Monday, December 31, 2012

Faithful and True... Everything New.

The beginning of the spiritual life is often difficult not only because the powers which cause us to worry are so strong but also because the presence of God’s Spirit seems barely noticeable.

If, however, we are faithful... (and true...) a new hunger will make itself known. This new hunger is the first sign of God’s presence. When we remain attentive to this divine presence, we will be led always deeper into the kingdom. There, to our joyful surprise, we will discover that all things are being made new.

-- Henri Nouwen

The One sitting on the throne said, “I am making everything new.” He said, “Write this: ‘These words are faithful and true.’”
-- Revelation 21:5 (GWT)

Deo Volente -- Whatever God Wants!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Rescued, The Rescuers

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to His people, who live in the light. 13 For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, 14 Who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.
-- Colossians 1:11-14 (NLT)

As the rescued we must now become the rescuers.
-- Pastor Jeff Griffith

Let's Rejoice!
We have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness!
Now, let's rescue others by living in the Light!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

God Will Sustain Us

The old year is all but over...
A new year is coming fast...
God will sustain us as we trust Him...
His faithfulness will last and last.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
-- Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

Deo Volente -- As God Wills!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Christmas Story -- The Children's Perspective

On Christmas Eve, my friend Suzanne sent me this precious clip of children acting out their own rendition of the Christmas Story. It is inspiring. So before this Christmas season is totally past, watch the story of our Savior's Birth, yes the Luke 2 story, from the refreshing and inspiring perspective of children.

 Click here: The Christmas Story - YouTube


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A White After-Christmas (Whiter Than Snow)

Well, at our home, we are watching the snow come down pretty heavily. Yes it's going to be a white after-Christmas for sure. It is beautiful. To look out the window and see a pure, snow-laden landscape on the Day after we just celebrated the Birth of our Savior is quite inspirational, indeed.

Jesus came from Heaven to earth to wash us and to make us whiter than snow. Yes, The Christ Child came to pardon our sins -- to wash away our acts and deeds of rebellion. He also came to purify our hearts from all Sin -- to cleanse our attitudes and dispositions of rebellion.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.

-- Psalm 51:2 (NLT)

“Come on now, let’s discuss this!” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are bright red,
they will become as white as snow.
Though they are dark red,
they will become as white as wool."

-- Isaiah 1:18 (GWT)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
-- 1 John 1:9 (NIV 1984)

Click here: Kirk Franklin - Jesus Paid It All [White As Snow] - YouTube
Deo Volente -- Whatever God Wants! (Jesus Paid it All!)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mary's Boy Child Born in Bethlehem

On this Blessed Christmas Morning, one song of the season seems to be on my mind above all the others. It's a celebrative rendition of "Mary's Boy Child Jesus Christ" sung by Boney M.

Indeed, we should celebrate. Born is Our King! Yes, we can live forevermore, because of Christmas Day!

Listen to the song now if you'd like.

A holy dance would even be in order. :-)


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Incarnation Should Be Our Inspiration

Christmastime is especially a spiritual season for us to find renewed inspiration in the marvelous mystery of the Incarnation. Yes, God not only came to us, but He became one of us, that He might come to us, even reign within us. Talk about mind-boggling mercy? The Creator became One with His Creation to bring us salvation from sin and to secure our reservation with Him for forever. It's called Love. Christmas Love.

Listen to these wonderful words written down in John 1:1-14 (GWT) --  In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was already with God in the beginning. 3 Everything came into existence through Him. Not one thing that exists was made without Him. 4 He was the source of Life, and that Life was the Light for humanity. 5 The Light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it. 6 God sent a man named John to be His messenger. 7 John came to declare the truth about the Light so that everyone would become believers through his message. 8 John was not the Light, but he came to declare the truth about the Light. 9 The real Light, which shines on everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into existence through Him. Yet, the world didn’t recognize Him. 11 He went to His own people, and His own people didn’t accept Him. 12 However, He gave the right to become God’s children to everyone who believed in Him. 13 These people didn’t become God’s children in a physical way—from a human impulse or from a husband’s desire to have a child. They were born from God. 14 The Word became human and lived among us. We saw His glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with His only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth.

Click here: When Love Came Down (Remade Christmas 2011) - YouTube

Speaking of "Love coming down?" It's Christmas Eve and a gentle snow is beginning to fall here in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Looks like a white Christmas is in the making. Marvelous. 


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Where is God?

We have hardly thought through the immense implications of the mystery of the incarnation. Where is God? God is where we are weak, vulnerable, small and dependent. God is where the poor are, the hungry, the handicapped, the mentally ill, the elderly, the powerless. How can we come to know God when our focus is elsewhere, on success, influence, and power?
-- Henri Nouwen


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Holy Mystery

Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable.

