5 Ways to 'Fall Forward'

As a young woman, I faced the fall season with anxiety and excitement. Anxiety because the upcoming school year and holiday schedule seemed daunting. Excitement because—well,
Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Over the years, I created a formula to help me Fall Forward with strength and wisdom. I wanted to face each September with a positive outlook and plan, so I set aside one morning to prepare my heart, home, health, hospitality and hands for a more productive fall.

Here’s how you can prepare to Fall Forward too.

1. HEART: Fall Forward with Faith

Perhaps some readers saw the title of this article and thought about moving forward after a painful fall into sin. That’s actually part of this!

There’s nothing like moving forward
 after defeat with a clean slate.

I asked the Lord to show me where I’d fallen away from following Him, to reveal unrecognized ways I’d failed Him in love, obedience and service. Then I moved forward biblically with repentance, confession and renewed faith (1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 5:7).

Also, because the Lord is our first priority, our faith must center in Him. Abiding in Christ, we will not work under our own steam; and walking in the Spirit, we will not act on sinful desires (John 15:4-5; Ephesians 5:16).

Ask God to powerfully accomplish His will in and through you this season, so you can live to the praise of His glory (Hebrews 13:21; Ephesians 5:15-17).

2. HOME: Fall Forward with Family

After the Lord, family is our second priority—our husband and children. And even if we are single, this could perhaps include extended family members who need our love and encouragement: a lonely aunt, a weary young mom, a rebellious-but-searching cousin, a fragile grandmother.

In my evaluation time, I considered my closest relationships, especially the people I love at my base of operations, my home. I wanted to root out any interactions that did not please the Lord, and start into the busy fall with a fresh sense of unity and teamwork (Ephesians 4:2-3). I wanted to encourage and “spur” my family on toward spiritual growth (Hebrews 10:24).

That meant I needed to ask forgiveness for offenses. I asked some family members and relatives to point out “blind spots” in my behavior—attitudes that needed improvement and positive actions to cultivate. I even took the 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge to rev up my marriage!

We can also extend our definition of “family.”

One year I decided to “adopt” some family for the holidays. I asked the Lord to point me toward people I could pray for and help in positive ways without embarrassing them. He showed me two singles in our church. I poured into their lives, and as the holiday season progressed, we gathered these new family members together for dinners and special events.

3. HEALTH: Fall Forward with Freedom 

There are many kinds of “health,” and we want freedom in each area.

For spiritual health, remember your freedom in Christ and embrace grace. Don’t beat yourself up, but rather cooperate with the Holy Spirit to conquer hindering and destructive sinful habits (Romans 8:1; Galatians 5:1).

For physical health, double-down on health efforts. There are so many temptations during the holiday season; and fall is already hectic, so keep it simple! 

Steward your body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, wisely (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Create new paths to freedom with healthier food options, or take time to prayer walk, or simply stretch and work on greater flexibility.

For mental health, examine your thoughts. Ask God to show you lies you are believing, or thoughts you’re harboring that might lead to sin (2 Corinthians 10:5; Mark 7:20-22; Philippians 4:8). There is great freedom in the Lord, and the truth of scripture (John 8:36; 2 Corinthians 3:17; Psalm 119:45; Colossians 1:21-23).

For emotional and social health, check your relationships. Clear the air of tension by cleaning away any relational rubbish so you can have more relational freedom. Think of ways to practice more love and service as evidences of your freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:13-14).

For financial health, look at your checkbook and your bills. Spread it all before the Lord and ask Him how He wants you to use your money and live in true financial freedom (Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 6:17-19).

4. HOSPITALITY: Fall Forward with Friendship

One of my favorite fall strategies is opening my home to make new friends—to watch for new people at church and help them feel welcome and wanted. Read about “The Heart of Hospitality” here.

Open your home to encourage believers at a Bible study, coffee chat, women’s tea, or even a fellowship “dinner club,” inviting a couple or single you know for fellowship. Set aside time for positive, challenging interactions. Be alert to encourage those who are struggling (Proverbs 17:17).

