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My mother’s sons were angry with me (Song of Songs 1:6 NASB)

For the last two weeks, we looked at the Maiden’s first big problem. She felt dirty on the outside but had beauty on the inside.

Today we get a look at a second crisis in her walk with the Lord – Momma’s boys.

It is interesting to me that she does not say “my brothers.” Instead, she calls them "my mother's sons." Are these some kind of wicked stepbrothers?

First, we have to understand the age-old question – who’s your momma?

The great commission in Matthew 28, puts the job of evangelism squarely on the shoulders of the Church. And throughout the ages since then the Church has been in a motherly role. It is her job to make disciples. A young babe in Christ is said to need mother’s milk of the word.


Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Gal. 4:26)

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you, (Gal. 4:19)

As apostles of Christ…we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children (1 Thes. 2:6-7).

The interesting thing to me here is that the Church is made up of people and these people are our brothers and sisters.

But as a new believer you might feel more like an outsider, and so we find the phrase “mother’s sons.” Our girl, new to the faith, feels a bit outside the camp.

Worse than that, after her intimate encounter with the King, she has a zeal and passion that sets her apart.

I know that many of you have been there. You are (or were) that passionate guy or gal who just won’t shut up about the Lord. You’re the ones in the lobby of the Church talking about your God encounters throughout the week, while everyone else is talking sports and fashion.

Ray Comfort (writer, speaker, evangelism teacher) says (I paraphrase here) that when he was a young Christian he had great zeal and passion, and told everyone he ran into about Christ. He was on fire. And over the years (long pause here) he has never cooled off. He is still on fire for the Lord with the same zeal and passion for the Lord as ever he had.

I love that. I feel like that is my story. I might say that years and experience have given me a different perspective on some things, but the passion is there, and one of my favorite things is to see a young Christian, full of that “first love.”

So here is the problem. There are many in the Church who have left their first love. And when they run into our maiden – our zealous, passionate firebrand – they feel a twinge of conviction.

So begins the unsanctified bucket brigade. They immediately start dousing our maiden’s fervor. They don’t want to be around her, they don’t have that same passion, and are not as consumed by a desire for the presence of the Lord like her.

This causes a reaction in the maiden—perhaps a twinge of self-righteousness? Our holy zeal can develop an edge of condemnation. Why aren’t they where I am? Why don’t they want to talk about the Lord? Why don’t they want to spend their Saturday on the street with me preaching to passers-by?

And so, strife infiltrates in the Body of Christ.

Take a step back today and consider – are you a firebrand in the hands of the Lord, or are you in the bucket brigade?

We all need correction, and I want you to stop and listen to the Lord today.

Put Down your Buckets!

Those of us in the Church for years need to be cheerleaders, mentors, equippers, throwing logs (or even accelerants) on the fires burning in our young brothers and sisters. Put down your buckets!

Those of us who are full of zeal and passion be careful with not to write off your elder brothers and sisters. Many have known your zeal and inwardly want it back.

God put us together for a reason, so we can “spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24 NIV)

BenThanks for reading today.

See you next week



My wife and I had a fight last week. It was a doozy!

The other man—he was in the fight too.

So why am I telling you about it?

You see, we fight together. The other man—I should say Man, He’s on our side too.

But we do have an enemy. That old liar, the devil, would love to see our marriage destroyed, so we have decided to be on the same side. My wife is my partner in this battle and we, together, follow our supreme Commander—the Captain of the Lord’s army, Jesus.

At the wedding of some close friends, the preacher said something very different.

When you show up at a wedding they ask you which side you want to sit on, bride or groom. When the marriage hits a rough spot, what happens? The bride goes back to her mom, her dad, her side and seeks allies. She goes looking for someone to take her side against that beast she married.

That’s the worlds plan—satan’s plan.

This preacher said to the brides side, “When this marriage gets rough, whose side will you take?” Then he asked the grooms side the same thing. “Whose side are you on when strife arises?” His or hers, hers or his?

Then he called us to promise to be on the side of the union, the side of the new creation, the “one flesh” that is this couple.

Men, when your buddy comes knocking on your door looking for a place to stay, and someone to complain to—pray with him and send him home.

Ladies, don’t give your BFF safe haven away from her hubby. (Please understand, I’m not talking about abuse here—we must be a safe haven in that situation—I’m talking about the growing pains that come with becoming one new creation) Pray with her—pray for him—and take her back home.

