"God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness."
-Freda Hanbury Allen

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


"...By His wounds we are healed."  Isaiah 53:5

There is no escaping
No avoiding the pain
Hurtling towards us
It takes our breath away
We are bruised and bleeding
Desperate for healing
All around the carnage lies
There's nowhere to avert our eyes
We want to see more than what is
We want to feel more than scars on our skin

Our dreams fall, shattering
A million pieces splintering
Cutting us more deeply
Than we could ever imagine
A darkness closes in
We are huddled - lost and broken
We can't bear to be accused
No room for blame, no excuse
We need more than salt
Poured on our wounds

And there - quietly He stands
Wounds in feet and scars in hands
Reaching out to hold us
Reaching out to heal
Whispering our name
His mercy covering shame
Love like blood pouring down
Redeeming all the hurt we've ever known
In this hallowed moment see
It's by His wounds we are healed

Friday, July 24, 2015

In Its Time

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

        Being time-bound as we are, it is hard to fathom eternity. It is a concept we ponder when we are confronted with the realities of death and the promised joys of heaven, but when it breaks into our mundane lives that tend to brim with frustrations, disappointments, and pain, it is jarring. We read the verse, "He has made everything beautiful in its time" and unconsciously (or consciously) change it to "makes" because it surely can't mean what is says when so much of what we see around us is broken, defaced and ugly. But there it is, "has made" staring us in the face. Declaring something has already happened when we see so little proof. And so it is - the collision of time and eternity. That which has occurred in eternity dawning on the shores of time. Beauty being declared and slowly revealed in all of God's creation, but for each and every part - in its own time.
        We were made for beauty because we were made by and for the Beautiful One. Beauty originates in him, and we, as image-bearers, have the privilege to revel in all the beauty that God has gifted to us by his grace. It is all around us proclaiming the wonder of him who calls forth beauty from ashes. It flows in and through our lives, pulsating to the rhythm of our Creator's heart. And just as there is complexity and otherness in our Creator, so beauty has a complexity to it. It takes on many forms, some more obvious in their display, others quite subtle and even hidden. Sometimes the most beautiful is buried beneath what to us is utterly hideous and we miss the gift. The catch for us, who now see dimly, is to allow the One who is perfect in beauty to give us eyes to see that which he calls beautiful. We need to see with his eyes and trust his heart that who we are, the circumstances we face, the people around us, and all that we see has been made beautiful in its time.
        The Beautiful One entered time and became ugly and deformed in the eyes of the world in order to form and reveal his beauty in us and in those around us. He surrendered the incomparable beauty of heaven and and all its glory to give us the privilege of sharing in his glory. He relinquished his breathtaking beauty to reveal the wondrous beauty of God; to bring God down to us so that we could draw near. Only through the profound ugliness of the cross can we ever begin to comprehend true beauty. Only through the cross are we made beautiful. It is only through the collision of time and eternity that we get to see this beauty slowly revealed in time.
        And there it is; what we find ourselves constantly wrestling with. Time. We become  so quickly and easily discouraged at how long it takes for us to see any real change, any lasting beauty in our hearts and lives. Yet in the midst of our frustration something beautiful is happening - gradually, almost imperceptibly. The eternal is claiming its territory, redeeming the irredeemable. If we still our hearts and look with spiritual eyes, we will see the steady unveiling of what has already been accomplished eternally - the salvation of our souls, our very lives. Our Father God is never and can not ever be late. He transcends time, as does his plan. He has no beginning and knows no end and so "He has made everything beautiful in its time."
        When we take God at his word we are granted a glimpse of eternity. We know and believe the Beautiful One has all things in his Sovereign hand and is working them out to manifest his beauty and glory "in time". Everything - including us and our broken-down lives, has been made beautiful - it is already a reality and we are seeing it unveiled; yes, slowly, and from our vantage point, painstakingly, in its time - which is perfect because it is God's time. And so we have hope.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Most Excellent Way

"And now I will show you the most excellent way...." I Corinthians 13:1

One of the hardest truths taught by our Lord when he walked this earth was, "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." It is so counter-intuitive. From the time we are very young we realize we are in a precarious position and we learn fast to protect ourselves at any cost. At the first taste of pain we shrink back, afraid, and look for ways to guard our tender hearts from feeling that ragged tear ever again. Life is relentless though and so is pain, so we decide we have no recourse but to take matters into our own hands and do whatever necessary to save ourselves.

