Tag Archives: Purpose

our responsibility in our spiritual battle

Meditation Journey Day 51      

Hi Friend,

King David’s response to seeing evil is:

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! Men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!  Psalm 139:19

We have seen how David has been made aware of God’s loving kindness in verses 1-18 of Psalm 139, and he has embraced the precious thoughts God has about him. Now he sees the evil in and around him in vivid colors. His first reaction was to expect God to destroy them; his second response was to simply expect them to leave. God wants us to do more in a battle with evil.

God wants us to do more in a battle with evil.

In verse 20, David turns to God and petitions Him once more; this time for God to defend God’s good name.  “They speak against you (God) with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!” David is still expecting God to do what only David can do, which is take the responsibility for the sin he has in his life.

rosevelt(Please note, I know the battle is the LORD’s and it is His power that defeats the enemy, but there is a personal responsibility in our spiritual battles that we must accept. It is not that we must pay for our sin because we cannot. Jesus Christ is our Redeemer and justifier.  Our responsibility is to accept our choices and to bring them to God in humility. The battles are allowed so that we might seek His grace and power to work through us. Our spiritual battles are allowed by Him to transform us, not just to change our circumstances. Romans 8:28-29)

What David is saying is true; the enemy does speak against God. Satan always wants to malign the character of God. People that speak maliciously about God or the Bible do have evil thoughts working in their minds. They ignore that God’s word judges them, they do not judge it!

God’s enemies do take His name in vain. When we think ugly thoughts about God we concur with the evil of this world. If we allow the thoughts of the wicked to become our thoughts, we set ourselves against God.

God wants David to understand that the evil facing him in his spiritual battle will only be changed as David makes the internal decision to be in total agreement and dependence on God. God never makes anyone believe in Him. God always honors our freedom to choose.  He allows the wicked to be wicked, and He gives us, His Beloved, opportunity to become Christ-like as we take ownership of our behavior.

“God wants David to understand that the evil facing him in his spiritual battle will only be changed as David makes the internal decision to be in total agreement and dependence on God.”

What David is doing up to this point in the process is typical of human nature. We think God or someone else will be the solution to our problems. That is not how God wants to relate to us. He wants us to trust Him by faith, therefore, giving us the spiritual tools to allow Him to work through us. Spiritual transformation is always from the inside out. We must receive God’s life in our human spirit and grow Christ’s nature in us through faith and obedience.

Our natural thinking is to ask God to change our circumstances to our liking, and if God does not do what we think is right, we typically resent His decision.  However, God has another agenda for us. He redeemed us to transform us internally by way of our trusting and obeying Him. We are naturally on a track to be conformed externally to our surrounding environment. But the Holy Spirit wants us to be spiritually transformed by God’s word internally (Romans 12). It all depends on whether or not we turn to God and humbly take responsibility for the choices we make.

Observation: In verse 20, David continues his typical human response to the problem of evil. He is expecting God to remove it. Only this time He is appealing to God’s honor as the basis of why God must act. However, God has an eternal desire for His Beloved to be transformed from the inside out to become Christ-like. 

Interpretation: When we see God’s goodness and kindness, as we observe in Psalm 139, the evil in the world and in our lives challenges its veracity. We naturally hope God will remove it or that it will just go away. God in His perfect wisdom designed us not just to know the truth but to become like Christ. That only happens as we are transformed internally by His eternal power. This happens as we nurture the new nature of Christ in us by engrafting His word and yielding to His Spirit.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for insisting I grow in my faith by making me take responsibility for the evil in my life. Give me the grace to trust your word and to yield to your Spirit as I fight the good fight of faith. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

 

 

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the spiritually normal response

Meditation Journey Day 50       

Hi Friend,

What is the spiritually normal response to truth?

We are now in the Valley of Victory of Psalm 139:19-22. These verses are a pattern and process of how we gain Victory over evil and sin in our own life. They come after we have seen the beauty of the LORD in the preceding verses 1-18. David is displaying what our hearts will do when we have seen the Lord’s loving-kindness and gracious mercy.

This is the process of repentance and it is the spiritually normal response.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! Men of blood, depart from me!

What David is saying is, LORD I see your truth and hold your thoughts precious in my change-1heart. Now I know the wickedness around me and in me and I do not like it! Turning towards God, David asks, “God, can you please change my circumstances?” Then David turns towards the evil and says, Men of blood, depart from me!” David is sick of the sin his eyes see and his heart is burdened by the evil associations he has accepted. His expectations are that God will remove them and change the circumstance. David then turns to the men of blood and hopes that by simply telling them to leave the problem will be solved. It won’t.