You see the biggest threat to satan’s schemes is a united couple with the Lord Jesus Christ at the head of the home in the center of this new creation.

The day I stopped seeing my wife as the enemy when we ran into each other, was the day I finally started winning.

Feel like screaming at her/him. Take a big deep breath and realize whose lies have you so aggravated. Remember, satan (he does not get the respect of a capital letter) is known as the accuser of the brethren. He spreads discord like I spread peanut butter.

So next time you have a fight with your spouse—remember—you’re on the same side!

BenHeadshotThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.



Beneath the apple tree I awakened you;
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.

Song of Songs 8:5 NASB

In the Song, the mother figure points to the role of the Church in the life of a believer. Here we have the Shepherd King saying to the maiden, this is where your mother gave birth to you.

In these three short lines there is a wealth of wisdom for church leaders.

1) The church is first likened to an apple tree. The apple tree has many uses, but the two main assets I’m seeing are it’s protection and provision. The branches and leaves provide shelter from the sun and other elements.

Why protection from the sun?

Remember the parable of the soils? In stony ground, the seeds route system is weekend or nonexistent. The little ones coming up in the church need some help taking hold, digging their roots down deep in the soil. The apple tree—church—should be protecting it’s seedlings and saplings from the strong persecution—standing with them as they face the trials that come along with a new life in Christ.

2) Next we see that mother—the church—was in labor with her. Not everyone in church is in the same place. There are those who are on the road to salvation; There are those who have no idea or connection to Christ at all; There are those who are set in the church to mentor—to disciple—the young up and comers; There are shepherds and warriors in place to protect and defend the little ones of the flock, to ensure they are not devoured by wolves, or choked by weeds, or simply wander off.

3) The path to life in Christ is a path—a way. We must realize that everyone who walks through our doors is in a different place, and there may be labor involved in bringing them to life. Seeds have been sown; Promises have been made; Signs of life are evident. But there still may be labor pains, and we must see it through. We must push and breath and push and breath. It may get messy, and noisy, but we must not relent.

It is far to easy for church leadership to be content with the status quo and resist the work—labor—involved in bringing babies to the Lord. We must do it anyway. It’s why we are here. It’s why God has assembled you.

Maybe church doesn’t look like church to you, and maybe I should use the word community rather than church, but I think you can see what I’m talking about.

God wants you to be in community, and for the community of Christ to labor and bring forth life where before there was only death.

Lord, help me find my place in the process of bring many sons to glory—many men and women to worship at your feet.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by today.




And now for a small celebration - did you bring a party hat?

This is my 1,000th post on Another Red Letter Day.

Wooo Hooo

OK - Party's over - please cleanup after yourselves.


Check out these red letters from the gospel of Matthew:

Because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold. - Matthew 24:12 NASB

There is an interesting cause and effect wrapped up in this statement. I haven’t noticed this before this morning, but as I was reading through Jesus’ “Olivet Discourse” this ‘if-then’ relationship struck me. I guess in the past I saw both of these as conditions that would increase as the day of the Lord drew nearer.

But since the Lord has linked them it means that not only will this be a quality of later days, one would cause the other.

Please hear me, I am not—NOT—advocating any kind of legalism. In fact the only law I would advocate in a new covenant life is the law of love, with its two tenets;

And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." - Luke 10:27 ESV

Here’s how I see this playing out. As we allow our love for our neighbor to diminish, our love for the Lord begins to fade. As community in the Church weakens, our faith and hope slide with it. Peter called us to authentic or ‘unfeigned’ love of the brethren. As our relationships in the body of Christ become more and more superficial, our dependence on the Lord dwindles.

We’ve seen this for years where church relationships went no deeper than a handshake on a Sunday morning. It get’s worse as real, believing Christians extract themselves from community and do church on the internet or TV—pajama church.

I know the Lord's words are pointing more toward society as a whole, and it’s clear that it applies there too. As we embrace lawlessness, the love and fear of the Lord clearly is shrinking in our society.

But how is it in you? In me? Is disregard for neighbor, for fellow laborer, degrading your intimacy with the Lord, your desperation for His presence in your life?

Lord, help me, us, to care for and love your body. Put your heart in me, us, today. Help me to see my neighbor and love him, her, the way I love myself, the way You love them.

benheadshot1Thanks for stopping by.

Bless the Lord!


Image Credit - - licensed for use
Image Credit - - licensed for use

For a few years now, one of the things the Lord has been teaching me is how serious He is about reconciliation and unity.