And don’t neglect friendships with those who don’t yet know Christ. Reject the “Christian bubble.” Reach out humbly and relate to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 9:22). Share your life as well as your testimony.

5. HANDS: Fall Forward with Fruitfulness   

The writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might” (9:10). Heading into fall, be proactive to use your time wisely and think of new ways to serve the Lord (Ephesians 5:16; Romans 12:11).

God gave each of us spiritual gifts and we have all developed unique skills over the years too, so we’ll want to be creative to encourage and help others (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-7). We can bear lasting, righteous fruit for God’s glory (John 15:16; Galatians 5:16, 22; 6:9).

Also, as the holidays approach, consider using purposeful creativity to make meaningful gifts that might meet people’s needs or draw them to the Savior.

Which of these “fall forward” ideas can you put into practice today?
Father God, help us launch into the fall season with a fresh plan to honor you and bless others for Jesus’ sake. Amen.


America: "Seek the Lord and Live"

The prophet Amos carried a message of judgment to God's people, Israel, but with another message of hope.

As I read the words in Chapter 5, I'm struck by how many of these pronouncements could apply to my country today. 

"...many and great are your sins... you take bribes, you refuse justice to the poor... Be good, flee evil... Then the Lord God of Hosts will truly be your Helper, as you have claimed he is. ... remodel your courts into true halls of justice ... I hate your show and pretense--your hypocrisy of honoring' me ...Away with your hymns of praise--they are mere noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. I want to see a mighty flood of justice--a torrent of doing good." (Amos 5:12-24, LB).

That's a lot to take in.

  • Many and great sins.
  • Bribery.
  • Not caring for the poor.
  • A court system that not always just.
  • Hypocrisy in God's people"show and pretense."

Sound like any country you know?

Yet repeatedly throughout this chapter we read words of hope: "seek the Lord."

  • "... Seek meand live." (v. 4)
  • "Seek the Lord and live..." (v. 6)
  • "Seek Him who created the Seven Stars and the constellation,Orion... The Lord, Jehovah, is His name." (v. 8)

I read these words in verse 15 soberly:

"Perhaps even yet the Lord of Hosts will have mercy...."

We need to pray for revival in this country.
We need to pray for revival in our churches.
We need to pray for revival in our families.
But we need to first pray for revival in our own hearts.

Watch the news.
Look at what's going on in the culture.
Don't be afraid to examine what's going on in your church.
Think about family sins and failures to teach our children the ways of the Lord.
Examine your own heart.

It's so apparent we are going down a foolish and dangerous road away from the Lord.

America, who knows if God will yet be merciful to us.

"Seek the Lord and Live."

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Lightstock


Less Is Best so God Can Bless

When mentioning to a friend my desire to cut back on my food intake and the things I own in order to allow the Lord to bless others through my life, she said, "Oh, you are a minimalist."

No, not really, although that's not necessarily a bad thing or un-Christian. But I am coming to the conclusionat least for my own lifethat less is best so God can bless.

Let me explain.

Minimalism is the perspective or philosophy that simplicity, even sparseness, in life is the best way to live. Minimalists rid themselves of unused and "unneeded" things. They prefer a simple, uncluttered environment. (Think: the exact opposite of hoarding!)

They tend not to stockpile things for the future, and some don't even save money. They want to rid themselves of everything they don't need immediately. Some do so in order to help others with true immediate needs.

The Christian minimalist desires to join this philosophy with biblical teachings, and to some extent, that's feasible. Some Christians do live in a way similar to minimalism, but others own things, save money and even accumulate wealth.

It's entirely a matter of conscience. We should let the Holy Spirit guide us concerning what we possess and save. And the Spirit should also direct our giving.

It's true that Jesus owned little in this world—not even a place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20), but you won't see Him commanding his disciples to follow His example in this. 

The Lord had followers like His friends Lazarus, Martha and Mary, and women including Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna (John 12:1-5; Luke 8:1-3) who offered their own resources to support and care for the Lord! We also know Paul supported his own mission endeavors (1 Corinthians 9:1-27).

