5 Signs of God’s Judgment by Peter Waldron

Peter Waldron 5 Signs of God's Judgment

Peter Waldron 5 Signs of God’s Judgment

 

5 Signs of God’s Judgment

The Bible tells us that there are at least five progressive stages of judgment in a humanistic nation. Each stage serves as a warning to the people to return to the sanity of righteous obe­dience to God’s Word.

First, there will be an increase in natural catastrophes (Isaiah 1:5-9).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation, dramatic shifts in weather patterns, geological instability, a decline in agricultural pro­ductivity, public health crisis and hygiene, and other “natural” phe­nomena inevitably occur. Rebellious nations invite plagues, famines, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, catastrophic storms, epidemics, drought, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, and tornadoes. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Second, water will be added to the wine (Isaiah 1:22).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation, a noticeable decline in the quality of products inevitably occurs. Rebellious nations occa­sion shoddy workmanship, sloppy craftsmanship, and slovenly construction. They are rife with unprofessionalism, slothfulness, discourtesy, sluggardly conduct, extortion, profit­eering, false advertising, shams, cons, Ponzi schemes, scams and wanton waste. Hu­manistic nations are thus constantly forced to deal with such things as trade deficits, declining industry, plummeting market shares, massive recalls, import quotas, and massive unemployment. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Third, the silver becomes dross (Isaiah 1:22).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation, chronic financial crises inevitably oc­cur. Rebellious nations engage in currency devaluation, infla­tion, deficit spending, and fiat leveraging. Humanistic nations are thus constantly forced to deal with accelerating bankruptcy rates, runaway cost of living increases, unstable exchange ratios, debased currencies, wage and price controls, exorbitant taxa­tion, and money that is not worth the paper it is printed on. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Fourth, there is an exchange in leadership (Isaiah 3:1-5).

Whenever judgment befalls a nation good leaders give way to bad leaders who give way to even worse leaders. Rebellious nations are an easy target for conspiracy, collusion, corruption, covetous­ness, and contamination. They seem to breed demagogic, xeno­phobic, and messianic opportunists who rise to power and prominence. Humanistic nations are thus constantly forced to deal with government scandals, cover-ups, bribes, evasions, in­vestigations, revelations, and resignations. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

Fifth, the people are taken captive (Isaiah 5:13-15).

When judgment befalls a nation, and it fails to repent during the course of the first four warning stages, it will finally be dragged off into exile. Rebellious nations are weak and gullible in the face of in­toxicating philosophies, exotic delicacies, and titillating ideolo­gies. They are lured away from their citadels of strength by the beguiling angels of alien light. Humanistic nations are thus con­stantly forced to deal with the corrosive incursions of anarchism, totalitarianism, socialism, antinomianism, existentialism, nihilism, and hedonism. Righteous nations, on the other hand, rebuff such judgment. A nation reaps what it sows.

It doesn’t take an expert in sociology, theology, eschatology, or futurology to see that our nation is now undergoing very real and substantial judgment. All five stages of Biblical judgment are everywhere apparent. Bow down before God, ask Him to forgive you and repent from any sinful behavior. He said (2 Chronicles 7:14) that when we do this that “He will heal our land.”

You are loved.

His servant, your friend, Peter

(This article  “5 Signs of God’s Judgment” is not used by permission. I have contacted the author and have not yet received a reply.) You can contact Peter here.

The God of Jacob Mystifies

 

God of Jacob and Jacob Wrestle

God of Jacob and Jacob Wrestle

 

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold (Psalm 46:10).

I am intrigued by the God of Jacob. Just Who is this God of Jacob? How is He different from the God of Moses or the God of David? Of course, He is the same One True God, but there must be some variation.  The mystery of the God of Jacob fascinates me.

God Loved Jacob

To unravel the mystery of the God of Jacob, let’s focus first on the fact that God loved Jacob (Psalm 47:4; Mal 1:2; Rom 9:13). Repeated three times in Scripture, we find an emphatic statement: God really loved Jacob!

