Delegated Authority – What will I do with it?

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government[a] will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government[a] and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. [Isaiah 9; [a] rule, dominion]

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. [Ephesians 1]

Me:
Good morning Father!
ABBA:
Good morning Jon!
Me:
I look forward to the fulfillment of Your plan! In our current governmental systems, we have nothing like unity or unending peace.
ABBA:
I have given among men the freedom to choose. When the times reach their fulfillment, all things will be brought into unity. In the mean time, you have the freedom to choose. All the things that are under your authority can, even today, be brought into unity under the Son.
Me:
What things are under my authority?
ABBA:
What you will believe. What you will do with the time alloted to you. What you will speak. What you will give. Whether you will follow My Word and heed My Spirit, and love my Son. Will you love others? Will you show compassion? Will you trust Me when others deny Me? The matters of your own heart and of your own mind, these are under your authority. Will you stand on the Truth or compromise for safety or convenience? In My Son, I have freely given you life in place of the wage of death that you had earned in sin. No one can take you out of My hand. Therefore, no one can take away the choices of what you decide to do under the authority that I have given you. In these things, under Jesus, in the Spirit, by My zeal for this plan of redemption, let your mind be transformed and let your spirit be renewed. In the world, lies abound, but they will be shown for what they are and will go the way of death to which they lead. My Word is Truth and it will never pass away. Stand on that foundation and you will never be shaken.
Me:
Thank You Father! When I consider Your Word and Your mighty promises, my confidence is renewed and joy rises in my heart! I love You!
ABBA:
You’re welcome! The joy is a gift for you to enjoy and to share. I love you!
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Authority – Some Rightful, Some Usurped

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  Romans 13:1-2

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
For years, I have struggled with the 13th chapter of Romans.

Holy Spirit:
I know.

Me:
I see Your way, clearly laid out in Galatians 5 – self-control as the produce of a life infused by Your power and subject to Your desire.

Holy Spirit:
What about those who have no intention of being subject to My desire?  A purpose of appointed authorities is to restrain those who serve the destroyer from wronging others.

Me:
I’m perfectly OK with that.  It is when the authorities themselves appear to be serving the enemy that I am troubled by Romans 13; giving hearty approval to abortion, for instance, and vilifying those who would oppose that abomination.

Holy Spirit:
You are asking how that type of authority could possibly be established by Me?

Me:
Yes.

Do I prevent you from sinning, or do I permit you to choose?

Holy Spirit:
You, appear to give me free will to obey or to not obey.

Me:
If you do not obey, on whose authority are you acting?

That is a hard question.  I see that You permit the choice, but cannot imagine You being in favor of a bad choice.

Holy Spirit:
Bad choices grieve Me (Ephesians 4:30).

Your freedom to choose is embedded in the fact that you are created in the image of God.  I Am free to choose.  I choose always according to My nature.  That is why the scripture tells you that I Am light and that in Me there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).  I desire you to choose according to My nature in you.  Since I Am in you, the only way for you to do otherwise is to quench the fire of My truth that is resonating in your heart and charge ahead in spite of what I Am telling you.  You know how that feels, just as you know how it feels to obey and grow and love and rejoice.

Me:
And the government or other authorities are groups of people with the same choice: whose authority will they exercise?

Holy Spirit:
There is only One Authority.  But it is possible to choose to act outside of My authority or the authority that I delegate.  Those who act wrongfully are usurpers.

Me:
I know Jesus told Pilate that he would have no power over Him except it had been given from above.  I know how dependent I am on Jesus’ sacrifice in submitting to the crucifixion carried out at Pilate’s order and the insistence of the Jewish leaders.

Holy Spirit:
I make all things work together for good for those who love me, for those who are called according to My purpose (Romans 8).  All things include the actions of usurpers.

Me:
Thank You that you are above all earthly powers and that my life is wholly in your hand.  You are only good and merciful continually!  I love You!

Holy Spirit:

You are welcome! I love you!

 

 

Free Will and Other Things

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. – from Deuteronomy 13

Me:
Good Morning Father!

ABBA:
Good Morning Jon!

Me:
All of Deuteronomy 13 talks about those – prophet, dreamer, family member, or friend – who would entice others to follow ‘gods’ who are not You and commands their being put to death. Jesus advised tearing out an eye or lopping off a hand if it makes you sin. (Matthew 5:28-30) Yikes!

My question is whether I am making too much of Your intention to give us free will.   You know I have argued stridently that You are free by Your very nature and that being made in Your image, You grant us freedom that we might also love You freely.  These verses about capital punishment in this life for sin always make me wonder if I have understood free will correctly.

ABBA:
Jesus knew that neither a physical eye nor a physical hand was the literal cause of any sin. He wanted to impress upon His listeners the seriousness of sin. He is your Redeemer; a serious solution for a serious problem.  As for the dreamer and the prophet, how do you suppose they would deliver signs and wonders to authenticate their false message?