The wicked and the men of blood, while they may have been real people to David, are metaphors of the lies and half-truths we believe.

The wicked and the men of blood, while they may have been real people to David, are metaphors of the lies and half-truths we believe. The wicked thoughts that we believe have been leading us to rebellion and darkness. They are the seeds of bitterness and rejection that tell us God does not love us. The evil thoughts are lusts of all kinds that sell us pleasure as a sanctuary of false peace. The men of blood are demon’s lies that murder our hope and slaughter our purpose. Friend, they will not go away simply because we ask.

The Holy Spirit is powerful enough to destroy them all independently of us, but He does not always choose to exercise His power.

repent-turnaround1Why, because He wants us to gain the victory from the inside out. He wants us to “stand strong in the Lord and the power of His might” with an internal confidence in God. How we stand in the Lord’s power will come clearer as we proceed on this journey. Just remember what you have learned to this point. The Holy Spirit has given us God’s precious thoughts in Psalm 139 and now He wants us to receive it, believe it and obey it. This is the only path the world, sin, and Satan will be defeated in our lives.

Observation: David sees the wickedness around him and he responds in the spiritually normal way of wanting freedom and change. His first two responses to the realization he needs change are typical and non-productive. David was expecting God to change his circumstances or he hoped they would just go away on their own accord.

Interpretation: The road to spiritual victory starts with the Holy Spirit revealing to us God’s loving kindness. He leads us to the foot of the cross to see the grace poured out on us. That is what we have been receiving through Psalm 139:1-18. Jesus Christ’ sacrifice on the cross obtained all the blessings we have received from God. As we become alive in Christ, the wickedness of this world becomes more uncomfortable. Our response typically is to expect God to change our circumstances. He could but He does not because He wants an internal and everlasting transformation of our hearts.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for your gracious mercy revealed in Jesus Christ dying for me. I know all your grace freely flows to me through His death, burial and resurrection. As I receive your precious thoughts and obey them the sin in my life becomes more obvious. It challenges your word and resists your truth. Help me to take the responsibility to internally allow you to change me. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Slay the wicked, O God!

Meditation Journey Day 49     

Hi Friend,

Have you ever felt like David did in Psalm 139:19? He cries out, Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!” God, will you please get rid of the evil around me?

That cry begins the process for David to gain a victory in his spiritual battle. It is where we begin too! Keep in mind while David may have been thinking of literal bad people in his world whereas our spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battles are against the lies and half truths pressed upon us by the world, the devil, and our own sinful nature.

Keep in mind while David may have been thinking of literal bad people in his world whereas our spiritual battle is not against flesh and blood. Our battles are against the lies and half truths pressed upon us by the world, the devil, and our own sinful nature.

David has journeyed through the wonderful truths of verses 1-18 in his song of praise to God, Psalm 139. As he becomes aware that all the heavenly blessings are true he also realizes the wickedness he has accepted in his life. He has internalized God’s loving kindness, and it has changed his perspective of The LORD, himself and the evil around him. He now understands he has been living by Satan’s thoughts and the world’s values. Radical change is coming to David; he is beginning to be transformed as he puts off the lies of Satan and puts on the truth of God. This is also our first step to being transformed. When we see God as He really is and ourselves through the lens of His precious thoughts, we will change our direction and perspective to His way. The Bible calls this repentance.

Anytime we read, hear or see the kindness of God and do not breathe a prayer repentof humble thanks for His mercy; we are not receiving His truth into our hearts.

Repentance always happens in our lives when we receive God’s kindness and embrace His goodness revealed in Jesus Christ. Listen to what Paul wrote about repentance, “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” All the truth of the first eighteen verses of Psalm 139 is God’s kindness to us. It was given by the Holy Spirit to lead us to change our direction and repent. Anytime we read, hear or see the kindness of God and do not breathe a prayer of humble thanks for His mercy; we are not receiving His truth into our hearts. We would then be presuming on God’s grace. The Holy Spirit is trying to transform us through God’s thoughts, and we resist Him by thinking they are not important! We assume God is not speaking about me, or we consider the Bible as a book just written by man and doubt its truthfulness. You may be presuming at this very moment I am not in need of this message! Remember the first step in receiving God’s Word is to realize it is a personal word from God to us (Proverbs 2). All our negative presuming about God’s Word is just a form of arrogance and pride.