But Jacob was a rat! His name means “heel-grabber,” “trickster,” or “supplanter.” He stole, yes stole his brother’s birthright and gained the coveted blessing of the first-born by fraud, lying, and deceit. He was not a nice fellow to be around.

Still, God loved Jacob! That’s the alluring part of the mystery. This always give me hope. If God can love a guy like Jacob, He can love you and me!

God Showed Jacob Favor

Further, God’s love for Jacob was no hidden love affair. God showed special favor on this cheater time after time and in remarkable ways.

The God of Jacob chose the little fellow in the womb to be stronger than his brother and to be lord and leader of his brother. This title shows God as the God of Sovereign Election. God elected Jacob and He has elected to bless us as well. His sovereign choice is to bless His people.

The God of Jacob did not discipline Jacob when we think He should have. Jacob tricked his father, stole his brother’s birthright, and got away with it. Then God blessed him! It doesn’t seem right. How could this be? What does this show about the God of Jacob?

(Hint: God’s choice not to discipline Jacob at this time shows His nature. He is both patient and resolute. Seven years would pass before God would feed Jacob some of his own medicine. Through a phony marriage, the Lord chose to severely discipline and train Jacob the deceiver through an even greater deceiver, his father-in-law, Laban.

God appeared to the fugitive runaway as he fled Esau’s threats. God promised inheritance, blessings on the world (!), prosperity, and protection. He conferred the blessing of Abraham on this scoundrel. Wow! When we mess up, “The God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:10). Count on it! We too are in the covenant line of Abraham.

The God of Jacob gave him Rachel, a wife he genuinely loved.

He blessed him with many children.

The God of Jacob greatly increased his sheep business and made him exceedingly prosperous (Gen 30:43).

The God of Jacob directed him with personal dreams. Can we expect Him to do the same for us?

God protected him by giving Jacob’s adversary a dream. In the dream God  told his adversary to “shut up” about Jacob and “Don’t tell him anything bad” (Gen 31:24).

The God of Jacob wrestled with him, but chose not to prevail!

The God of Jacob let him see His face without taking his life (Gen 32:30).

God graciously changed Jacob’s name and nature from a taker to a giver.

The God of Jacob gave him favor with his former enemy Esau.

God went with him wherever he went (Gen 35:3).

The list could continue as God gave Jacob a long and blessed life preserving him from famine and allowing him to see his grandchildren.

The Significance of the God of Jacob for us

What the God of Jacob did for this man He will do also for us. We too, as people of faith, are in the covenant of Abraham. We can expect the God of Jacob to bless us even when we blow it! What he did for Jacob, He will do for us. Who He was to Jacob, He is for us!

At the end of his life, perhaps just hours before he died, Jacob  coined the phrase “the Mighty One of Jacob” under the inspiration of the Spirit. The  Bible emphasizes this title by using it about fourteen times. God had appeared to him as El-Shaddai (the Mighty One). Now Jacob claims the name for himself. How personal, how significant!

We can do the same. I’ve been thinking about the God of Jacob and how He favored this man. I am claiming the use of this title for myself.  I am beginning to call the God of Jacob “the Mighty One of . . . Mark!

Can you put in your own name? The God of Jacob has become “the Mighty One of _______________!

Symptoms of True Love (Part 5)

Symptoms of true love

Symptoms of true love

 

Symptoms of True Love.

This post is about one of the symptoms of true love toward God, not romantic relationship. It’s about giving up everything to Christ.

There’s a famous cartoon of Garfield the Cat hanging with his two front paws on a clothesline wire. The caption reads, “When all else fails, hang in there!

Symptoms of true love is the final part of a series, “5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned as a Cancer Patient.” You can access the introduction here. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here. Part 3 here.  Find Part 4 here.