Me:
By intentional deception or by demonic activity?

ABBA:
Those are the same thing, and the correct answer. Every word from Me is Truth. The devil is a liar. Whether his deceptions come through a “prophet” or he plants his words directly in your mind, the result is the same. Knowing my Word (commandments) and listening to My voice counter his lies with the Truth, for I put forth nothing but the Truth. Serving Me speaks of the intent of the will. Clinging to Me speaks of the desire of the heart.

As for free will, do you suppose that the deceived is even able to exercise free will? Having free will presupposes the true options are known and are present to choose from. The “prophet” or “dreamer” who presents a lie as the Truth has already circumvented free will. Satan cares not a whit for your free will. I present you with this: I cause all things to work together for good to those who love Me, to those who are called according to My purpose (Romans 8:28). If you seek Me in faith, I Am faithful to give you the good gift of of hearing My voice (Deuteronomy 13:4, Habakkuk 2:2, Luke 11:13, Revelation 1:11). Knowing Truth unlocks the possibility of free will.

Joshua spoke of the true option that is always before you if you know the choice I Am giving you. “… choose you this day whom you will serve …” – Joshua 24:15 Your sharing of this choice with those who do not know the truth is the work of your calling.

Me:
Thank You Father! I love You! Strengthen me by Your Spirit to speak only the Truth. Deepen my understanding! Let my heart be purely devoted to You!

ABBA:
You’re welcome! I love you! I Am indeed working in you by My Spirit to accomplish that which you ask.

Vestige of Idolatry

John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

Me:
Good afternoon Father!

ABBA: Good afternoon Jon!

Me:
Father, about this passage; nothing exists that was not created by You. How is it that we get in trouble loving what was created?

ABBA:
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” [Jesus, Matthew 10:37] The trouble is one of idolatry. What is an idol? It is an object of misplaced worship. An image of stone or wood overlaid with gold to which the deceived offer prayers or even make sacrifices is obviously an idol. Even if the object were intended to provide focus and somehow represent Me, it would be false by its limits. So is a family member who’s opinion carries more weight than what I Am saying, or even the earth I have made and which you obviously need can be an object of misplaced devotion.

Do not think that My jealousy for you is about Me. Only I know the end from the beginning [Isaiah 46:10, Revelation 21:6]. You were created to have fellowship with Me. I desire intimacy with you. In that closeness, you find fulfillment that no other can provide. Idolatry interferes with our communion because is diverts your focus. My creation is for you. It is intended to support you, to be enjoyed by you, to be managed and cared for by you [Genesis 1:28]. The wonders that I have made should properly bring you to appreciate My gift of them and your study of them should give you insight into the truth that your thoughts are not My thoughts, nor are your ways My ways. This knowledge ought to lead you straight to Me:

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
12 “For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
13 “Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up,
And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up,
And it will be a memorial to the Lord,
For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.” [Isaiah 55]

This is a Word of healing for you. What is the thorn bush but the bramble that has grown up in your life from seeds sown by the enemy. And what is the nettle but those irritating reminders that all in life is not as it should be. The perfecting work of My Word and the promise of joy and the everlasting fullness that I desire for you, this is what is missed when the idol is between Me and My people.

Me:
Am I guilty of idolatry? Is that why You point me to these verses?

ABBA:
Have you come to know Me fully, just as you are fully known? The growth in our relationship is “taking every thought captive”, leading you away from the false notion, the incomplete vision, and progressively into the Light of Truth that I Am. What I want you (and every one of My children) to consider is “What is first?” [Matthew 6:33]. Just as you cannot succeed in a project unless you focus on the details of the project, so you will not end up with a more thriving relationship with Me if our time together is an afterthought. But, if you come – more and more – to see me as I AM, as your all in all, then the “cypress” and the “myrtle” will indeed sprout and grow and become an everlasting memorial of our relationship.

Indeed, one aspect of the cypress and myrtle is that the ‘essential oils’ of these families of tree represent the fragrance of My Spirit at work in your life. He is a seal of My promise [2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13 & 4:30] and His presence in your life is essential to your transformation.

Me:
Father! Your revelations are marvelous! Help me leave behind my conceptions of You that fall short of the mark (as I suppose they must). Help me to see You more accurately! Help me to become more like You and see You more as You are. Help me to overcome the “need” to think I have arrived at a “correct understanding” and to be satisfied with the seeking and with the expansion of the vision that is possible today.

ABBA:
I Am working in your life to do these things. Today, I wanted you to recognize that your conception and perception of Me needs to keep pressing forward as I Am enabling you to grow in your relationship with Me and that anything short of that striving forward is a vestige of idolatry because yesterday’s understanding falls further from the mark than that which I have enabled in My relationship with you today.