Without the holy night, there is no theology. “God is revealed in flesh,” the God-human Jesus Christ — that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve.

 … . If Christmas time cannot ignite within us again something like a love for holy theology, so that we — captured and compelled by the wonder of the manger of the Son of God — must reverently reflect on the mysteries of God, then it must be that the glow of the divine mysteries has also been extinguished in our heart and has died out.
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Friday, December 21, 2012

Be Born in Me

This Christmas Season have you considered the reply given by the Virgin Mary from Nazareth to the Angel Gabriel when he told her about God's desire to have His Son, her Messiah, and our Savior to be born in and through her? Here is what she said:

“I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”
-- Luke 1:38 (GWT)

Yes, Mary essentially said, "Be born in me." Mary became the first sanctuary for the Presence of the Lord. Bethlehem's manger became the second sanctuary to hold His majesty.

Have we like Mary answered, "Be born in me?" Will we now cradle His Holiness like Bethlehem's manger did some 2,000 years ago?

The song link below was sent to me today by one of my partners in ministry, Pastor Adrian. It is very powerful. Take a few sacred moments to watch the music video, listening prayerfully and carefully to the words so you can echo Mary's answer as your own.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Friday Prayers -- Mayan Calendar Predictions

No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows.
-- Matthew 24:36 (GWT)

Yesterday, I received these questions from someone concerned about tomorrow, Friday, being the end of the world because of the Mayan calendar so-called predictions:

Why does everyone think the world is ending on Friday? It doesn't have anything to do with the Bible, right? All of the predictions on TV are creeping me out.

Here was the heart of my reply:

The Bible says "no one knows the day or the hour except Father God". Doomsdayers may try to rush the end of time, but loving Jesus is what matters most. I personally believe Saturday will come. Of course, Jesus could surprise everyone and come back tonight making Friday irrelevant, too. Peace. The only prayer for Peace we need to pray in times like these is the prayer the criminal on the cross prayed next to Jesus prayed when the end of his life was at hand. "Lord, Remember me when You come in Your Kingdom." (Remember, that prayer was prayed on a Friday as well. Yes, Good Friday.) 

ALL JOY to your world. ALL PEACE to your soul.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Prayer

On Sunday, Joan and Amos Wimer lit the Advent Candle for one of our local church services. After Amos read a selection from Scripture, Joan prayed a most beautiful prayer. I asked her for a copy so I could share it with others. Here it is:

Loving Father, help us remember the birth of Jesus,

that we may share in the song of the angels,

the gladness of the shepherds

and the wisdom of the wise men. 

Close the door of hate

and open the door of love all over the world. 

Let kindness come with every gift

and good desires with every greeting. 

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,

and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. 

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children,

and the Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,

forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake.



Written by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Realizing Christ as Our Neighbor

As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as our neighbor, as one through whom...
(1) ...God calls for us
(2) ...God speaks to us
(3) ...God makes demands of us.
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

ALL JOY to your world! ALL PEACE to your soul!

Monday, December 17, 2012

If We Give Up On Christmas?

In the wake of these December school shooting in Connecticut, USA, some are asking if Christmas should just be cancelled? Should we turn off the decorative lights associated with these year-end Holy Days?

I say, "Please don't cancel Christmas. And please don't turn off the lights, because right now our dark world needs all of the light it can get."

If we give up on Christmas, we give up on Faith, Hope and Love.
And we will sadly give in to hate, violence, and darkness.

Father God, thanks for giving to us Your Son and for giving through Him Your Peace that is not of this world, but is for this world.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Comforting Expressions of Christ Through Art

My Friend, Bill, sent me this Youtube link below. In the wake of the tragic elementary school shooting this past week in Connecticut, USA, where 20 children and 7 adults died, these artistic images of Christ offer a measure of comfort to my own soul. I pray it will provide the same for yours: 
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”
-- Words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
Comfort us, Lord...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Haiti Finale

Friday in Haiti was a glorious finale. The little mountainside country church was overflowing with pastors and leaders. The Holy Spirit within us and among us was powerful and undeniable. Encouragement filled our souls.

The highlight of Friday for me was three-fold:

Highlight #1: What wonder filled my soul when I was able to declare these words in the morning session, yes, wonder filled words once spoken by Jesus at another spiritually dark location, Caesarea Philippi and recorded in Matthew 16, verse 18, : "I will build My church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!"

Immediately the congregation started shouting "Amens" and "Hallelujahs" in reply to Jesus' words.

