PROPHECIES ABOUT THE UNIQUE SON OF GOD

2 SAMUEL 7:14  “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.” This son of David will also be the son of God. It is quoted in Hebrews 1:5 to show the superiority of Jesus to angels. God is a Father, and He has a Son.

PSALM 2:7  “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you.’” This is quoted in Acts 13 to establish the resurrection of Jesus. It is referenced in Hebrews 1:5 to demonstrate Christ’s superiority to angels and in Hebrews 5:5 to speak of the high priestly ministry of Jesus. Prophets like David saw it in the spirit.

PSALM 2:11,12  “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” This shows that God’s Son is not just an heir–He is co-regent, with authority to judge.

ISAIAH 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Two marks of Christ’s divinity are shown in this prophecy, given by Isaiah 700 years before Christ: 1) that he would be miraculously born of a virgin and therefore not inheriting a sin nature, and 2) that he would be called a name meaning “God is with us.” Jesus was fully God and fully man, even in the womb.

ISAIAH 9:6  “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.”

The names given to this child clearly show that he was and is God. No one calls a boy Mighty God or Everlasting Father. Surprising that this Scripture was not quoted in the New Testament.

DANIEL 3:25  “I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” King Nebuchadnezzar was not used to dealing with young men who 1) defied his commands, then 2) chose the furnace to bowing down. His furious mood changed to astonishment when he sees them walking in the flames and not being burned and a fourth joining them. And he looks like a son of the gods, his way of saying that he is more than human. The pre-incarnate Christ showed up in the furnace with them because they had uncompromising obedience and astounding faith in God’s ability to deliver them.
MICAH 5:2  “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” The priests used this Scripture to direct the wise men to the miracle of the ages, but they didn’t budge five miles away. Better to be a seeker than a sitter!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KARIS JOY!

November 28, 2021

You are the youngest child of the Paul & Karen Anderson family. Some might consider that a disadvantage. You took it the opposite way. So did your parents and sibs. You were special from the get-go. It was compulsory for everyone but you to show up for devotions at 7am. When you woke up and walked into the family room, we would fight, because we all wanted you on our lap. Last certainly didn’t mean least.

You had an artistic flair from early on. You really didn’t need toys, because life itself interested you. Which means that for you less is more. You are good in calligraphy, photography, cooking and in presentation blog writing. We remember the long thank-you cards you made and wrote to us and others before your wedding. Instead of bowing down to things, you are letting go of them, which fits in well with your growing outlook of a minimalist.  You are thrifty. You know the value of money, but you don’t worship it. Bravo!  Many are screaming for more.

You are an experimenter. When something grabs your attention and you consider it worth a try, you go for it and you’re all in.  Your creativity shows up, whether as a cook or decorator or cleaner or mother. Life works for you. You are versatile, so you have many tools in your toolbox. You love learning new things that fit into your worldview.  You are nurturing in a kind and low-key manner, and it shows. You love well, whether your husband, your sibs, your parents, your friends, or your daughter Elzie–and another coming.

You are wise, and people seek you out for your wisdom, in which you blend grace with truth. Your grace makes the truth receivable, and the truth makes your grace substantial rather than fanciful. This makes you a good friend and a valuable wife and mother. You are an excellent hostess, whether a last-minute activity or planned meal. Both work for you. You are good at adjusting to life challenges without being thrown by them. Your wisdom is practical rather than ethereal.  You have two big families that both call for your time, and you do the dance well. You are not running ragged or showing signs of fatigue. You live with much grace, true to your name.

Happy Birthday, dear Daughter!

Love Dad and Mom

YOU CAN DEVELOP GRATITUDE!

What if…

…you thanked God when tested—and He turned it into a testimony?

…you thanked parents for what they gave and forgave them for what they didn’t?

…couples tossed expectations and chose gratitude?

…you changed your environment with gratitude and started an epidemic?

…you shed your whining, developed gratitude—and found it fun?

A STORY ABOUT GRATITUDE

“Now on his way to Jerusalem…” (Luke 17:11).  Jesus had set His face for the showdown. What could slow Him down? Ten lepers. His last miracle in this region. Those who said, “Next time,” lost their chance. Outcasts in every way, they didn’t dare get close. They knew the rules and cried out: “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.”