Even after we hear the voice of the Spirit stirring us to new life and take the first few bold steps in a new direction that will lead us Home we realize that our surroundings look awfully similar. There is a new path, new life, new destination, but the longings, losses, disappointments and pain are all too familiar. We get a sinking feeling that we are still on our own and this new path almost seems sinister. So we do what is so reflexive, so natural, so understandable. We get out our bricks and mortar and do what we have always done - continue to build the wall around our hearts. The problem is that while this is understandable and natural, it is not what our Lord is calling us to.

Our Lord calls us away from the natural, and invites us, even challenges and commands us to enter the most dangerous and yet the only safe place that we can possibly be. It is not (yet) a place without hurt.
It is the only real way to save ourselves.
He is calling us to the supernatural.

Living a supernatural life means laying down the brick and mortar and letting our hearts feel - our pain and that of those around us.
It means giving with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
It means offering ourselves with no assurance of a gentle heart to welcome us.
It means laying down our defenses and our need to be right.
It means walking in the presence of our Lord and that being enough...more than enough.
It means embracing all the things we won't ever have and discovering He is all that we need.
It means trusting our Lord to carry the weight of our loneliness.
It means trusting our Lord to mend our brokenness.
It means trusting our Lord to fill our emptiness.
It means trusting that our Lord is life.
Living supernaturally is to love our Lord and our neighbor without restraint.
It is the only way to save ourselves.
It is the most excellent way.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you...But when you ask him, make sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waiver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind...Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do...
Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father...He never changes or casts a shifting shadow."
                 James 1:5-6, 8, 17

           "If any of you lacks wisdom..." James was being polite when he phrased it this way, because we all find ourselves overwhelmed at times in the throws of uncertainty, unsure what to do, what to even think. Our need for wisdom stems from the reality of our human frailty and the trials and trouble that come through the events of time. Nothing is static. Everything changes - sometimes slowly, sometimes at breakneck speed, and sometimes in a split second blink of an eye. And yet we are called to be steadfast, settled, stable in the midst of a constantly shifting and changing existence. How in the world - this time-whipped, time-bound, life-altering world do we stand steady, sure-footed and still? How, as it says in Proverbs, do we "laugh at the days to come", knowing full well what that can mean at any given moment?
         Faith. Within the depths of God's wisdom and love he intentionally made Faith the cornerstone of our lives and well being. There is no salvation apart from it, and no true "living" without it. Graciously, out of the generous heart of God, he gives us the very gift of Faith through which all of His other good and perfect gifts come, including wisdom. We are not left to conjure it, earn it, or somehow create it. But we are given the choice whether or not to walk in it.
         There are different ways of seeing, of looking at our lives and the world. One way gives us spiritual eyes of faith that allow us to live at peace in the midst of the constant change and loss, keeping eternity in view. The other way clouds our spiritual vision and keeps us focused on the world, trying to make what can't last be eternal. It is this view that can make us believe that what we see slipping away is what we should grab a hold of and try to save, or it can cause us to throw up our hands, give up and give in - to quit. This is where we end up being blown and tossed, because in our humanness, on any given day - even within milli-second moments,  we swing back and forth between the two - clawing and grabbing or giving up. We so badly don't want to be vulnerable, to hurt, to lose, to have to adjust to more change, to mourn more of what we can't have or ever get back. We want time to stop just enough to recoup some of our losses, regain some sense of control, grasp anything we can, when all the while it is our unseen Abba Father, who never changes, that we should cling to. He, after all, is already holding us in his eternal grip. This is wisdom, true wisdom - letting ourselves be held, and clinging to Him alone who is the Unchanging One. It is in this sacred place of surrender, born out of love and faith, that we become settled and at rest, able to truly live.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."  Proverbs 14:12