From the start this idea comes hard to a born and bread protestant. I mean, after all, protest-ant – one who protests – that’s what I am.

We protest-ants are famous for unity – especially if you agree with us. But hey, if you sprinkle instead of immerse – that is beyond the pale of orthodoxy.

People recognize our sense of community – unless you raise your hands when you worship.

We have a certain renown when it comes to body life – until you start spouting your old-earth propaganda.

We take great pride in our loyalty – though I hope you don’t start talking about predestination.

There is no one quite as long suffering as we are – unless you believe in that mid-trib, pre-mill, rapture-less interpretation of Daniel and Revelation.

We are such a bunch of splitters. We are best known for splitting over doctrine and theology.


And perhaps the days of actual church splits are past. Now we carry out our protests in a more subtle way. We float. You know floaters, don’t you?

In my part of the world, northern New Jersey, there are four or five Bible believing churches in a ten-mile radius. To be honest, that is an understatement. I should say there are four or five in which I would be culturally comfortable. If you count churches with born again pastors doing their best to preach the Word of God to their flock, my ten-mile radius the number is much higher.

In the late 90’s I was attending a church in the town of Midland Park, NJ. At the time there were thirteen protestant churches listed in the phone book. Today, if you go to you will find that there are 200 churches listed within five-miles of Midland Park. Folks, Midland Park is 1.53 square miles and has a population of 7,227 (thank you Google.) And that does not include the off-the-grid churches that meet in homes. “Organized religion” just doesn’t meet their needs.

These floaters move from church to church when they get tired of the preaching. They leave when their feelings get hurt. They pull up roots just because they feel like they need a change. We see a new couple come in the back door. We greet them with open arms. Then we find out they are on the fifteen-year plan. They came to our church a dozen years ago, and since have spent three years, more or less in the other four near by churches.


I am painting a picture that I believe breaks the heart of God.

Do you remember Jesus’ prayer in John 17?

I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. John 17:20-21

God’s idea was reconciliation. His plan was to draw men back to Himself, and in doing so back into community.

But Ben, you say, aren’t we called to guard the truth, and hold to true doctrine.

Absolutely! We must keep the wolves out of the sheepfold, and guard those who come near preaching damnable heresy’s out. These heresies draw people away from Christ. They lead to ungodliness, and make people look less and less like Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times when you have to leave, or split, or break fellowship. But for the most part, we know nothing of that. It is time to live in covenant the Jesus and His body.

Death to the Truth

God did something drastic to make reconciliation possible. There was only one way to allow people - enslaved by sin - enemies of God - full of all sorts of lies and misunderstandings - back into relationship with the pure and holy God.

His plan – Crucify the Truth – Take the very Word that spoke the universe into being and put Him to death.

God crucified the Truth to restore relationship! (Tweet This)

Let me say that again so that it has a chance to sink in.

God crucified the Truth to restore relationship. Yet we abandon relationship to preserve our dogma and doctrines.

Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is the way the TRUTH and the life.

We in our flesh were the enemies of all that is true. Still God thought it better for the Truth to die a horrible death than for us to stay on the other side of the veil.

He tore the veil. That veil was the flesh of the Lord Jesus which stood between the sinful man and the Holy God.

Truth is not Dead

The Truth did not stay dead. I get that. This was not the end of the truth, and believe me God has a high regard for truth.

I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name. Psalms 138:2

My desire today is not that you abandon the Word. No, but be reconciled to one another in love. When Paul faced divisions in Corinth, he determined to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

So what about you? Are you a splitter, floater or sticker?

Encounters With Jesus - Available NOW
Encounters With Jesus - Available NOW

Thanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Hey - head over and check out my new book - Encounters With Jesus. If you've already read it, do me a huge favor and leave an honest review on Amazon so others will run into it.




Did you know there is a direct correlation between anointing and unity, linking your connection with the Lord and community? There is a link between how well we play with others and that wonderful opportunity to see very chain broken by the power of the Lord in your midst!

Check it out:

The Psalmist writes this:

A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

Psalm 133:1-3 ESV

In the past, reading this verse I was not focusing on the picture.

To what does He liken brothers dwelling in unity?

To the anointing of Aaron, the first priest of the Most High receiving the outpouring of that special blend of oil and fragrance in preparation for his high calling. He would be the one who stood before God for the people. He would be the one who carried the burdens from the people to the Lord. He would be the one who carried the word of the Lord to the people

We are a people of the priesthood. No longer is there a mediator—a go between—for us. We are called to come before the throne where we can bring our own offerings—our praise—our worship—directly to the feet of the Lord. He speaks to us and we bring His word to those we touch.