Highlight #2: The Haitian pastors gathered around the four of us from The States to pray a God-filled, humbling benediction over our lives as the gathering came to a close.

Highlight #3: I got to photograph little Haitian girls wearing dresses hand-sewn by a precious widow in our local church, Mrs. Shirley. It was a glorious fashion show that surely touched Heaven's heart.

And yes, one more thing to report. I finally learned my little Haitian buddy's real name. You know, the little crippled boy I lovingly named "Happy". His real name is best understood in English as "Michael." God bless that precious little soul. Keep praying for him, please.

I am sorry I posted so late today, but traveling home prevented me from getting online earlier.

Thanks again for partnering with me in prayer. I believe it is very possible that Haiti is headed for a real revival that will eventually impact the whole world. Wouldn't it be just like our God to start with the poorest of the poor in Spirit to bring a spiritual awakening to planet earth?


P.S. As we boarded our plane at Port au Prince airport, we heard of the tragic school-shooting in Connecticut, USA. Our hearts are hurting for the families of the precious victims.

Friday, December 14, 2012

"Happy, Happy, Happy" In Haiti

Thursday was another wonderful day with the pastors and church leaders here in Kenscoff, Haiti. I am so very grateful for the prayers you have prayed and will continue to pray as the gathering concludes today, Friday.

And yes, I got to encourage the people. The theme of the message the Lord gave me to share was "From Heaven, God Will Hear Us In Haiti, When We Pray." The overflowing church house seemed to be rocking back and forth as the precious Holy Spirit of Truth spoke the Good News of God's Word through me and the interpreter, Pastor Jean Alix.

Pastor James preached before me on "Walking in the Light" and Pastor Jeff Griffith followed me telling the crowd, "The Blessed, Must Become Blessers." Then, Pastor Ron Skeeters concluded the gathering by distributing new Bibles to everyone who attended. On the first day all the pastors got new study Bibles, but Thursday everyone in attendance got a new Bible in their native language, Creole.

Just before the Bibles were distributed, a precious, old Haitian man who was sitting behind me named Tyna, said, "Brother, your message made me very Happy, Happy, Happy inside. Can you please make sure I get a new Bible?" He then showed me his only copy of God's Word. It was old and worn out from much use, and the type-size was small and getting more difficult for him to read as he is aging. As soon as the cases of new Bibles came from the side room, I walked up and pulled one out for Brother Tyna and hand-delivered I to him. He was overcome with joy. "Happy, Happy, Happy!"

And yes, if you read my blog yesterday, the little, crippled boy came back my way. He was smiling all over himself as he approached me for the second day in a row. I still cannot find out his name, but I did find out that he about 6-years-old and was born with crippled legs. It has done nothing to break his spirit, however. He too is "Happy, Happy, Happy!" In fact, the backpack he carries has one word written across the back of it -- "Happy!" So for now, I have named my little buddy "Happy!"

Today's theme at the gathering will be "Surrendering to God's Plan".

Pray God's favor will prevail.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Haitian Highlights

The gathering for pastors and leaders here in Haiti began yesterday. Pastor James Spruill said it was the most people he's ever seen on the first day. The church was full. Between 200-250 coming from miles around to be encouraged in God's calling upon their lives.

After Pastor James set the tone of the gathering by speaking on "Christmas Being God's Mission to Rescue Us", my long-time friend, Pastor Jeff Griffith, challenged all who have been rescued to now become rescuers of others. Also, Pastor Ron Skeeters from Tennessee came to give new Bibles to each pastor in attendance. They came up one-by-one and received their gift. What joy was evident on their faces.

We then toured the local school here in Kenscoff and spent much of the afternoon one-on-one with the children. I gave lifesaver candy to most every kid that came my way. It warmed my heart thinking that the theme of the day had been rescue and lifesaver candy is what I sensed I should pack to bring to Haiti.

The highlight of my day happened as we were sitting alongside the entrance and exit of the property smiling at the children as they were leaving school for long walks home. I saw one little boy coming with what appeared to be extreme cerebral palsy of the legs. Our eyes met. He walked right to me and leaned his back on my chest for about ten minutes. I suppose he was giving his little bent legs time to rest and my open arms looked like a good place to let it happen. I do know my own soul found rest in his resting moments as well. I loaded his little lunchbox with lifesaver candy, prayed blessings over him, had someone take a photo of me and him, and then he was on his way again.

I hope to get a translator today so I can learn his name and maybe his story. God has a plan for this precious Haitian boy. His legs may be crippled but I just know deep in my soul that His life will bring celebration in Heaven as he touches eternal souls on planet earth.

