worst thing' about losing him is not the knowledge that I am next, but the loss of the only person who saw me as important and special and gifted. He knew me so well. Sometimes he even drove me crazy, but we were so in touch with each other.

Yes, I have the Lord, and yes He loves me but it is not the same. He doesn't talk back and His wisdom requires a lot of searching. Parents are a gift from God, as are children. Great Fathers are few and far between. I called Dad daily to talk about nothing in particular, and Dad always listened and always gave me advice (even when not wanted).

I have been confronted with the fragility of life and how fast it passes, my mortality so to speak. I am not frightened by it as I am sure of my salvation and to Whom I shall go..... but I have been challenged in the way I am living and the things I am doing with this brief moment called my life.
I am taking a long service leave... a year off to concentrate on doing the things I enjoy. That means NOT doing the things I don't want to do or am obliged to do. Life is simply too short to waste on wood, hay and straw!

Luke 12:27-31 talks about how short life is and how good our God is to us, that we should simply seek His kingdom.
Because everything at the moment makes me profoundly sad that Dad is not here anymore, the sorrow is so immensely deep that there are no words for it. I have chosen to live quietly and simply. To BE....
Be still
Be available
Be willing
Be ready
Be open
Be quiet
I have finally learned to say no... except to things I enjoy like art, coffee dates, walking, reading - this is the best way for me to mourn as my mind is too active. It wakes me up for hours every night, everything I come across seems to make me want to call Dad which reminds me that he is not here anymore.
So that is my life in a nutshell at the moment.
I am sure it is of no help to anyone to share this part of my journey, and it doesn't really make me feel better, but it may help me to understand just a bit more.

Be brave, Stand at the crossroad and look, ask where the good way is and walk in it, there you will find rest for your soul (Jer 6:16)......

Friday, 29 April 2016

Jonah, The big picture.

It's early morning, 5am to be precise. I put my Joggers on, earphones in and off I go for a walk.
I cannot see in front of me due to the morning mist, but I know the sun is shining.

Jonah. Who are you? Time to listen to the 4 chapters that tell a story about an incredible man of God. 

Not unlike our own stories, the book of Jonah starts by him running away from God  - or more easily explained as making a deliberate decision to disobey an instruction. Boy! Can't we all relate to that.

Most people see Jonah and a whale, but I have to say this morning that I got far more out of this reading. I was left pondering. These thoughts are not in order.

The first chapter rang through my ears and mind so fast that I started it again and again. 4 times to be precise!!!

Reflection 1:
I am not sure of the time frame between when God gave Jonah the direction to go to Nineveh and when Jonah ran away, but I am going to assume that it caused Jonah to miss sleep, and probably more than one nights worth. I can't begin to imagine the turmoil and fear of going to Nineveh that caused him to jump on a boat with strangers and attempt to cross an ocean in the complete opposite direction. A deliberate choice of rebellion.

Reflection 2:
Amidst unbelievers, Jonah identifies as a Hebrew. That means he knew that he could not flee from God, because he knew God as Abba. This was deliberate rebellion to the God he identifies with. He even partook of a game of chance with the crew - the drawing of lots which God used to communicate to the uncircumcised that it was Jonah's God who was causing the storm due to his rebellion.

Reflection 3:

Jonah fell into a deep sleep. He slept through the boat tossing and turning in a violent storm, so much so that the crew fighting for survival above deck had exhausted all their means to survive - prayed to their gods, threw things overboard and finally querying if that other man below deck may be able to pray to his God for help - so they woke him up! How can any man sleep through that. Eventually these men came to believe in the God of the Hebrews Yehweh.