Me:
I love You! Thank You for spending this time with me! And, thank you for Your patience!

ABBA:
I love you! You’re welcome!

Ungrasping

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
The scripture tells me that You will bring things to remembrance that Jesus has told me and that You will reveal all things to me (I think He meant all things He wanted to say to me).

Holy Spirit:
I AM One with the ministry of revealing the hidden.

Me:
It seems funny to me to think of You as One who ministers mysteries.

Holy Spirit:
The Shepherd takes care of the sheep. I AM One who helps you with great and mighty things that you know not. Jesus told you that it was through Me that He got reacquainted with His relationship with the Father after leaving that intimate knowing behind to arrive in a manger.

Me:
He also told me to meditate upon His humility and that though He was, in fact, God become man; He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped (Philippians 2:5-7) while he was on the earth. He also said that humility was key to having Him bear the load when we “take His yoke” upon us. That verse said learn of Me, too. Would You help me with that?

Holy Spirit:
I would love to! First off, what is the definition of humility? The so-called simple modern definition is “not considering yourself as better than others”. This definition shows how shallow the typical understanding has become when it comes to humility. Look at Websters “full definition”.

Me:

OK.  I looked it up.

1: not proud or haughty : not arrogant or assertive
2: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission
3: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale : insignificant, unpretentious : not costly or luxurious

Wow! Usually, only one part of a definition applies. Jesus really encompassed humility in ways I had never dreamed of considering. (And You! You give good insights!)

Holy Spirit:
Aw. Ain’t nothin’ special.

Me:
You are demonstrating how unlike God “false” humility is, aren’t You?

Holy Spirit:
It doesn’t become Me?

Me:
Ha! You know!

Holy Spirit:
Was Jesus assertive? Yes, as to the Truth. For the Truth is the Way. Shading the truth might look like a “kinder, gentler, way” on the surface. But in the long run, such lies are neither kind nor gentle. The human industry of “little white lies” is not of God. You know who the father of lies is, don’t you?

Me:
Yes, of course. The Devil.

Holy Spirit:
Telling the Truth in a way that does not offend is often hard work, for the one who is off the mark has their own deceptions in play. The enemy asserts that the lie is simply more expedient. For that matter, giving in to any sin is portrayed by him as the easier path. Know that the payday at the end of that path yields a bitter wage.

Sometimes telling the truth offends no matter what, and that is as it should be, too. Think of Jesus calling the religious leaders “whitewashed tombs”. Calling their behavior out for what it is proves there was true love behind the warning, precisely pointing out they were putting a “respectable” veneer over that which leads to death.

Yet, as regards people’s free will, Jesus deferred to the Father’s intention that everyone’s decisions are their own, even though He was on a mission to convince the blind of the Light.  We have talked before about the fact that true love is not possible under any other system. Persuasion, loving persuasion – yes, with all diligence. Control over others, that is the way of the narcissist and the aim of Satan; that is not the way of the humble.

Let’s talk about this movement in the culture to think humility is not considering oneself as better than others. That definition is troubled by being couched from the negative. There is an (almost) infinite range of things, that a thing is not. Surely, if a person considers himself “better” than another, that is an affront to Our sovereign will in creating them. We value each one. We love each one. We desire to meet with each one. We desire to redeem each one. All are made in Our image, yet all are unique. Who is man to say one is better in Our sight than another?

Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. (Luke 22: 24-27)

Do you consider yourself a “benefactor”? Do you have the attitude that no one else can do the thing that needs doing and do it right? Do you think if you don’t do it, it won’t get done? Consider whether you are applying yourself diligently to the thing I Am calling you to do. Recognize that you have nothing to give except that which you have been given. Look to Jesus’ example. Follow Him. Remember the yoke; work alongside, don’t try to pull ahead. The one who pulls ahead shoulders the load. Neither lag behind. I Am helping you.

Me:
Thank You Holy Spirit! This has been a marvelous time we have had together! Thank You for teaching me!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love you!

Discernment

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 1 Corinthians 2:14

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” John 6:63ff

Jesus answered them, “Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?” John 6:70

Me:
Good morning Father!

ABBA:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
As, of course You know, I was listening to the Spirit yesterday about the redemption of our minds from death to life and from darkness to light and the subtlety between the mind and spiritual perception. Today, I noted these two passages about spiritual appraisal (discernment) and that process at work in Jesus’ life. Could we talk about that? Would it help me understand better?

ABBA:
We can! I want you to understand the example Jesus laid down for you.

Me:
Thank You Father! My quandary is that I think You have made it clear to me that Jesus operated from the same resources as are available to all men (Philippians 2:6, John 17:5, Matthew 4:3…), otherwise he would not be an example I can actually hope to follow.

ABBA:
Yes, I have made that as clear to you as you can yet accept. Go on with your question.