One command changed their lives: “Go show yourselves to the priests.” “And as they went, they were cleansed.” Priests were the Department of Health. The lepers needed to act in faith for God to act. It often works that way. They went—it happened. One returned, while nine kept going: “That’s what He said to do.” “I know, but don’t you want to say, ‘Thank you?’”

That guy was a Samaritan, the least likely to return to a Jew. Jesus asked three questions: “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Jesus expected people touched by love to show gratitude.  Saying, “But He told me to go to the priest” doesn’t settle the issue. Is Jesus waiting for you to thank anyone—parents, a teacher, a coach, relative, a policeman, the Holy Spirit?

INGRATITUDE IS SERIOUS. It doesn’t go unnoticed in heaven. It disconnects us from Jesus. While gratitude sets us up for a miracle, ingratitude closes us off. It suggests entitlement. The elder brother said, “You never gave me a kid so that I might make merry with my friends” (Luke 15:29).  The last days will highlight ingratitude (2 Tim. 3:2). Don’t you! Ingratitude sets you on a path toward perversion: “Although they knew God they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).

On the other hand…

GRATITUDE IS CONTAGIOUS. Thankful people are fun. They exude a radiant countenance. Gratitude allows you to receive grace from heaven, because you don’t feel like you deserve it. Think prodigal. Gratitude connects you to the people for whom you express appreciation. If you want to grow relationships, develop gratitude. Works every time. Far better to join the Samaritan who returned than the presumptuous group who just kept walking. 

You are most likely a grateful person. As you read, you may think of areas where you can walk in greater gratitude. Suggestion: try “thank-you” in difficult times and wait for miracles—when you’re being tested, when temptation presses in, when irritation is rising, when pressures at work escalate, when arguments at home mount, when conflict in relationships brings extra tension. Thanksgiving shows that your God overturns evil with good. Hardship either discourages us or forces us to upgrade confidence in the sovereignty of God and give thanks.

YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A GRATEFUL HEART IF…

…your prayers sometimes don’t get beyond thanksgiving.

…you often reflect on those who have impacted your life.

…you manage to give thanks in the midst of pain. 

…you can only stand in awe of a God who has been so kind and faithful to you.

8 PEOPLE WHO SANG “OFF-THE-CHART” THANKS! (part 2)

In part one I told of the thanks that came from Moses and Miriam, from Hannah, from David and Solomon.

5  ELIZABETH DID.

“After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people’” (Luke 1:24,25). Elizabeth had borne the shame all her adult life by being called “the barren one.” Now God shows faithfulness and favor, perhaps when she was beyond child-bearing years, old enough for the elderly priest to doubt the words of hope, even though given by the Archangel Gabriel. Zechariah didn’t do any singing for nine months, but when he opened his mouth, a brilliant prophecy came forth (Luke 1:67-79). Bravo, Zach!

6  MARY DID.

Mary’s spontaneous song, called “The Magnificat,” has been sung down through the ages. She sang it when she met up with Aunt Elizabeth, and the two relatives had a powerful God-moment in the doorway. She said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name” (Luke 1:46-49). What a moment for the elderly aunt and young teen.

7  ONE LEPER DID.

“Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15,16). Jesus was surprised that he only heard from one out of ten. He asked three questions: “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (17,18). The Samaritan came off looking good, while the others weren’t even grateful enough to turn around and say, “Thanks!” What a bummer!

8  PAUL DID.

He wrote to the beloved Philippians, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ” (Ph. 1:3-5,12,13). Gratitude in the presence of pain opens the door for a miracle, and Paul experienced many of them. He knew how to thank God, even while suffering! Good going, Paul!

WHAT ABOUT YOU? CAN YOU BE NUMBER 9?

Was a song on your lips, or at least in your heart, when God came through for you? Does gratitude rise to heaven when you experience the touch of God in a tough situation? And what if He doesn’t come through in the way you expect?  Paul tells us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thess. 5:17).  Gratitude keeps us humble, from thinking that we deserve the best, the smooth ride, the comfortable chair, the blessed business. If it is good, it is because God is good. Gratitude sets us up for the next blessing from heaven, keeping us from hardening of the arteries. It reminds us that the favor came not because we were clever or deserving but because God is gracious and abundant in love. (Thanks to a blog by LeAnn Trees for the idea of this message.)