Reflection 4:

In one word Jonah's identity was realised. 'I am a Hebrew'.... That is all it took. These foreigners had done trade with Hebrews before, they knew what it meant. They were not going to hurt a Hebrew so they tried to throw things overboard to spare his life but in the end, they begged the God of the Hebrews to forgive them for what they were going to do to one of His children...
The storm calmed.
The men believed in the God of the Hebrews

Reflection 5:

Jonah tried to hide amongst unbelievers - as if God wouldn't be able to find him! We do this! Have you heard Christians say that sometimes it is better to do business with unbelievers because they are nicer? It does tend to be true that the body of Christ want's things cheaper, more discounts, service for nothing... But shouldn't it be that way anyway??????? If all things belong to our Father, and we truely are provided for by Him, should it be wrong to charge our brother or sister for things that rightfully belong to our Father anyway? And thus in turn rightfully belong to us? I struggle so much with this one because everyone just wants money......... you give and give and give, and people just take and take and take....
Jonah paid his way, stayed out of the way as a passenger, and owned up to the truth when it was required. He did what was right when in the presence of the uncircumcised.
A bigger magnifying glass may be needed the next time we 'take' from our Family in our Heavenly Father.

Jonah was such a good read that I expect to be feeding on this word for a while.
Be blessed! I know I am.

Mentor? Me? Yes you...

Throughout my life I have had many, and I mean many women impart their wisdom and life lessons into me, mentoring and inspiring me. Of special mention would be the long suffering women of the Emerald Christian Fellowship in Emerald, CQ - you know who you are!
Forgive me if I waffle - skip to the end if you just want the main point of this blog :)

A little about my mentoring journey.

From a strong confident young adult, a bit confused about life at times and just at the beginning of finding freedom in adulthood, I grew to understand the human condition and the hold it had on me (namely my own freewill and the sin that comes with it)
My testimony may not include addictions and abuse, however rebellion was bound up in this soul and opinion ran high. In my struggles I recall people telling me I was from Satan and others saying that my strength was from God. These viewpoints of myself confused my identity even more and concreted a self despising that I was to carry for decades, stealing my confidence around other people and in my abilities.
                      Constant comparisons with other women had me questioning myself - 'Can I?'; 'Can't I?'; "If they can then I can.'; 'If they approve then it must be ok'...... I weighed myself and my character up against others and therein sort acceptance within my own skin.

It wasn't until I was in my early 40's that I started to be the real me...
Though still lacking in confidence and identity, I began to ask ME what I was like rather than relying on other people's analysis.
                      I had a realisation one day. Just before my 40th birthday, it dawned on me...If God my Father had not seen fit to change me even though I had tearfully begged him, perhaps this is the person He had created me to be. So within that revelation, my journey of self discovery within the safe confines of my relationship with Jesus, I started to settle.

What does it look like to accept who we are? Can I be the created design of myself and still grow and change?
I now know that my build is a patented and unique design, not to be duplicated. I have heard comments on my abilities to do this or that, and I do believe that I have been created fearfully and wonderfully, what that looks like though I am still trying to figure out. 
I get on with most people if they could be bothered to sit and talk a while. I have encountered people who don't like me from the 'get go', and those that don't even want to meet me, fair enough. I understand now that I have an effect on people that I cannot control, but mostly I have grown to be aware of other people around me and work at loving.
I am so thankful to the likes of Mary S, Narelle P, My Mother-in-law, Jenny H, Pam, Ricki, Sheila, oh how that list can go on.. There are women who don't know they had an effect on me, Jan, Christine, Vera, Patty, Carol, Carolyn, Ruth.... And then there are those who have imparted so much to my life, yet would think otherwise - Esther, Elisha, Sarah, Jacky, Wendy F, Sue, Jenny, Jo, Helen... 
I simply can't mention them all.

I have held for a couple of decades that mentoring is a critical component of ministry. We could easily replace that word with 'discipleship'. To do as Jesus did, to be an imitator. There is no collective thought in Christianity as we are all unique and special, but there are the same guidelines and standards to which we have been called. Discipling is one of those directives and needs to be deliberate.
'Let the older women instruct the younger women how to...'
Some actively obey, some simply have open hearts/lives/arms. 

Here it is...
I want to call on those who are tired, lack confidence and feel they have nothing to offer. The enemy has stolen from you the joy that should be yours as the daughter of a King, to train up those who are yet to learn.
I sat in front of a dear lady at Church recently. She had a running commentary throughout the worship session and sermon. She commented on how it was done in her day and mocked and mimicked. It was sad, how could anyone have an open heart to hear Jesus while they harp on so much. If we have a strong opinion about everything how can we learn - a closed book or an old wine skin!
The Lord feeds us daily with new wine - but the old wine skin will burst as the new wine expands. Older people generally cannot cope with changes, however older Christians who should be renewed every morning seem to forget that when they were young they had to fight to even clap in Church, let alone pray! They hold on to the 'good old days' but seem to forget the lessons they also had to learn.