Me:
Well, what does this part mean in John 6, ‘Jesus knew from the beginning’?

ABBA:
Please look up ‘the beginning’ in that passage in Strong’s.

Me:
http://biblehub.com/greek/746.htm

Definition: (a) rule (kingly or magisterial), (b) plur: in a quasi-personal sense, almost: rulers, magistrates, (c) beginning.

746 arxḗ – properly, from the beginning (temporal sense), i.e. “the initial (starting) point”; (figuratively) what comes first and therefore is chief (foremost), i.e. has the priority because ahead of the rest (“preeminent”).

ABBA:
This is exactly the same word for in the beginning that John uses in proclaiming Jesus’ deity and eternal existence and identity as Agent of creation and Author of life. John’s commentary in chapter six is precisely an observation about that beginning. Before His incarnation, before He took on flesh; He knew these things. It does not mean at the time He selected Judas that He knew already that Judas would betray Him. How would it be a betrayal, if he knew it to be the plan? The revelation of this knowledge came to Jesus the same way it would come to you. It did not come because the mind of the babe in the manger was the mind of God as it was at the creation. Jesus, being born in the flesh, had to come to the decision to seek a relationship with Me in the same way that all men do.

I want you to see this: Jesus knowingly laid down the knowledge of Judas’ betrayal. The human proverb, ‘forewarned is forearmed’ should tell you that He considered, along with everything else He laid down to save you, that He would go into that betrayal without any special knowledge of it. That is, he made Himself vulnerable in the certain knowledge of the eventual attack. It was not just Judas; the cross was the plan.

Also, arxḗ was a carefully chosen word. It carries the connotation of foremost or preeminent. Think: necessary to the plan. Therefore, as Jesus gradually discerned in the Spirit the truths John is talking about, He reconciled Himself to the acceptance of them. On your account, He accepted them without mounting a defense; on the account of all who would come to know Him He was willing to be betrayed and to suffer death on the cross. His discernment in the Spirit, enabling Him to send Satan packing when tempted is a model for you. Think of Noah, suffering ridicule for over 100 years during the construction of the ark on dry land. I want you to have that kind of conviction in your discernment.

Me:
Thank You Father! I pray You will help me in my faith to attain that kind of sure expectation, for You are utterly reliable! I love You!

ABBA:
You’re welcome! I love you!

The Spirit-Mind Connection

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. – Isaiah 26:3

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2

17 So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. – Ephesians 4

Me:
Good morning Holy Spirit!

Holy Spirit:
Good morning Jon!

Me:
I think you put it in my head to look at the connection between Your work in my life and my mind. I tried a Bible search on spirit and mind. Wow! I got a result of eleven verses, and that doesn’t count the more difficult search where the two words are separated by the artificial verse divisions.

Holy Spirit:
Does that seem surprising to you? Man was created in the first place to have a relationship with God. Remember when the boys first started to make acquaintances, how they maintained they had hundreds of “friends”? You were not intended to have that sort of relationship with Me. Our intention is more closely mirrored by the joyous intimacy that you experience with [your wife], and even that is far short of Our aim. Most attempt to maintain a relationship with Us that is more like the early self-aggrandizing example from the boys in public, instead of more like the deepening example of your marriage to [your wife]. That relationship, by the way, is energized as it is because the both of you are also tied in to Us in intimacy.

Anyway, in your physical existence, We ordained that the part of you that is commonly labeled the “mind” – and physically operating in the brain We designed – be apparently seamless from the spiritual part of your nature. Why? Because intimacy with Us requires it. What if the “spiritual nature” were separated from the “mental processes” like two friends with one in Denver and one in Boston, forcing them to communicate over a distance? Intimacy then takes much more of an effort.

Speaking of challenges, how about being dead for starters? Sin dealt a death-blow to the spiritual part of your nature. (Genesis 2:17, Ephesians 2:1) And speaking of that, what exactly is the spiritual part? I refer you to this insight I gave John: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24) The spiritual part of you is the part that is designed to connect to Us. Jesus sacrifice on your behalf made a way for your dead spiritual nature to be resurrected as He is. The “renewing of your mind” is first and foremost a journey from death to life. (John 10:10, Romans 6:4)

Me:
This is a fantastic gift, Holy Spirit! A treasure beyond any possible physical valuation! You must love us beyond all measure! The grace bestowed on me is so undeserved I am still unable to grasp the magnitude of it!

Holy Spirit:
That is the nature of a developing relationship. The ability to both comprehend (mind) and experience (in the spiritual sense) the depth of it comes with your growth. I AM Spirit and I AM without limits. Your spiritual limits decrease as your former state of death recedes in your rear view mirror, so to speak, as you draw nearer to Me.

Me:
Thank You for this time and these insights, Holy Spirit! I love You!

Holy Spirit:
You’re welcome! I love You!