8 PEOPLE WHO SANG “OFF-THE-CHART” THANKS!

Dare To Dream

1 MOSES AND MIRIAM DID.

Moses had 18 verses to his song after God miraculously delivered Israel from the most powerful army in the world. God did it without any help from the nation or its warriors. Moses began, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Exodus 15:1,2). An entire nation saved–and an entire army drowned. Quite a time of rejoicing followed. Miriam took the first verse of the song of Moses and danced with the women, accompanied by tambourines. What a procession. Too bad they soon forgot about His mighty deliverance. Instead of worshiping, a chorus of complaint rose up with every setback. Grumbling replaced gratitude, and they never walked into their destiny, the promised land. Sad!

2 HANNAH DID.

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8 PEOPLE WHO SANG “OFF-THE-CHART” THANKS!

1  MOSES AND MIRIAM DID.

Moses had 18 verses to his song after God miraculously delivered Israel from the most powerful army in the world. God did it without any help from the nation or its warriors. Moses began, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Exodus 15:1,2). An entire nation saved–and an entire army drowned. Quite a time of rejoicing followed. Miriam took the first verse of the song of Moses and danced with the women, accompanied by tambourines. What a procession. Too bad they soon forgot about His mighty deliverance. Instead of worshiping, a chorus of complaint rose up with every setback. Grumbling replaced gratitude, and they never walked into their destiny, the promised land. Sad!

2  HANNAH DID.

Her rival, Peninnah, blessed with children from the same husband, cruelly mocked Hannah, because year after year she remained childless. On one trip to Shiloh, she poured out her heart, and Eli thought she was drunk. She explained why she was troubled in spirit, and Eli said that God would hear her cry. She conceived soon after.  When her prize son Samuel was weaned, she brought him to the temple at Shiloh and offered him to the Lord and to Eli. And she prayed, “My heart exults in the Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord…The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts” (I Samuel 2:1,7). She saw her boy once a year when she and Elkanah made the trip to Shilo, bringing a new robe each time. God blessed her with three more boys and two girls. Way to go, God! Way to go, Hannah! Way to go, Samuel!

3  DAVID DID.

“And Dave spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul” (2 Samuel 22:1). What follows is a song of praise 51 verses long!  (See also Psalm 18.)  David had a heart of gratitude from the time he was a young teen and defeated Goliath, and he often turned his thanksgiving into a song. He was called “the sweet singer of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). Way to sing it out, Dave!

4  SOLOMON DID.

“And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice saying, ‘Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promises, which he spoke by Moses, his servant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us’” (1 Kings 8:55-57). God chose to bless Solomon abundantly. He was the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived. Sadly, Solomon forsook God in his later years and died away from the Lord, and his son Rehoboam who followed him was a wicked man. “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12). Hard to imagine someone with such incredible wisdom and blessing forsaking God. He didn’t listen to his own words and died a failure! (Part 2 next).

8 PEOPLE WHO SANG “OF-THE CHART” THANKS!!

1  MOSES AND MIRIAM DID.

Moses had 18 verses to his song after God miraculously delivered Israel from the most powerful army in the world. God did it without any help from the nation or its warriors. Moses began, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation” (Exodus 15:1,2). An entire nation saved–and an entire army drowned. Quite a time of rejoicing followed. Miriam took the first verse of the song of Moses and danced with the women, accompanied by tambourines. What a procession. Too bad they soon forgot about His mighty deliverance. Instead of worshiping, a chorus of complaint rose up with every setback. Grumbling replaced gratitude, and they never walked into their destiny, the promised land. Sad!

2  HANNAH DID.

Her rival, Peninnah, blessed with children from the same husband, cruelly mocked Hannah, because year after year she remained childless. On one trip to Shiloh, she poured out her heart, and Eli thought she was drunk. She explained why she was troubled in spirit, and Eli said that God would hear her cry. She conceived soon after.  When her prize son Samuel was weaned, she brought him to the temple at Shiloh and offered him to the Lord and to Eli. And she prayed, “My heart exults in the Lord, my horn is exalted in the Lord…The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts” (I Samuel 2:1,7). She saw her boy once a year when she and Elkanah made the trip to Shilo, bringing a new robe each time. God blessed her with three more boys and two girls. Way to go, God! Way to go, Hannah! Way to go, Samuel!