        Death isn't always physical, and is isn't necessarily always eternal, but it is death, none the less. We are beings created in the image of God, and so like him we have creative choice in our lives. Within the framework of God's sovereignty, we have been given an immense amount of freedom to choose, and because of his grace we are not bound by the law, but Spirit-directed and heart focused. Yet in the midst of this of freedom and grace there come those times when we approach a crossroad in our lives, and the real choice we are making, regardless of the specifics involved, is ultimately a choice of life or death.
        Like Adam and Eve, we each stand in the middle of our garden, looking around at all that we have been offered, blessings given in countless measure, and the abundance that has been bestowed on us out of God's gracious hand, even in the midst of brokenness. We gaze upon the beauty, and revel in it, until our eyes settle on that which hasn't been given, that which we don't possess. Amazingly, just like Adam and Eve, we begin to lose perspective and start to work out ways to get what has not been granted to us by the loving hand of God.
        The places that tripped up Adam and Eve, trip us up even now. We nod knowingly when we read their account because what drove them to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil drives us to those places of death in our own lives. We begin to question God and his goodness. We question his wisdom and control. We wonder at his provision and why he withholds those things we so deeply long for. We doubt his heart of love towards us and believe we know better how we are wired and what we need.  Our lack of trust and belief in God, along with our pride, so easily lead us to justify our choices and make them seem like not just the right way, but the only way. It seems right that we should have the things that aren't all necessarily bad in and of themselves, but when pursued and grasped apart from the Lord, are the way of death.
         There are the crossroads we hit in the mundane moments and sometimes they seem so small we miss what they are - moments of life or death. In our actions and reactions we offer life or cause mini-deaths to the hearts of those around us, and thus to our own hearts as well. Death leaves no one unscathed. Little justifications seemingly so insignificant, but life and death are still at the heart of every choice. We steal from the heart of another the love that we should receive from the Lord and offer in our open hands without demands. In the moments of terror when we start to believe that we don't have what we need and it is the obligation of others to give, we turn away from the endless supply of the Lord and take that which isn't ours and give death in return. There is nothing another person can give us that we don't already have in the Lord, yet we demand more of them than the Lord does of us and make them be to us what we can't ever be to to them. It seems so right in the moment - claiming what is ours (or we believe should be), but it is the path that leads to death.
        Then there are the crossroads we face in our lives that loom large which prove to be the most life-altering in the end. It is at this point that we are so vulnerable and the stakes so high: God/life, or Self/death. Sometimes we see through the lies and deception and sometimes we barrel through with our own will. It is in these moments of self-will that we go against God (whether we are conscious of it or not), who we believe to be holding out on us. This is when the devil's lies seem to hold a particular weight of truth that outweighs what our hearts at another time would never consider. It is in these moments that our heart's true condition is revealed. How hard it is to recognize the deception. It all made so much sense to Eve. Eating from the tree seemed like the right way. Of course knowledge would make her wiser, her life better. How hard it is to surrender our hearts when what we desire is so easily justified. How painful it is to lay down our arms that we have taken up against God's way. How desperate we feel when we imagine life unchanged, dreams unfulfilled, and our heart's desires never realized. How right it felt to Eve to pull the beautiful, luscious fruit from the tree. How good did that first taste seem before it's bitter aftertaste overwhelmed not just her mouth, but her heart as well? How easily we are deceived. How stealthily death takes on the appearance of life.
         The grace that gives us freedom to choose is the same grace that whispers conviction and invitation when we've taken the wrong way. Just as the prodigal son came to his senses, so God's Spirit is nudging us back to ours, beckoning us to return to the path of God. It is His kindness that leads to repentance. The gentle voice of the Spirit is inviting us to return to the Lord, to his love, and to his heart that only ever wants the best and most beautiful for us. This too is a crossroads. There is always a choice. There is always grace.      