David did receive God’s thoughts as precious, and now he sees the wickedness all around him. The prophet Isaiah experienced the same repentant attitude when he saw the Lord high and lifted up in the temple. He cried out, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” All through the Bible, we have accounts of people who saw the Lord’s grace and kindness and they melted into a new perspective of God and themselves. It always happens when we encounter the Living God! I pray it begins to happen to you as you humbly receive the precious thoughts in Psalm 139:1-18. 

You will know you have begun to transform when you become aware of the lies you have accepted about God and yourself. David cried, “Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!” He was saying, God, please get rid of the evil I now see in me and around me! Are you beginning to experience a changing attitude toward God and yourself as you journey through Psalm 139?

This is the point where the spiritual battle rages all the time. What we believe about God and ourselves is the critical point of us gaining freedom. Psalm 139 paints a grace-filled picture of Father God’s love and kindness. The more that becomes clear the more we can see the evil we have believed and accepted into our hearts. Then we too will become very uncomfortable with the world’s evil that we accept and the secular thoughts we embrace. We will also begin to cry out, O God take away the wickedness in my heart and in my world!

Observation: Verses 19 is David’s cry as he becomes aware of the evil around him. This is the first step of transformation when we have actually received and internalized God’s precious thoughts.

Interpretation: Verses 19-22 are a model of the process of repentance. It may be somewhat different for each person, but it contains the basic process to walk us through repentance. Each step is another layer of transformation in our walk of faith. If this process of internal change is not happening in us; then we are assuming that the message is not true or not for us. We are probably not nurturing our spiritual garden. Have you hidden any of Psalm 139 in your hearts ?

Application Prayer: Father God, I see you in a different light through the words of Psalm 139. I view myself different too. I am ashamed of the lies I have believed, and I pray that you will remove the evil from my life. Please slay my sinfulness and the wickedness in me  … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

How to win the Spiritual War!

Meditation Journey Day 48              

Hi Friend,

Today we begin a very practical and critically important section of Psalm 139. At first look verses, 19-22 do not feel like they should be in this Psalm. Up till now, we have received one gracious blessing after another.

Through Psalm 139:1-16, we learned God esteems us worthy of His constant attention and time. He never leaves us, His Beloved, because He cares so deeply about our welfare. He chose us and created us for a glorious purpose. Then in verse 19-22 the tone changes and the air is charged with anger and hate. The vitriol is not God’s attitude towards David, but it is David’s feelings toward the wicked.

Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! Men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain! Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them, my enemies! Psalm 139:19-22

What is curious about the passage is that it is mostly a discussion between David and God. David only gives one negative sentence to the bloody men; the rest of the passage is David speaking to God and himself.

hit-1This is a model of how to win the spiritual warfare that every Christian faces. Over the next several days we will dissect this passage to learn the course of action we must take to resist Satan. The Holy Spirit wants us to understand this because He desires to destroy the Enemy’s strongholds in our minds.

Jesus said He came to give us abundant life, yet many Christians walk in defeat. Every day they are badgered by guilt, shame or fear. If we personally receive God’s thoughts about us in Psalm 139 and obediently believe them we can experience what Jesus promised. We need to trust His word and believe it is possible for us to continually experience the abundant life Jesus promised.

Here are some basic facts about this war. The spiritual battle of a Christian’s life is unavoidable. Our primary enemy is Satan, he hates God and all God has created and loves, therefore, he hates us. Jesus described Satan clearly when He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10).

The devil and his minions are the enemies; not any person in your life. Paul made it clear in Ephesians 6 that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” When we are mentally fighting with people we are losing the battle and Satan just laughs.

The battlefield of this continual war is in our minds. The weapon we use to defend ourselves and destroy Satan’s strongholds is the Word of God. The power of this lethal weapon is the Spirit of the Living God. Our role in this fight is to yield to God’s Spirit and engraft His word into our hearts and minds. As we humble ourselves to God, He gives us the grace to resist Satan and causes him to flee. (James 4).

Our role in this fight is to yield to God’s Spirit and engraft His word into our hearts and minds. As we humble ourselves to God, He gives us the grace to resist Satan and causes him to flee. (James 4).

The Christian life does not work for many people because they do not yield to God’s Spirit and obey God’s word. Learning how to resist Satan and his deadly temptations is a major step in living a healthy spiritual life. If you embrace the truth of this Psalm you will have a solid framework to nurture your faith in God and experience a confident relationship with Christ.