This Garfield cartoon fits a man with cancer. We never know the future. All of life and the precious things we’ve worked so hard for could be pulled away from us in an instant or a few weeks. There’s nothing we can do about it. We begin to understand more fully what’s important in life and what isn’t. Money, time, even friends and family are fleeting.

All we can do is hang onto God with our two front paws. When all else dissolves, God is still there.

For me, I have to give up everything and lay back on the chest of Christ. Family hopes fade. Ministry dreams evaporate. But love remains—His love to me and mine toward Him. I have ministry goals: I want to see people saved and healed. I want to see lives changed and His kingdom come. I want to see the church built up and become more influential in the community.

But I have cancer. I have to give it all up. All I want is to love God. I will let Him determine my ministry. I have no other choice. Nor do I want anything else. I am His and He is mine. This attitude is one of he symptoms of true love. And that’s the way it should be from the beginning.

“Not My Will, But Thine Be Done.”

Tony Reinke over at the Desiring God website has a quote from Tim Keller that helps define and identify one of the symptoms of true love. “Suffering is actually at the heart of the Christian story.”

Am I willing to give it all up to Jesus?

Are you willing to suffer for Jesus sake? Am I?

 

Why Teach Kids Memory Verses (Part 4)

What’s so Important about Kids Memory Verses?

Kids memory verses–those I learned as a child–helped me go through the torment of chemotherapy. Here’s what I found.

This is part 4 of a series, “5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned as a Cancer Patient.” Read the introduction here.

Part 1, “Who are the Majestic Ones?” is found here. Part 2, “What to say to a Sick Man?” is practical and something everyone needs to know. Part 3, “Love Doesn’t Let Anyone Go to Hell” will grip anyone with a heart.

It’s rough to have cancer. It’s rough to go through Chemo-therapy treatments. Chemo changes a human body and mind. Digestion, sleep patterns, energy levels, almost everything changes as those chemicals take up bodily residence. I have spent plenty of sleepless nighttime hours.  What’s a person to do hour after hour of drug induced sleeplessness?

The best idea is to meditate on Scripture. That’s where kids memory verses like Psalm 23 saved the day. (Or should I say, saved the night?) I don’t want to turn on the lights and get totally awake by reading something. Meditation on Psalms or other Bible verses can relax and induce sleep. But how can a person meditate on verses he’s never committed to memory? No way; the Scripture has to be learned in advance of the crisis.

My Great Discovery

The Psalms and other verses I’d learned as a child returned; the verses or chapters I’d memorized as an adult slipped so easily away. I was surprised about this. Normally, we’d think what we learned most recently would be most retained. In fact, the opposite was true. I knew it was easier to memorize as a child, but I was unprepared in my hours of need to recall the verses I’d memorized as an adult. John 3:16, Psalm 46 and other verses came back but only because I’d committed them to memory in my childhood.

What’s the “take home”?

Parents, do yourself and your children a favor by teaching kids memory verses now before their minds get cluttered with the affairs of life. Sunday School teachers and Children’s Church workers, do the same. Teach the children whose parents never come to church verses about God’s love and salvation through Christ. You never know—some of those verses may return in hours of suffering or crises during adult years.

I’m saying it again.  I learned this as a cancer patient. These simple kids memory verses carried me through the nights of chemo-induced torment. You will never regret teaching Bible memory verses, nor will they!

 

Love Doesn’t Let Anyone Go to Hell (Part 3)

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I experienced hell. No place on earth is like it. If we care about anyone, we will do our best to rescue them from the ravages of the devil and his place of torment.

This is part 3 of a series “5 Life-Changing Lessons I learned as a Cancer Patient.” Read the introduction “You’ve Got Cancer!” 

Read part 2 here.    

Part 3 “What to Say to a Sick Man?” is practical and located here.

 

Following my first chemotherapy treatment I was reduced to what seemed like a near vegetable state. I was weak physically, and weaker still in my mind. In a drug induced stupor I was susceptible to demonic attack. As I tried to sleep that first night I felt all hell was turned upside down and poured out on me.  Hideous, evil thoughts I’d never seen or imagined camped in my mind.