If Christian minimalism can help us worship the Lord in a meaningful way, this is good. If Christian minimalism can remind us to care for those who suffer or have needs, this is also good. But we can't use it as a yardstick for righteous behavior, because the scriptures only warn against greed and foolishness in regard to money and possessions—not possession of them (Luke 6:24; James 5:1-6; 1 Timothy 6:9).

The Bible encourages us to be generous, cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), no matter the amount of possessions and wealth we enjoy.

So why did I tell my friend, 
"less is best so God can bless"?

I had two things in mind.

1. I want to consume less so I can be healthy enough to minister to others for a long, long time.

I'm on a journey toward better health, and the Lord convicted me of my "disease of more." For years, I didn't just snack and eat, I inhaled great quantities of food.

That is changing. My Christian nutritionist finally got through to my heart. "How long do you want to continue ministering?" she asked.

And when I gave her a deer-in-headlights stare, she continued: "If you want to have a healthy body that will equip you to minister for a lifetime, you need to deal with your overeating."

My gluttony.

Lately, the Lord has been dealing with me severely about portion control. It's not just because there are "starving children in China," as my mom said when I didn't clean my plate as a kid—and that "clean plate" club is another concerning issue. 

I didn't even recognize anymore what a normal, healthy portion looked like. 

I'm learning to stop eating before I'm stuffed. Or even uncomfortable. 

I'm learning I can say, "That's enough." 

2. I've been accumulating much, much more than I'll ever need—and that needs to change.

I had a Costco mentality long before there was a Costco. It continually whispered, "more is better!"  
It's an easy mentality to develop in the United States where we have so much abundance.

I think I first noticed how crazy I've become about things when I looked at my collection of scissors. I had scissors for everything and in every room of the house. At one point, I counted 22 pair of scissors!

I felt the Lord prompting me, reminding me of an article I'd read about poor teachers who didn't have school supplies—paper, pens and pencils ... and scissors.

Over the weeks following that revelation, I looked in every cabinet and drawer in my house. 
  • Why did I need 33 vases
  • Why did I have drawers of jewelry
  • What possessed me to buy 42 pair of shoes
  • Why did I have 14 Bibles? 
Why was every space in my garage filled to overflowing? Was I in danger of resembling an episode of "Hoarders"?

So many questions.

Even if I could argue that all of these things weren't "wrong" to possess, how could I justify having so much when so many people struggle to get even one pair of shoes... or a single Bible?
I wept that day as I sensed the Spirit say, "Stop! You have enough."
I'm still thinking these things through, and that exercise is positive in itself. I'm deciding how to turn my revelations into positive action. It's not an easy process with years of accumulation, accompanied by memories associated with my "stuff." But I know the truth is "you can't take it with you." 

The only things that matter are the souls of people and the Word of God. And anything I can do to facilitate God using my life and resources to further those two priorities is a good thing. An excellent thing. 

I truly I want the Lord to bless others through my "bounty." And in that process, I want to have the opportunity to share how the Lord is the God of abundance, the ultimate Giver. 

I want to learn how to steward my abundance well. God may lead others in a different direction, but in my case, stewardship means sifting through my stuff and "distributing to the needs of the saints" (Romans 12:13a).

Truly, less (for me) is best so God can bless (others).

How about you? Have you discovered the importance—the joy—of converting your abundance into opportunities to bless others?

- Graphic adapted, courtesy of congerdesign at Pixabay.


If Not Now, When?

Every week, visiting my nutritionist, I see this rock. It's a constant reminder not to put off what I know the Lord is asking me to do today. 

It's a perspective Christians often set aside, thinking it is a little too "pushy." Maybe it requires too much effort. To some, it might even seem legalistic. Or maybe we're just lazy in regard to obedience and holiness.

As I leave the nutritionist and go home until the next appointment, I have a lot of choices to make regarding my health.