Please notice I never said you would have a pain free, struggle free, or conflict free life. SurrenderThat is heaven’s reward. What God gives to us here is a joyous life filled with His presence and peace.

The battle is raging. I pray you will put on the armor of God’s precious thoughts and stand against the enemy.

Observation: In verses, 19-22 David’s tone has changed from praise and wonder of God’s blessing to anger and hatred towards God’s enemies. We are in a spiritual war with evil and we must learn how God designed us to win. Remember we wrestle not against flesh and blood!

Interpretation: Through this section, we begin to see the battle in which we are engaged. This passage is a model of how we defeat sin, Satan and the lies of the world. Many Christians are defeated by the Enemy because they do not yield themselves to God’s Spirit and believe His precious thoughts.

Application Prayer: Father God, Teach me to fight the good fight of faith. I chose to humble myself to your gracious thoughts revealed in Psalm 139. I believe you see me worthy of loving. I believe you are always with me and have created me to be a blessing. Help me to resist Satan’s lies and keep me close to you. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

 

Spiritual Battle: The Eternal Perspective!

Meditation Journey Day 47

These two verses give us the strategy we need for our daily conflict with sin and Satan.

Hi Friend,

spiritual-warfareSoon we will enter the Valley of Victory, verses 19-22 in Psalm 139. Those verses describe our spiritual war zone. In preparation for the battle ahead, we need to continue unpacking verses, 17-18, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”

These two verses give us the strategy we need for our daily conflict with sin and Satan. The three main points of these verses are:

1) Our proper attitude toward God’s word: It is the only way of truth and it is a precious treasure.

2) Our confidence in God’s Love: It is sustained by the vast amount of His blessings.

3) Our commitment to persevere: He is with us whatever the outcome of a battle might be.

 

We have already looked at the first two points; today we need to grasp the third critical element.

In light of all, God had revealed about His love for us; David concludes: “I awake, and I am still with you.”  Remember King David was a warrior. His conclusion is not just a sweet thing to say about God, but a part of the strategic thinking we need to have if we are to defeat the evil in our earthly nature (Col.3). We think of David as the boy who slew Goliath with a sling, but he fought many battles in hand to hand combat. As a grown man who has survived a war and been hunted by King Saul, he had a great appreciation for God keeping him alive. However, this statement goes beyond being safe in this world. David is revealing the eternal perspective a victorious person must have to win. This eternal perspective says no matter what the enemy does to me I know God will take care of me and I will emerge victoriously.

This eternal perspective says no matter what the enemy does to me I know God will take care of me and I will emerge victoriously.

This was the confidence the three Hebrew men had when the Babylonian King tried to firey-furnacemake them worship the golden statue of his image. If they refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar then they would be thrown into a fiery furnace. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego confidently refused to disobey God and gave this reply to the pagan King, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3). The three men had a faith that was totally confident in the outcome of their standing for truth. This is what David is implying when he wrote, “I awake, and I am still with you.”  No matter what I will face God, I know you are with me and you will sustain me.

To face our spiritual battles we too need to have the ultimate confidence in God’s truth. If you learn to meditatively engraft God’s word into your heart you will grow in your confidence of His love and care. This is the way to walk in victory; trusting in His word and relying on His Spirit.

 

Observation: David was so confident in God’s love that he could trust Him whatever the outcome of a battle might be.

Interpretation: To face the giants in our lives we need to have a deep conviction that truth will win. God’s thoughts are precious because they reveal the vast love God gives to us. Knowing this is true gives us a strong confidence that we can stand with truth in our lives no matter the cost.

Application Prayer: Father God, help me to engraft your word into my heart. Infuse into my mind the precious thoughts you revealed to David in Psalm 139. Help me to trust your word in all circumstances no matter what the cost maybe. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Have you Partaken Today?

Hi Friend,

Before we begin our descent from the Majestic Mountains of Purpose in Psalm 139 I want to visit King David’s spontaneous praise in verse fourteen.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

This outburst of praise was the result of David’s heart being washed with wave after wave of revelation of the LORD’s kindness and care. David has traveled through the understanding that God knowing him in every way and everywhere. He has found God to be faithfully gracious at every turn. Now as God describes David’s prenatal development in such intimate terms it is too much for his heart to sit still with a closed mouth.

King David, the psalmist of Israel, cries out to his God and King with the sweetest praise his mind can express. It is the last line that tells us why David exploded with joyous praise, “my soul knows it very well.”