I do deliverance ministry. I know how to combat the devil. But this was different. When I called for the blood of Jesus, the devil himself seemed to appear.  I couldn’t get free no matter what I tried. What I experienced was the horrendous hatred of the devil toward me and every human being. No words can adequately describe the devil and his hatred. No words can fully prepare a person for the torments of hell.

The next night I came armed with the prayers of my oldest son and the elders of the church. Through their prayers I was greatly protected.

I see now more clearly than ever the need to rescue people from the devil’s deception and bring them into heaven. If we care at all about friends, relatives, co-workers we will tell them about Jesus. No feeling should stop us from giving the good news about salvation from hell to people we care about. I say again, if we love someone, let’s spare nothing in order to tell them about Jesus and lead them to salvation. (See some posts on this site for simple, empowering ways to lead someone to Christ—it’s serious business, but also a lot of fun!)

Hell is neither picnic nor place to go and be with friends. Learn about Chicken Evangelism—bring up Christ before you chicken out. If we love ‘em, tell ‘em ‘bout Jesus now!

What to say to a sick man?

This is Part 2 of a 5 part series. Read the introduction here.

Read Part 1 “Who are the Majestic Ones?” here.

Here’s something practical, down-to-earth, and just plain helpful. ” What to say to a sick man?” This can be important for evangelism too.

Nearly everyone wants to help, but how? Most of us struggle to find words when we meet someone who is sick or going through a crisis. I admit that up until now my most common response has been to say, “I’m sorry.”  I was doing my best to empathize with the hurting. But since I got cancer I’ve discovered that to say, “I’m sorry” doesn’t help much. It just leaves me in my condition. What I need is hope and lots of it! I found that any attempt at hope, even suggestions for crazy alternative therapies, offers some hope.

Teachings don’t help much either. Sick men don’t need teaching; we need faith.

What should a person say to a sick guy? The best response I found is for someone to come along side, listen and humbly ask, “What can I do to help?” Who knows? Maybe the need is a ride? Or meals for the family? Or help to change a light bulb?

Flynn is a young and single father whose daughter Riley had a dramatic bout with a cancerous brain tumor. Riley survived the surgery with eighty-eight stitches in her head. Flynn mentioned something I had recently taught the church. “I really appreciated what you taught the other day. You said, “Don’t say, ‘I’m sorry’ to people who are hurting. That doesn’t help. What we need is encouragement, not sympathy.”

Think about it. “What can I do to help?” or “How can I help you?” These questions show humility on our part. No need to guess or assume what someone else needs. These questions place the sick man in the driver’s seat. They show respect to the sick. They empower the person who’s hurting and allow him or her to express his own needs. And who knows better than anyone what’s the need of the moment than the sick man himself?

 

Who Are the Majestic Ones? (Part 1 of 5-part Series)

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5 Life-changing Lessons I learned as a Cancer Patient

Click here to read the introduction “You Have Cancer!”

My wife, Kari, and some of our children stood on either side of me as I announced to our church that I had cancer. When we sat down, the entire church immediately gathered around us and started ministering to us in faith and prayer. They didn’t hesitate one bit. One lady, Sherry, who is herself a cancer survivor, announced with unmitigated faith and passion, “Christ is a big “C”; cancer is a little “c”! There I was, a broken man, and the whole church was standing as one in staunch faith and love.

Who are the majestic ones? “As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16). The church of the Living Water has stood by me like an immoveable rock throughout the duration of my chemotherapy treatments. If I didn’t know it before (and I did) I know it now—the saints of God, the church, are the majestic ones in all the earth.

My wife and family, each and every son and daughter, are giving me unwavering assistance throughout this trial. They are majestic in my eyes.