Pastor James told me to be ready to speak today. I covet your prayers. I pray the Haitian people will be able align my life and my words with RomansTenFifteen. I want to encourage them in the Name of Jesus. Yes, I want to deliver Good News here in Haiti in the Name of The Bethlehem Boy.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Bottle of Dasani Water in Jesus' Name

Yesterday was a wonderful day for us here in the mountains of Haiti. Yes, indeed. With the pastors' conference beginning today, yesterday gave us time to go up high on the mountain to visit a school and church with Brother James Spruill, who was instrumental in planting the church and building the school there over fifteen years ago.

After meeting with the precious children at the school house, the four of us here from the States set out for a hike up the mountain nearby. In the second bend of the trail we met a young farmer man from the village. He was very kind and though he spoke broken French (Creole) and I spoke broken English (Southern), our hearts seemed to melt together immediately. He looked thirsty to me, so with the Lord's divine nudging, I gave him my new bottle of Dasani water. When I presented it to him, I said (in my southern broken English of course) "I give you this bottle of water in the name of Jesus." He accepted it with a big smile. It seemed he understood me exactly.

As we prepared to move on beyond the young Haitian man to continue our full-circle journey back to the church house, the young man delightfully reversed his direction and decided to just walk along with us. Maybe he thought we needed a guide or security along the way? Or maybe he was attracted to the presence of Christ within us and among us? Anyway, he just fell in line with us, and we fell in love with him.

Whenever we passed the humble homes of the locals along the mountain pathway, the young farmer man would politely smile and say something to cause the people to greet us with instant openness. Pastor James seemed to think perhaps the young farmer man played guitar at the local church we were there to visit. So the other three of us just took him into our circle of wonder, love, and praise like would a family member.

 For about an hour or more the five of us walked along -- taking pictures, sharing stories, and laughing aloud together. The young farmer man still traveling with us was obviously glad to meet our acquaintance. He seemed to bask in the Holy Spiritual community the other four of us were without a doubt just taking for granted as Jesus-believers.

 Finally, we all arrived back at the church house and school yard. Our pleasant, mountain-journey had reached its conclusion. The young farmer man seemed surprised when I gave him five American dollars and said "Thank you, brother!" He had, after all, taken at least an hour away from his daily duties to make our trip special and though five dollars seemed like a lot of money to him, later I realized that me calling him "brother" may have been the greatest surprise to his ears.

We went into the church house to cool off and the young farmer man just came right in with us. When we entered we asked the local Haitian pastor, Jean Alix, (who had not been with us on the hike) to help us communicate language-wise with our new-found farmer friend. We at last learned through translation that our unknown friend's name was Aristan.
Then the pastor asked him, "Are you a member of this local church?" Aristan answered, "No. I am not even a Christian." The pastor asked him, "Would you like to pray to receive Christ? Would you like to be spiritually saved?" Aristan's eyes moistened up as he answered sincerely, "Yes, I would!"
With wonderful surprise in our souls, we all gathered around Aristan agreeing together as he prayed prayers of repentance for the very first time (and in his own language). Yes, the young farmer man we had met on the mountain asked Christ to be His Savior. What a wonder-filled moment!
To use a phrase of the Haitians: "Mercy Jesus!" It means "Thank You, Jesus!"   

Though I had someone take my picture earlier with Aristan (about the same time we met him, yes, right after I had given him my bottle of Dasani water), after sharing a wonderful embrace and crying a few tears of joy with one another, we had our picture made together again. Next, I took the rubber bracelet off my arm with God's five-word promise from Isaiah 49 engraved on it, "I will never forget you" and placed it on Aristan's arm. Pastor Jean Alix translated the bracelet's written message aloud to our new brother, Aristan.

Yesterday, Tuesday, was indeed a double-blessing day for me.
(1) I realized something of what Jesus might have been saying when He spoke these words in Matthew 10:42 (NLT) -- "And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

(2) And I was indeed rewarded. A precious Haitian soul that the Lord put on our pathway went from spiritual death to spiritual life.
Let us never underestimate the power of the Lord's presence within us and among us as we walk the pathways of this world He died to save.


Today, I am truly humbled, totally speechless... and surely...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My First Morning in Haiti

It's my first morning in Haiti.

Yes, yesterday afternoon I arrived for the first time in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Poverty is immediately evident, but the beauty of the land and the people is immediately evident as well. The ride up along the mountain road to Kenscoff was sun-kissed. Poinsettias grow wild along the roadside -- God-planted Christmas decor.