Have the words of Psalm 139 begun to sink into your soul? Have you begun to pray it, sing it or memorize it? I ask this not to shame you but to remind you of the journey we are taking. My prayer is not for us to be amazed at David’s experience, but to engraft the love of God into our hearts.

The Apostle Peter in his second letter says it clearly. He explains why we need to intentionally process God’s word into our hearts as we had learned in Proverbs 2:1-5.

Partake“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature,” 2 Peter 1.

His promises are His truth as revealed in Psalm 139. God gave us His word to “partake” of His very being! The word, partake, means to share or for God’s nature to become part of you. If we eat the word like the Bread of Life and tend our hearts like a spiritual garden we will become more Christ–like. It happened to the shepherd boy, David, and it can happen to us too!

Reflect on this passage one more time….

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

I pray that through the word we all partake of Jesus deeply and often. Please pray for one another with me.

Observation: David’s praise was an expression of his soul being filled with God’s love.

Interpretation: God’s truth is of little value to us unless we partake of it through a meditative process. To be transformed into Christ-likeness we need His nature engrafted into our hearts.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for your word. Teach me how to eat it daily. Help me to not just be a hearer of the word but a receiver of your very nature. I yield my heart and mind to your word.  … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Were You Predestined?

Meditation Journey Day 43   

Hi Friend,

In the sixteenth verse of this Psalm, David takes us up a difficult path in these majestic mountains of Purpose…

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16

This passage is difficult for us to understand because it implies God planned each day of our lives before we were born. The days were written down in God’s book and we did not get to choose one of them. This is the concept of being pre-designed or predestined. Paul penned a similar thought in Ephesians 1.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

What is difficult for us to understand is the balance between God’s sovereign will and God's will Man's willman’s free will. Understanding how these two opposing positions co-exist is never easy. It is comforting to know no theologian has thoroughly figured this out either. While it is reassuring to us that God is in control; we like to think we are making our own decisions. Both processes are always operating in parallel. God is always in control and working all things together for the good of His beloved. At the same time God allows each person to exercise their free will; and they are totally responsible for every choice they make. We see this in the Bible in many events. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is a glaring example. When Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders he was acting out his own desires. At the same moment God was using Judas’ sinful nature to fulfill God’s plan of sacrificing Jesus to redeem the world.

However, the Bible is clear that God does call and choose us. Rejoice that your decision for Christ began in the heart of God before you were born.

He is holding you; it is not your faith holding on to Him.

Verse sixteen is magnificent, because it tells us God has a plan for our lives. His design of our being, as revealed in verses 13-15, is perfect for the plan that He has set in process. The prophet, Jeremiah revealed the LORD’s plans for God’s people when he wrote, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, thoughts of peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29. How could God say this if He did not already have ultimate control of everything as a sovereign God?

This verse also speaks powerfully about our ultimate purpose for being on earth. The picture, in verse 16, is God looking at our prenatal substance and deciding how we will best impact the world for His purposes. It implies God designed us and sends us into this world as agents of His healing grace and love. We are prescriptions on a mission to reveal the healing love of God through the grace of Jesus Christ. He has prepared in-advance good works for us to do. Remember what Paul wrote, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2

Every person has a God-given purpose and reason for being alive. Human life is sacred because we are made in His image and designed to fulfill good works for His glory. You may or may not know exactly what your purpose is at all times, but trust Him. He is working all things together to accomplish it in your life.

Hand

Here are three things that are His will everyday of our lives: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5. As we confidently rejoice, pray and give thanks; we will enjoy His plans for our lives. He has designed each day to give us the hope we need to rest in His Sovereign authority and love.

 

Observation: Verse 13-16 reveals God has pre-designed us for purpose each day. His plans are for our welfare and to give us hope. God’s will and man’s will, may at times be opposite, but God is still working all things together for His beloved.

Interpretation: This truth gave David peace and assurance that God had a divine purpose for his life. It should encourage us too. Our minds, limited by time and space, cannot fully understand how God executes His will without violating man’s free will; yet God constantly works this way. We should rest in the knowledge that He is in control. He designed us to do good works that will glorify Him and bless us. Our focus should be on praying, rejoicing and giving thanks to Him each day.

Application Prayer: Father God, my faith is in you and your loving kindness. I do not completely understand how you ordered my life to give you glory, but I trust your design and purpose for my life. Help me to rejoice each day with prayer and thanksgiving for your Sovereignty and grace. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?