My fellow pastors in Muscatine have rallied to my benefit. God has heard prayers from the pulpits of nearly every church in town. Baptist, Methodist, Vineyard, non-denominational, and so on, they have all prayed for me. These are a majestic band of brothers.

“A brother in need is a brother indeed.” The aphorism is true. Crisis reveals our true friends. Nor should anyone be surprised that Christian people are salient in the mercy department. Every believer in Jesus Christ has received His mercy. It’s only natural that we pass it on.

It’s common in some quarters to criticize the church in America. Yet when the chips are down, who is the greatest support group anywhere? Unbelievers need to know there is an assembly of “Good Samaritans” ready and willing to help in time of need. God bless the church!

5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned as a Cancer Patient

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“You Have Cancer!” (Introduction to 5 Life-changing Lessons I Learned from Cancer)

Who Are the Majestic Ones? (Part 1)

What to Say to a Sick Man (Part 2)

Love Doesn’t Let Anyone Go to Hell (Part 3)

Why Teach Kids Memory Verses (Part 4)

Loving God (Part 5)

 “You Have Cancer”

 

The doctor was firm but gentle when he spoke to me the fateful words, “Your lungs are filled with cancer.” He went on to say this particular cancer was inoperable. Of course, I was shocked; we all were.

As a pastor and counselor, I knew the first stage of grief is denial. Well, I was in denial for some days. I couldn’t believe I had cancer. (After all, I was chopping wood and riding bicycle. I could ride up hills just as well as some of my adult children!) Dr. G., who first discovered the abnormality in my lungs from a CAT scan, had quizzed me in a way that should have prepared me for the dire diagnosis.

“Do you smoke?’

“No!”

Have you ever smoked?”

No.”

“Have you been around a lot of second hand smoke?”

“No.”

“Well, cancer has its own mind. Some people who smoke all their lives don’t get it and some people who never smoke do get it. I’m sending you to a cancer specialist.”

Following exploratory surgery, the cancer specialist later ameliorated his grim diagnosis to something happier. “You have lymphoma which has settled in your lungs. This is very unusual.” He went on to say that lymphoma is treatable and the survival rate is greater than for lung cancer.

If need be, I’m ready to die. I have received Jesus Christ as my Savior from the guilt of my sin. According to God’s Word, I am secure in His love and forgiveness and will be with Him when I die. In the meantime, I will try to beat this thing by the power of God and the prayers of His people. That’s my confidence in God and His Word. If I do die, I don’t want to die of cancer. I believe if someone is going to die, they should die healthy!

I have endured six chemo-therapy treatments. I don’t wish these treatments on anybody, but I realize God has used chemo to save my life, at least temporarily. Without treatment I would be a “goner” by now. Instead, I’m gaining strength and feeling better week by week. Praise God!

There’s got to be a reason for all this suffering. May I share 5 life-changing lessons I’ve already learned as a cancer patient? Blogs in this series “5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned as a Cancer Patient” tell the stories.

18 Murders in Iowa on One Day

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On April 5, 2011 18 murders were committed in Iowa.  All took place at 2751 Tech Dr., Bettendorf, IA 52722.  The murders were done systematically, one at a time.  Records were kept of who did it, but none of the individuals involved have been charged.  All the victims were children, which makes these murders in Iowa even more egregious.

Who were the perpetrators of these ghastly events?  The Planned Parenthood doctors and staff performed the actual killings.

But wait. . .to tell it like it is, you and I were responsible, at least in part.  We have not sufficiently mourned over the killing of infants this close to our homes.

There’s a parallel recorded in the ninth chapter of Ezekiel in in the Bible.  The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city. . . and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.” (Ezekiel 9:4)  It turns out  those who grieved over the terrible acts of that day were marked with the sign of a tau, a Hebrew letter written like a cross at that time.  Those who got the mark were spared from death; the others not.

Killing of innocent children is our present day abomination.