Last evening after our arrival, the pastor's family we are staying with prepared a welcome-to-Haiti supper fit for royalty. The main dish was Red Snapper, yes, baked fish. (My fisherman dad would have loved it especially.) Then there was fresh salad with avacado, potatoes, egg plant and of course the staple food here in Haiti, rice and beans. Finally, yesterday was also the pastor's brother's forty-fifth birthday, so we finished our meal with birthday cake.
The Haitians are early to bed and early to rise. Through the Haitian night, the sounds in the mountains are many -- motorcycles winding, roosters crowing sporadically, and then there are the dogs. The best way to define their hollering sounds is to say, "The dogs must be the Haitian form of fireworks without the fire!" It truly sounded like a fireworks show most of the night. Still somehow, the noises all came together in a sweet chorus that ushered in hallowed rest. 

The beauty, the sounds, and especially the Haitian people are all uniquely awesome to me.

Prayers are so appreciated as we anticipate the pastors' conference. Hundreds of pastors are preparing to join us here in the mountains. Please pray that in these mountains created by our Lord, whatever is needed will be provided.


Monday, December 10, 2012

A Wonderful Life -- Duration and Donation

A wonderful life is not measured only in its duration, its overall length, but also in its donation, it's overflowing love. While I believe -- wholeheartedly believe -- that longevity is the greatest convincer, love is surely the greatest contributor.

The greatest illustraton ever of what I am saying is the earthly life that Jesus lived. He walked the earth for only thirty-three years. That's not that long when it comes to duration. However, when we look at the sacrifice of His life, the donation of love He made, we can surely respond with these words: "WHAT A WONDERFUL LIFE!!!"


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Out-Heart, Out-Smart

Take courage believers. With our hearts purified by faith and the mind of Christ being formed within us, the enemy cannot out-heart us or out-smart us.
Dear children, you belong to God. So you have won the victory over these people, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
-- 1 John 4:4
Holiness Unto The LORD!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmastime is Giving Time

While visiting my mom and dad in November, our neighbor's home across the street was open for the sale of her personal items. Yes, Mrs. Fleita had recently passed away and now her home was being emptied for the new owners to move in.

I went into the home and looked in the many boxes of home decor, etc. It was, however, in the attic storage that I discovered dusty items that I could remember our life-long neighbor by. So, I left Mrs. Fleita's property with three personal treasures:

1. An old, empty, jewelry box. It must be 75-100 years old.

2. An aged, Italian-crafted, table-top, Bethlehem Nativity.

3. A short poem printed on very old paper about Christmastime.

Here's the short but powerful poem written by a C. Sylvester Green:

Christmastime is giving time;
When gifts would love convey.
Was ever a gift like JESUS given
On any Christmas Day?

Christmastime is giving time;
He gave for man His all.
At Christmastime, our giving time,
His gift to man recall.

I thank God for His gift that words cannot describe.
-- 2 Corinthians 9:15 (GWT)

Let's remember at "Christ is the Season, and We are the Reason!"

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Season. The Reason.

Recently, my wife and I were shopping at a craft store in the Christmas season section. Suddenly I saw that one of the decorations had this message written on it:

Christ is the Season. We are the Reason.

It warmed my soul.

And of course, John 3:16-17 comes clear in my mind:

16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave  His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.
-- John 3:16-17 (NLT)


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Urge Us to Pray

The thought that God is longing to find His home and His rest in the hearts of people will urge us to pray. All the thoughts of our weakness and unworthiness will be swallowed up in the wonderful assurance that God has spoken concerning His desire to dwell in humans hearts.
-- Andrew Murray paraphrased

“This is My resting place forever,” He said.
“I will live here, for this is the home I desired.
-- Psalm 132:14 (NLT)

Jesus replied, “All who love Me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and We will come and make Our home with each of them.
-- Words of Jesus in John 14:23 (NLT)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Our Lives Are Not Our Own

What does this verse say to you? I would love to have your comments.

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course.

-- Jeremiah 10:23 (NLT)


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"God's Omnipresence is Omnipresent!"

Rev. Charlie's wife of many wonderful years, Mrs. Janelle, went to be with the Lord this past year. He recently left this joy-filled, heart wrenching, yet heartwarming message on my phone's voice mail:

"Kerry, going through the Christmas holidays without my dear wife is very different this year, but I want to report that God's omnipresence is omnipresent!"
...God has said, “I will never abandon you or leave you.”
-- Hebrews 13:5b (GWT)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why the Manger? Why the Cross?

God the Father sent His Son to Bethlehem's Manger to bring Himself to us. He then sent His Son to Calvary's Cross to bring us to Himself.