Sunday, February 15, 2015


"The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."  Isaiah 58:11

        Faith. A gift. A shield. Provision and protection. There is such beauty in the grace of our loving, sovereign God who bestows what he requires, and provides for our protection. And in the midst of his generous abundance, praises those in whom he sees his gift on display. Faith. Belief. The gift and the appropriation. He gives faith. We choose whether or not we are going to walk in that faith, in the truth of who he is no matter what chaos and hurt is pressing sharply into our hearts.
        There is something about this life that seems to scream so much more loudly than the quiet whispers of truth that our souls know by heart. It clamors for our attention; it screeches and wails so it seems more real and palpable than the One who has promised to never leave us. But things are not always what they seem. He is here. He is who he says he is and will do what he has promised.
        "The Lord will guide you always..." Our God has a plan and he goes before us preparing the way. He reveals the next step when the way has been prepared and when he knows we are ready. He will provide the wisdom as we wait on him. He offers peace in the midst of the unknowns of our future because he has it all ordered to accomplish his good. He will lead and guide - first and foremost to himself, and then in the paths of righteousness that he has cleared before us. Hear his whisper above the din, "Believe. I will guide you always." He will provide a way and it will always lead us deeper and deeper into his heart.
        "He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame..."
Sun-scorched. Dry. Parched. Barren. Empty. Lifeless. This is where we get tripped up. It is here the fear starts creeping in and spreading like wild fire. Where the roar of the flames come so close to drowning out the quiet voice of peace gently speaking words of life into our hearts. We don't want promises that involve the sun-scorched land because we know it's out there and it's going to burn. We so badly don't want to hurt. We are so afraid of pain. But here is His voice dowsing the flames of fear, "I will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land." If we are willing to listen; if we choose to believe, we'll see that it is the land that is burned dry, not us. His promise is to satisfy our needs even while everything around us is shriveling and dying in the glare of brokenness. He will strengthen us and provide all that we need to thrive in the searing pain of the wasteland.
        "You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." Could there be anything more beautiful than this when set against the sun-scorched land? It is promised that we will be vibrant beings, flourishing in the abundance of God's blessing in the midst of the barren land that surrounds us and seems endless. Cracks in the parched earth chase at our heels and the dry, hot air weighs heavy. We start believing we are part of the lifeless ground and begin to fade into it. But there is that voice, beckoning us back to truth, to himself, to life overflowing, to his promise. We are not our circumstances. We are not the pain. We are not arid, forlorn beings succumbing to our surroundings. When we believe God's promise we are a like a well-watered garden - full of life, lush with growth, overflowing with joy and yes, like a spring whose waters never fail. Why? Because that spring is the Holy Spirit.  As we live by faith, believing God is who he says he is and will do what he has promised, no matter how dry and barren the earth around us, the love and joy of the Spirit flow in and through us. We become an oasis in the sun-scorched land, offering hope and strength to others who are overwhelmed and tempted to be overcome by the wasteland.
         God always says what he means. He is faithful even when we are faithless, but how much we miss of Him when we let the fear-filled keening of the sun-scorched land drown out the magnificence of his presence, his truth and his promises, which are new every morning. "He will satisfy your needs...He will strengthen your frame...You will be like a well watered garden...You will be like a spring whose waters never fail...." You will be. We WILL be! Oh, by the grace of God, by the faith given by God, by choosing to believe in the Word of God and the heart of God, We will be!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Gift of Remembrance

"I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.
   Open wide your mouth and I will fill it." Psalm 81:10