  • I can decide to make wiser choices about the kinds of food I eat, and how much.
  • I can choose to stock my cabinets and refrigerator with healthy foods... or not.
  • I can cite excuses for over-indulgence, or stick to the truth and steward my body.
  • I can choose to satisfy my cravings with healthy choices, or give in to the cravings of the flesh.
  • I can decide to be a good example of wisdom and self-control to my children and grandchildren.

One choice I do not have is to put off what the Lord is clearly speaking to me about in His Word and through prayerthat I must OBEY Him in regard to my health and my personal idol, gluttony.

The rock says, "If not now, when?" 

Or in the words of the writer of Proverbs:
"Don't put it off. Do it now. Don't rest until you do."

God wants me to be diligent and prudent, not asleep and lazy regarding His will.

Solomon expanded on this theme:

"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest."

I need to wake up, be wise and get busyto make the kinds of choices that will please the Lord. I need to make the best use of my time in obeying the Lord. And I need to remember what I sow will reap a harvest for good or evil, health or dysfunction.

Christians tend to focus on the sins of commission, those things we do that are not right. Things that displease the Lord.

And certainly we need to check ourselves and allow God to examine our hearts so we can root out the habits, addictions and idolatries that hinder our walk with the Lord and our testimony and ministry for Him.

But the Word of God takes that one step further.

The New Testament writer James says,
"Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, 
for him it is sin." 

These are the sins of omission. Things that are right, good and holy that we fail to do, for one reason or another. And that also displeases the Lord.

The apostle Paul juxtaposes sins of commission and omission in Romans 7:14-20. He wrote that he does what he knows is wrong, and he fails to do what he knows he should do. And he is not alone in that assessment.

Both are an evidence of our conflict with the flesh as believers having a new nature in Christ. We are dead to sin and alive to God, but we still have choices to make. Will we "become obedient from the heart"? Will we "walk habitually in newness of life," abandoning our old ways? Will we live "as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness"?

This is the "If not now, when?" choice for me. Others might put off obeying the Lord in regard to their health. But that is not for me to judge. God is calling ME to be diligent, obedient, wise and holy in my choices.

It doesn't really matter if others do the same.

No matter whether the Lord is dealing with our health, our finances, our relationshipswhateverwe must be sure we are following and obeying Him. As the old hymn proclaims, "Though none go with me, still I will follow."

Years ago I read a little tract titled "Others Can, You Cannot" by G.D. Watson. It changed my life. An audio version of this tract is linked here, and I encourage you to listen.

My heart's desire is to follow hard after the Lord, and I can't be careless or lazy about that. God says, "Be holy, for I am holy." That doesn't just happen. It's all about resting in His good grace and making wise and godly choices that grow out of our gratefulness and desire to be His holy Bride. I want to hear the "Well done" from my Father God.

And the time is short. Whether Jesus returns soon or not is not the issue. Our lives are a short vapor, we're all terminal, and we will all appear before Himin Christ with our sins forgiven, but still receiving "what is due."

What's important now is, what will we do with our lives? 
What choices will we make that count for eternity? 
How will we steward our bodies, talents and gifts, resources, ministry and time? Only what is done for Christ in faith will last. 

What is the Lord clearly speaking to you about today? 
Why are you hesitating, holding back?

"If Not Now, When?"


Christian Marriage: A Glimpse of Our Spouse's 'Glory-Self'

I absolutely love this Christian vision for marriage from Tim and Kathy Keller in The Meaning of Marriage.
Here is a longer quote:
What, then, is marriage for? It is for helping each other to become our future glory-selves, the new creations that God will eventually make us. The common horizon husband and wife look toward is the Throne, and the holy, spotless, and blameless nature we will have. I can think of no more powerful common horizon than that, and that is why putting a Christian friendship at the heart of a marriage relationship can lift it to a level that no other vision for marriage approaches.

. . . here's what it means to fall in love. It is to look at another person and get a glimpse of the person God is creating, and to say, "I see who God is making you, and it excites me! I want to be a part of that. I want to partner with you and God in the journey you are taking to His throne. And when we get there I will look at your magnificence and say, "I always knew you could be like this. I got glimpses of it on earth, but now look at you!"