3  DAVID DID.

“And Dave spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul” (2 Samuel 22:1). What follows is a song of praise 51 verses long!  (See also Psalm 18.)  David had a heart of gratitude from the time he was a young teen and defeated Goliath, and he often turned his thanksgiving into a song. He was called “the sweet singer of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1). Way to sing it out, Dave!

4  SOLOMON DID.

“And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice saying, ‘Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promises, which he spoke by Moses, his servant. The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us’” (1 Kings 8:55-57). God chose to bless Solomon abundantly. He was the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived. Sadly, Solomon forsook God in his later years and died away from the Lord, and his son Rehoboam who followed him was a wicked man. “Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12). Hard to imagine someone with such incredible wisdom and blessing forsaking God. He didn’t listen to his own words and died a failure! (Part 2 next).

TEACH US TO PRAY (part 2)

In Part I we talked about the time and place to pray. Then I introduced an acrostic that has helped me immensely, P-R-A-Y. I shared the first two: praise and repent. Now we consider the last two.

ASK

We position ourselves as children of the Father, because children are better at asking than adults. They are more humble about their needs and more bold to ask. My son Israel as a boy asked me for a slingshot. I told him “yes” but didn’t deliver. He kept asking and finally said, “You promised.” He got two slingshots. Jesus likes the word “ask,” because he knows his Father.  He used it 5 times in 5 verses in Luke 11 and 10 times in the Upper Room. Asking is a central part of prayer. Jesus lets us know that we are far more reluctant to ask than the Father is to give. Maybe we should make a list of what we are asking for, so we can check it off our list when it is answered. Jesus urges us to ask, seek, and knock, & he knows the Father better than we do. 

He teaches us how to ask by giving us a model prayer, which we could use as a guide, then giving us two stories. The first encourages us to ask and keep on asking. Persistent prayer beats casual prayer. The second lets us know that God is neither reluctant nor deceptive. I had sometimes been deceptive, hoping on a couple occasions that my kids would forget something I promised, so I wouldn’t have to make good on it. Not so God. Or, in the case of the slingshot, I was simply negligent in my promise and had to be reminded. We don’t persist because God is short on memory but because we are short on following through. Persistence wins (Luke 18:1).

I have many categories in asking: self, family, friends, people I mentor, the sick, those desiring children, pastors, missionaries, the unsaved. When people ask me to pray for them, I write it down or I will forget.  The ASK section is usually the longest part of my prayer time.

YIELD

Before leaving my time of prayer, I conclude by an act of surrender.  I don’t want to be holding onto anything, so I review what I am giving over to God rather than ever keeping it for myself, including things like problems, anxieties, and pressures. This is the shortest part of my prayer.

Why a prayer list? Because I write up an agenda for important meetings, because I want to stay on track, and because I want to persist in prayer as Jesus taught. George Mueller prayed nineteen years for a friend to find Christ–and he did! I keep my prayer list on my computer and update it periodically. Answered prayers go off my list.
Pray out loud. My wife appreciates actions, but she also loves words.  God does too. He told a disobedient Israel, needing to return to God, “Take words with you” (Hosea 14:2). If I say in a general way, “I’m sorry, God,” He may say, “How about more words?” Speaking out words forces us to express our heart, and it reinforces their content. David told God, “My voice shall you hear in the morning” (Psalm 5:3). God likes your strong voice even more than your kind thoughts. The disciples must have been blessed by hearing Jesus pray to the Father!

TEACH US TO PRAY! (part 1)

John the Baptist taught his disciples to pray. Likewise Jesus. Must be important. 

CHOOSE A TIME

What we schedule we treat as significant. If we don’t schedule it, we may be less likely to enjoy a consistent life of prayer. If you say to someone, “Hey, let’s get together sometime,” meaning in the distant future, and he gets out the calendar, he is valuing that appointment more than you are. If you’re married, how about scheduling a prayer time together as well? I love praying with my wife. We are different in how we approach prayer, so we learn from each other.

…AND PLACE

While you are deciding on the time, pick a spot. Peter and John went to the temple (place) at the hour of prayer (the time), and God showed up. Daniel prayed three times a day in the same place–and position; he knelt. If you have a place and time, I guarantee you—Jesus won’t be late for the meeting. But it’s possible to have a good prayer life and not have a specific time and place–especially if you’re the apostle Paul. 