        The Lord knows we forget. He understands that at times our memories are short. We get distracted, we get distraught. Worries of this life crowd out what we know is true, and Who we know is faithful. Consistently throughout Scripture, the Lord exhorted his people to set up memorials, and celebrate festivals to remember. Remember Him. Remember what he has done. But in the beauty of his grace, he doesn't just expect us to remember his goodness on our own, he is actively reminding us as well.
        "I am the Lord your God..." He always begins with himself. There is nothing greater, nor a more compelling starting point than this. He establishes his authority and rightful rule, "I am the Lord..." He who created all things, is above all things, in all things, sustains all things and in his very essence is love itself, is sufficient. Even if he never did anything for us, just who he is would be reminder enough. But he doesn't stop with himself. He gets personal. He includes us when he declares, "I am the Lord YOUR God..." He is love and love, by definition, is relational. Love acts. He works. Love intervenes. He pursues. Love fights - and He wins. Love comforts. He carries. Love enters in. He sets free...and he helps us remember.
        "...Who brought you out of Egypt." Our mighty, loving God acted. He delivered. He brought his people out of bondage and offered them the only true place of freedom - life with him. God always reminds us first and foremost who he is because he wants us to trust his heart. Then he brings back to our remembrance what he has done. He gently reminds us what he has delivered us from. "And such were some of you." Slaves to sin. In bondage to the enemy. But God, with the blood of his Son, purchased our freedom, freeing us to live as his treasured possession. Not only have we been redeemed, but we have been granted value and worth in direct proportion to what God paid to redeem us. There is no greater love than this.
        "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it." With these words, born out of his eternal abundance, God offers more. Can there even be more when our infinite God has already given us himself? There are no limits to the gifts and grace of God, because God himself knows no limit. Out of the Infinite pours the extravagant, the boundless, the endless, beyond imagination blessings of God. Not only are we reminded of who God is and what he has done, God throws open the floodgates of mercy - knowing how quickly our memories fade, and reminds us of what he WILL do. He gives assurance that no matter what comes, he is there pouring out grace upon grace, blessing upon blessing out of his eternal supply. In this moment, let us build our own memorial of remembrance within our hearts, and with faith and confidence in who God is, what he has done, and what he promises to do, let us open wide our mouths that the Lord may fill us to overflowing.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Is This the Time?

"I want to know Christ..." Philippians 3:10a

        Suffering. Just the word itself hurts; it weighs heavy and hard. It bears a touch of the infinite, making it feel endless. There is no sugar-coating suffering. It commands our attention and leaves no room for denial. In its relentlessness it offers no mercy, no relief.
        We were promised suffering; assured that trouble will assail us from all sides. It shouldn't catch us by surprise, but it does every time. We gasp for air and try to understand what won't ever make sense. It was a promise. "In this world you will have trouble." And sometimes we get stuck there, in the trouble. We get lost, lose our way. We forget who made the promise along with the rest of his words..."But I have overcome the world."
         Jesus promised trouble. In our weaker moments, that's hard to accept. Just like his disciples kept wondering when the kingdom would be restored, when he would make everything right, we wonder.  We look around in confusion, wanting answers; wanting relief. We keep looking up waiting for the heavens to part and his kingdom to come. We can't help asking along with the disciples, "Is this the time?" But it isn't the time, and his answer to us is the same as it was to his followers, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority..." Oh, to trust the Father's time while the suffering feels infinite, while the weight bears down, and believe Jesus has overcome the world; that in him we can overcome. And not just overcome, but to know more deeply the one who suffered more than we ever will. Because while we want victory, we want purpose too. We need our hurt and pain to have meaning, for there to be a point to all that cuts so deep.
        "To know Christ..." That is the point. He is the point. Knowing him in a way we otherwise never could is the purpose, and in the end, the privilege. Sometimes we buckle under the weight and burden of our hurt, our eyes grow blurry with tears while we look up and cry, "Is this the time?!" We so badly want the pain to stop. But while it isn't yet time, we know that in the midst of the desolation and unrelenting suffering, He is infinitely worth it all.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Question