Each spouse should see the great thing that Jesus is doing in the life of their mate through the Word, the gospel. Each spouse then should give him- or herself to be a vehicle for that work and envision the day that you will stand together before God, seeing each other presented in spotless beauty and glory.

Randy Alcorn notes our marriage to Christ is the true marriage of the believer's life, "of which the best of earthly marriages was a symbol and shadow. ... One day all heaven will attend the ultimate wedding, and we will be His bride." (Ephesians 5:21-33; Revelation 19:7-9) But Alcorn also says he envisions people who've had important roles in our lives will continue to be friends... including a lot of people who have been married.

I can't say for sure that is true, but I do know my husband Bob is my best earthly friend, and the scriptures teach he is also my brother in Christ. We will serve and praise the Lord throughout eternity, along with all God's transformed creation!

I can't wait to look up my husband in heaven in his glorified state and say: 
"Look at you! I knew you'd be like this!"
Are you getting a glimpse of who your marriage partner will be in heaven? How can you encourage your spouse's growth into their "glory-self," all to the glory of God?

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Gabriel Ferraz at Pixabay.


What Does Your Photo Really Show?

I received a devotional from "Today's Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah" that was so timely for me. I had just put a new photo on Facebook to replace a rather "ancient" one I had at the top of my page.

I started thinking, "What does this photo show?"
  • Does it show my inner joy in knowing the Lord?
  • Does it show my struggle with a food addiction?
  • Does it show my desire to be used by Christ and make a difference in people's lives?
  • Does it show my love for my family?
In the end, I decided it really didn't matter what my Facebook Friends thought. All that matters is I'm living for the Lord, pursuing God with all my heart and loving any "neighbors" He brings across my path with His love (Mark 12:30-31).
  • I'm set apart for His glory.
  • I'm walking in the Spirit, keeping step with Him and bearing fruit.
  • I'm living for an audience of One.
It's really true, what I read in the devotional: "Those viewing your photos can't see your heart, but God can. Make sure He finds in you a heart that is pursuing Him."

God sees the heart, not what others may or may not see (1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 13:22). And that's a blessing to me today.

The Lord sees my struggles, but He also sees my desire to please Him—to do all His will

It's not about performance. It's about grace. 

His grace making me more grace-filled. His grace helping me not beat myself up with a club of self-condemnation (Romans 8:1). His grace transforms my heart and motivates me to greater love, obedience and service.

Look at your Facebook photo today. 
What do you think others see? 
What do you think God knows?


Be a Better Encourager

I truly believe encouragement plays a crucial part in our walk of faith (Hebrews 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

1. Encouragement from friends helps us live in a fallen world. 

Jesus warned we'd have struggles (Matthew 10:22-23; John 15:18-21); but He is the Overcomer (John 16:33b) and He can help us face our trials and troubles.

Our struggles are not simply against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness, the "spiritual forces of evil" (Ephesians 6:12). We need encouragement for the battle. We need encouragers who will remind us to wear our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and stand strong against the wiles of the Devil. God will empower us to be faithful in the toughest battles.

2. Encouragement from wise counselors helps us see mistakes and make better choices. 
Barnabas, the "son of consolation," was a wise counselor/friend who came alongside to encourage the apostle Paul (Acts 9:27) after his conversion. We can be grateful for faithful servants of God - for teachers, preachers, counselors and mentors - who gift us with not only instruction, but also encouragement. 

My favorite encouraging counselors were those who sandwiched words of caution or correction between slices of praise

Encouragers help us see that, 
though we sometimes fail, 
in Christ we will never be failures!

3. Encouragement from the Word gives us the big picture. 

I cannot begin to list the times I've felt defeated, hopeless or anxious, and I found hope and encouragement in the scriptures. 

The Word teaches me how to have abundant life (John 10:10) and to see life from God's point of view. The Word of God brings healing to my soul (Proverbs 16:24).

In the Word I discover:

And because He encourages me, I can encourage others.

I want to be a better encourager, don't you?

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.


We Only See the Outer Fringe

This scripture really got me thinking this morning.