An acronym helps to keep me on track: P-R-A-Y.

PRAISE

Jesus said, “When you pray, say ‘Father’”. The apostles prayed to the Father (Eph. 3:14). It positions us as children coming to receive. We are servants of the Lord and children of the Father. In prayer we are children. Jesus taught us to pray to his Father and ours. It is not wrong to pray to Jesus, but it is not the way he taught us.

I start with praise for three reasons: First, we are encouraged to enter this way (Ps. 100). Second, it decentralizes us, an ongoing need. The world does not revolve around me. I am not the center of the universe. I want to live a God-focused life.  And third, we become what we behold. The more I focus on God, the more I become like Him. I used to focus on myself and my sin in prayer. Didn’t work. I praise God both for who He is (like sovereign, generous, forgiving, accessible, helpful) and what He does (sanctifies, seats me in the heavenlies, overcomes). I include thanksgiving because the Bible says, “In all things give thanks.” I didn’t obey that for a long time–now I do. I thank God daily for tests, trials, tension, and for conflict. Then I see how He uses them, and I am less likely to complain and more likely to praise him in difficult times.

REPENT

God takes sin more seriously than I do. Think cross. Repentance sobers me up. I easily overlook a wrong thought, an unkind word. Not to confess could harden my heart to sin. Unforgiveness leads to torment (Matt. 18:35). It was sin that ruined the human race. To repent of sin enables me to not focus on sin. David described what happens to people who ignore sin (Ps. 32). Not a pretty picture. It makes our soul sick–and sometimes our body. God turns from directing to disciplining. We don’t hear His voice in the same way. Confession clears the deck  and brings back fellowship with God and others who walk in the light (I John 1:7). Part 2 next.

DO YOU NEED A BEARD TO PROPHESY? (part 4)

11  When the Spirit shows up in our lives, he brings gifts with him. “To one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kind of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.” And as if he has not emphasized enough the source of the gifts, he says once again that “one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills” (I Corinthians 12:8-11). As has been said, the greatest difference between prophecy in the old and the new is the presence of the Spirit. That is why Paul writes, “You can all prophesy” (14:31), because all Christians have the Spirit. And maybe there were a lot of young prophet types giving it a try, because Paul wrote, “Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good” (I Thess. 5:20,21). That suggests that people may have been getting tired of the newbies going for it, as Paul encouraged. Patience is needed to give the gifts of the Spirit time to mature. No surprise. A new young pastor to the congregation needs some patience from the flock while the preaching/teaching gift matures over time.

12  In addition to Judas and Silas, recognized prophets in Antioch, Philip the evangelist had four prophetic daughters, which show us that you don’t need a beard to prophesy (but you do need the Holy Spirit).

13  Peter quotes something remarkable from Joel about the outpouring of the Spirit and the difference it makes for the people of God in his Pentecost sermon. They have just been filled with the Spirit and all spoke in tongues. Now he says that “your sons and daughters will prophesy” (Acts 2:17).  He even includes the lowest of the low in this radical gift-giving of the Spirit when he says, “Even upon My bondslaves, both men and women I will in those days pour forth of my Spirit and they shall prophesy” (2:18). So the giving of the Spirit would mean a crossing of social and sexual boundaries. Although women were known to prophesy in the Old Covenant, the coming of the Spirit would throw the door wide open to radically include the women with the men and the slaves with people in high places. Then he adds in the same quotation that “your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams” (2:17), suggesting that now hearing from the Lord in the variety of ways that He speaks would not be limited to a chosen few but to all who receive the life-giving Spirit. It was a new day indeed!

14  Highly important to Paul for the exercise of any gift, including the two highly common gifts of tongues and prophecy, was the underlying fruit of the Spirit–love, which is what I Corinthians 13 says explicitly, and it comes between Paul’s longest discourse on spiritual gifts– 12 & 14. The gifts are tools, not toys!  When love is absent, the gift of tongues is disruptive and sounds like a noisy gong rather than an edifying prayer to heaven. Love will remain long after spiritual gifts like prophecy fade away. So, sisters and brothers, let us step in boldly to speak in tongues and to develop the gift of prophecy, “but the greatest of these is love!” (end of series!)