"What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him.  Mark 10:51

       Bartimaeus, Son of Timaeus. He is named. He belongs to someone, or at least used to. He had a family, a history. But apparently there is no one to care for him any longer. He has no position, no livelihood, no ability to take an active part in the community. He is often in the way of people passing by, an intrusion in the lives of those around him as he daily begs for money so he can eat. Very few want to be bothered by someone else's desperation and endless need. To some it's an affront to their status, to others it creates fear, and to many it is too much of a reminder of their own weakness and need. It makes them all feel vulnerable in ways they try to deny. But, here he is. Day in and day out on the side of the road. Waiting. Listening. Hoping to hear the clinking of coins drop in his cup; likely hearing snide remarks of passers-by.
        There is something about sitting by the side of the road everyday. Even without sight you observe things. You can feel and hear the buzz of conversations and news all around. There had been enough chatter of a "Jesus of Nazareth" that Bartimaeus was aware of who he was, and perhaps had spent many hours sitting in his familiar darkness imagining what it would be like if he ever got to meet Jesus. On this particular day, he got his chance. Jesus walks by with a large crowd following, a large crowd full of the kinds of people Bartimaeus was confronted with everyday - the ones that dismiss him and ignore him. He is desperate to be heard, so he cries out as loudly as he can, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Bartimaeus is declaring a truth that many in the crowd reject - that Jesus is the promised "Son of David". Bartimaeus is used to being humiliated, so when the crowd rebukes him and tries to "put him in his place", he cries out even louder, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" This blind man can see what most in the crowd, with their sight, cannot. He sees his desperate need for mercy and knows Jesus is the only one who can give it. Jesus stops. He calls for Bartimaeus and asks, "What do you want me to do for you?" His answer, "I want to see."
        "I want to see." Isn't that our heart's cry? We are keenly aware of the darkness, of those areas where we so desperately need to be healed. We want light to shine in. We want the sheer brilliance of Christ's presence to dispel the shadows. Like Job, we have heard of him, now we want to see. We want to see Him. We believe Jesus is who he says he is. We know he is our only hope. Yet, at times we sit by the side of the road waiting, listening; lost in our familiar darkness. All the while we could throw aside our cloak and come to Jesus who is already here gently asking us the same question he asked Bartimaeus, "What do you want me to do for you?" There is no other answer worth giving or equal to our need than, "I want to see. I want to see You!" And therein lies our healing.  

Friday, January 9, 2015


"She...has given everything she has."  Luke 21:4

        There is no hint in Scripture that the widow knew she was being observed as she dropped the two copper coins into the offering box with her work-worn hands. It wasn't the first time she had made her way to the Temple to give an offering and surely wasn't the last. Each and every time God had watched, and all along he had seen her heart. But this time her God was there in the flesh - Jesus, taking notice and making others take notice, without the widow ever knowing. And Jesus wants us to take notice of this snapshot moment captured by him and projected for all the world to see through his Word.
        A widow. Alone. Poor. Not much to live on, much less to give away. Yet her heart is rich with love and devotion to God, and it finds its extravagant expression through her lack. It wasn't coins she was really giving. She was, at the heart level, giving all of herself to God. Jesus, having seen her all along, cries out to his followers on this day, at this moment,  "That's love. That's faith. That's trust. That's what my people do! That's what I am calling you to. That's what I'm doing for you - giving my all!" He came in poverty for relationship, was going to die for love and wanted everyone to see through the beauty of this widow what religion could never be and the religious never do. Love. Extravagantly.
        A widow. Alone. Poor. Not much to live on, much less to give away. Yet her heart was humble and kneeled to God. No one saw her, really saw her. She likely moved throughout her days within the close-knit community with the pity of the people, perhaps given a nod and a smile, but no status, no favor. But all the while, unseen, was the favor of God welling up, waiting to overflow the day Jesus is there in the Temple observing. She was so oblivious to her own self she didn't notice anyone watching. She came, she gave, she turned to leave. But she was seen. Really seen. Deep down beneath the surface seen. Jesus looks deep. He sees underneath. He gazes below to the humble heart kneeled down and lifts her up. "Humble yourselves under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." Jesus lifted her up, not just to those there with him that day, but to us all. She was lifted up in due time, in a way that honored her heart and let her be truly seen. We don't have her name, but we have her story, because it is meant to be our story too.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Let the Children Come

Let the children come
...I came as one of these

Let the children come
...Their tender hearts reflect my own

Let the children come
...I came for ones like these

Do not hinder them
...For like them you must become

For the Kingdom of God Belongs to Such as These
...I came as a child
...I obeyed as a son
...I was led like a lamb
...I gave up my life
...I was raised up in power
...I was given all authority
...I am seated on the throne
...I rule because I became like one of these

Let the little children come and do not hinder them,
For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.