"...these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him!" (Job 26:14a)

When I see the power of God at work, I am in awe of Him. 

And yet, Job says what we see is but the "outer fringe" and a "whisper" of His greatness. 

Think about that for a while.

God says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" (Isaiah 55:8).

The Psalmist says,
"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You...." (Psalm 40:5a).

"How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep" (Psalm 92:5).

Though we can come to know the Lord more and more, we can never fully fathom His greatness--His wisdom, power, patience, love, kindness, holiness, and so much more.

Job continued, "Who then can understand the thunder of his power." (Job 25:14:b)

Paul encourages us to be strong in the strength of His might (Ephesians 6:10), but the power of God is much more than we can fully realize. He is simply beyond us.

That is why He is God. That's why He is the Sovereign Lord. 

And that is why He deserves our praise and worship.

"Lord, you are great. You are mighty. There is nothing you cannot do. I praise you today. I worship you and recognize Your control in my life. 

"Thank you for sharing just a glimpse... the outer fringe of your works and the whispers of your grace--so that we might learn to stand in awe of you, fear You and obey You. 

"Thank you for Jesus, who draws us to Your side because of His great sacrifice on the cross. I love you, Lord." Amen

Graphic adapted, courtesy of decorama at Morguefile.


How My Dog Reminded Me Not to Worship Idols

I love family, home, church, pet, writing, chocolate (and lots of other wonderful, good things), but I refuse to worship them.

It's hard sometimes. Especially when we're cuddling a pup we love so much. (But more about that later.)

I don't want to worship anything or anyone but the Lord God Almighty. It's a choice, sometimes a hard one, but a
choice nonetheless.

Worship of idols is excessive devotion to or reverence for something other than the one, true God.

The worship of "good things," not just things we know can get us into trouble, is a subtle snare of our enemy, Satan. He did, after all, offer the Jesus much in exchange for worship.

But Jesus' words were powerful:
"You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve" (Matthew 4:10b).

We have so much in America. We are so blessed. But in our wealth, we forget God. We forget how completely and totally dependent we really are on Him. It is only by His favor that we are a "wealthy" nation.

The sad truth is, in our wealth we have become spiritually poor.

Jesus understands this temptation. That's why He left heaven to become poor for us, that we might become spiritually rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

I sincerely believe our "idol worship" is one of the reason our nation is in such trouble today.

Yes, I want America to be great again, but not without America becoming godly. Otherwise, in our covetousness, independence and self-sufficiency, we will never draw near to the Lord, repent and become holy before Him (James 4:8).

When we worship idols (when they are our focus), we become more like them and we lack understanding of the truth (Psalm 135:15-18). We exchange the glory of God for images (Romans 1:21-23), sad substitutes for Him. John Piper calls this the "dark exchange."

The Bible is clear about idolatry from beginning to end.
"...Do not turn to idols... I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:4). (See also Exodus 20:3.) "Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry" (1 Corinthians 10:13-14). "... the idolaters... will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur..." (Revelation 21:8).

I'm not just spouting scriptures here. I'm taking the time to look at the things of love, and determine whether I love and even "worship" them more than the Lord.

My husband and I made an emergency trip to the veterinarian yesterday. We were not sure how serious our little furboy's condition was; and all the way there, I prayed.

During that time of prayer, God asked me, "Do you love little Roscoe more than you love Me, or my purposes?"

I felt that was a strange question at the time. But I pondered it the entire time Roscoe was at the vet. I knew the Lord had given us this sweet little creature to love and care for. But could I give him up if the Lord asked it of me?

I thought about other people and things I love, and I wept as I considered the cost my Lord might ask of me. I wept.

I surrendered again. I have to do this sometimes; I get so tied to this temporary world.

I reconfirmed my priorities: God first, family next, ministry and then all the other stuff.

And then I took time to worship the Lord with open hands. When we grasp our stuff, it's foolishness. Everything we are and have are really His, and open hands acknowledge an open heart to His will.

Tearing down the idols begins in our own hearts. Then in our families and churches. And then, hopefully, in our nation.