Let me finish with this - until your last breath you will be serving the Lord by loving others (or at least that is your calling), If not to receive and impart love, then what is life but existence. 
Answer His call to love - share deliberately. Mentor....... you can change a persons direction with your words, and their lives with your love, the love of Jesus.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Chocolate Cake & Sin

Would you eat a little piece of chocolate cake if I told you I put the tip of a teaspoon of 'poo' in it? Of course not!
But that is what sin is like - a little piece of 'poo' in a chocolate cake.
We were fearfully and wonderfully made. That's right, hand crafted. Loved so much that our Creator sacrificed Himself to eradicate that little piece of poo, that part of us that should not be there... sin.
We disobeyed an instruction, though we had the world we needed more. That disobedience led to disappointment, shame, fear, broken relationships and a changed path.

Though I am talking about the Garden of Eden, I am focusing on parenting. Our children do exactly that. They sin (as do we), and their hearts are also full of the same disappointment in themselves. As a parent it is important that we catch our children doing the wrong thing, because a little bit of 'poo' can contaminate the whole cake, we need to help them by taking off our rose coloured glasses as far as their cuteness to us, and putting on the belt of truth (as in the first part of the Armour of God) calling our children to account.
If we do not deal with our children's issues, they grow into adults with bigger issues.
Greed, mean speech, stealing, deceit, selfishness...... It is obviously not just our children that struggle with these things, clearly we do as well, however, it is our responsibility to teach our children and train them in the way they should go.
I love my children dearly, and because of that I want to give them the best that I can, in order to do that I need to hold them accountable, and in turn, grow them into lovely people so they can become the person they were meant to be..
This is a hard, tiring job, but rewarding. I love my children.

Be blessed today 

Monday, 10 November 2014

A Bumpy Road

A Bumpy Road

I must apologise! This last year has been a very difficult year to say the least. I have not felt so lonely yet the whole time I have been in fellowship with my loving Father. 

I will share a little of what has been going on - but please know that I fully accept that this is God's path for me.......

With my daughter being away all year on her own journey, I had to tackle the next biggest challenge as my son left home for the Army. The realisation that he would never live at home again hit hard.

Aged 17, he joined the Army, left home and moved interstate. We heard from him every few weeks, when he would inform us of all the hard things he had been doing... 
I wasn't there when he cut his finger and needed stitches...
I wasn't there when he cracked his tooth.. or when he was sleep deprived... or tear gassed.....

My maternal instinct has been in overdrive! Sleep left me for some months as I tossed and turned, woken in a fright for his safety. Never have I prayed so much. I stopped going out and would find myself sitting on the lounge all day waiting for my little girls to get home - a reason to get up and do something.

I have spent most of the year feeling lost as a Mother, the role I thought I was supposed to be doing but was being taken off me little by little, and I was not ready or prepared.

Did I prepare him well enough to be away from me? 
Did I teach him everything he needed to know about other people?
Was he eating enough, getting enough sleep, have any health issues?
Who was looking out for my boy?
Did people realise he was only 17? Still a kid, or were they treating him like the older men and yelling at him.. breaking him.....

My saving grace was doing Bible Study every week, being in the word and in fellowship with Older Sisters who had been through the same heart breaking loss. I know, I know - my kids were not/are not dead... but I couldn't check on their safety at night, tuck them in, or ask about their days, I was reminded they were not here everyday as I had to learn how to adjust my cooking for a family of 6 instead of 8.

Is this the way it is going to be now? One by one they grow up and leave...
I didn't sign up for that - I signed up for family... messy mucky busy intense noisy fun family. 

The Lord has pulled me through in the most gentlest of ways. He has confirmed that He loves them more then me and is strong enough to keep them.
I don't know how long it will take me to get through this stage of life but I will endeavour to start sharing my life lessons with the Lord from the Word again.... 

He is good and His mercies endures forever.