We, “good people” all, were accessories to these murders because we have not mourned sufficiently.  We have also voted for such men as Dave Loebsack, Bruce Braley, and US Senator Tom Harkin.  Loebsack represents Iowa’s Second District and Bruce Braley, Iowa’s First District. These elected officials repeatedly use their legislative powers to promote the culture of death in our state and in our nation.  They justify murder by hiding behind the “reproductive ‘rights’ of women.”  We, the “good citizens” of America, have also elected a president who is so callous that he voted to withhold life-saving nutrition from children who survived botched abortions.

A Spirit-filled person stands for life!  The Bible says, “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8)  The power of God’s love is growing in the nation.  Seventy-one percent (71%) of Americans now oppose tax-funded abortion.  We are winning, but the battle rages.  The Spirit-filled life evinces grief over sin and love toward the enemies of life.  The Spirit energizes those He fills to stand for life, lobby for life, and produce life in our own marriages and families.

There’s blood on our doorstep. But thank God, the Spirit is moving in our land.  How long the blood stains remain depends in part on you and me.

Thinking About the Unthinkable

 

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 Can any hope emerge from the November 30, 2012 Sandy Hook massacre?

I’ve waited over a month before writing about the tragedy for several reasons. It’s too painful to think about. It’s like rock shattering a pane glass window: The damage is sudden, dramatic and irreparable. Further, so many others have written either adequately or eloquently about the event.  What more can be said?

Yet I have something to say about the Sandy Hook shooting, something no one else has said, at least as far as I know. And another reason I am motivated to comment: I have recently been diagnosed with cancer. For others, death may seem distant or abstract. For me, death is personal. It came knocking at my door. Fortunately, I did not let it in.

My grief goes out to the dads and mothers, the brothers and sisters of the 26 victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. My grief extends particularly to Adam Lanza’s family. Life will never be the same for them or any of the other families who met death that day. With all America and much of the world, I’m sad.

Is there hope anywhere? What can God or anyone do to repair the shattered glass of our American dream?

I hope no one of the victim’s families reads this article. This is neither about them nor for them. This is about us, the 330 million Americans who did not lose anyone that tragic day.

An Even Greater Tragedy

Many individuals and businesses and government entities have flown flags at half mast to show sympathy and solidarity with the families of the lost children and adults. This is commendable. Still, there is a greater tragedy. On the day that 26 lives were eliminated at the school, approximately 3,425 other children were snuffed out, never to see the light of day. The 3,425 were massacred in abortion clinics all across America. Should we fly flags at half mast for them?

To show the magnitude of the disaster, note one “i” for each of the 20 children plus 6 adults: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii. I’m reluctant to do this, but we need the perspective.  What do 3,425 “i’s” look like?

Here’s 100: iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

And if I counted correctly, here is another 100:

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And now for a total of 300:

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One more hundred makes 400:

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Now picture the 3000:

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When we add 25 more—iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii—almost the same number killed at Sandy Hook– we have the average number of children eliminated from life in the United States each day through the atrocity of abortion. The main difference between the school shooting and the abortion killing is the age of the children. Other differences are the complicity of the mother and the profit motive of the abortionist. But the result is the same: An innocent child’s life is forever and violently snuffed out against his or her own choice.

There is hope. According to a Gallup poll released May15, 2012, “The 41% of Americans who now identify themselves as “pro-choice” is down from 47% last July and is one percentage point below the previous record low in Gallup trends, recorded in May 2009. Fifty percent now call themselves “pro-life,” one point shy of the record high, also from May 2009.”

Can the unthinkable event of Sandy Hook on one day cause us to realize an even greater unthinkable event repeats itself every day in our country?

Postscript. When I speak about the tragedy of abortion, I find the need to include another word—forgiveness. Abortion kills infants and hurts women and fathers. For every act of abortion, there is an act of forgiveness. Jesus Christ died to bring forgiveness to every person who has chosen or allowed abortion. “Come to Me, all you who are . . . heavy laden. I will give you rest.”

He is the Great Hope-Bringer.