But the anointing is diminished, or perhaps impossible, for the lone rangers among us. [Tweet this]

There are aspects of the faith walk that are lonely. There are times where like Jesus, we may walk in the wilderness alone, or like Paul, spend time in Arabia. But those are not the bulk of life, and those are not days of ministry to others.

It is interesting to note that in all the major passages that detail the gifts of the Spirit or the gifts of Christ, we find strong exhortations for love.

It’s most striking in 1 Corinthians where Paul tells us more about the gifts and their operation than anywhere else. Nestled in the middle of his discourse on how to behave when we gather, and what kind of manifestations we might expect in the body of Christ we find this pearl of great price -1 Corinthians 13.

Again in Ephesian 4, where we learn of the Gifts of Christ, if you take I giant step back while reading about the gifts listed in verse 11, you’ll find that it is swimming in a conversation about living in unity.

Once more in Romans 12, Paul teaches on the gifts in the context of unity and love. (Romans 12:3-10)

In Galatians Paul tells us that faith works through love,

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. - Galatians 5:6 ESV

Mull on that with me for a while.

I’ll come back to this soon, but check out these scriptures with me as see if there isn’t a link between the power of the Spirit and the unity of the Body?

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

If you haven’t voted on my book cover please go here and vote today.

Walk in the light.



Muth and Fath on their wedding day.
Muth and Fath on their wedding day.

This one thought makes its way into my mind almost every day. Love is simple.

I didn’t say it was easy, but it’s simple.

I see all around me very complex problems with no apparent solution. I see families so torn by conflict with no hope in sight. I see people's lives crushed by the weight of their bad circumstances.

Wives broken and crushed by broken vows.

Husbands drowning in discontent caused by the lies of pornography.

Mothers with hollow hearts wishing they could get their babies back.

Fathers weeping at the graves of their sons and daughters killed by random violence.

Teens unsure of their identity having never known their fathers.

Daughters afraid to come home and face their own parents.

Sons forced to be the only adult in the home.

Children taken away from good parents by a state with an ax to grind against discipline.

The man asked Jesus:

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"

And He said to him,

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

When I take a step back, it’s clear to me that if I insert love into each and every relationship the problems become simple.

Hey - I get that there are still troubles - still crisis strikes - still tragedy may come.

But what if we didn’t add a broken marriage to the loss of employment? What if we didn’t add angry violence to disappointment?

I’m not talking about some kind of mushy smoochy kind of Hallmark love though.

I said love is not easy.

Love is work. Love often means saying ‘no’ to yourself. (That’s hard.)

I know that everyone says we must love our selves so that we can love others, and I really do get what they're saying. But as with any truth, this one often gets blown out of proportion.

Jesus had no problem with self-esteem, He had a good self-image. (The very image of God - that is a good self-image.) But He demonstrated love as He laid down His life for those who hated Him - those who rejected Him - those who would take His life by force.

He counted His life, His entitlements, His priorities, His privilege, of less importance than the lives of those He came to save: the pharisees, the Romans, the lost sheep of Israel, those in Palestine, those in Asia Minor, the inhabitants of continents yet undiscovered and unknown to the writers of holy scripture. (As He put it - Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. - Acts 1:8)

Love is the simple answer to all the world’s problems. But it must be applied liberally and without reserve.

That’s what I’m thinking.

What do you think? Have I over simplified?

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.


Many Waters - SoS header

But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:

Song of Songs 6:9 NASB

That’s right – You’re Unique – just like everyone else.

No really though – the bride, this one who is pursuing the Lord is set apart and without compare in the courts of the Lord.

I know it’s been said a brazilian times, but there is only one you, and you just have not gotten it yet.

You know how I know?

You are still trying to be like someone else.

You still look at other folks gifts and try to figure out ways to mimic them.

You’re still not satisfied with the way God made you.

But God has made you with a temperament that is unique.

He has given you gifts that are unique, especially when attached to your temperament.

He has placed you in a story that is unique. No one has your background and upbringing, not even your siblings. Each one of you (yes – I mean us) was born into a different family, and some into no family at all.

Then when you came to faith, He set you in His body, but not alone, with a group of other believers, a unique group, with their own mix of temperaments, gifts, talents, callings – giving you a solid hold on the title of ‘YOU.’ You’re the only one.

Then we have the aspect of God’s amazing plan.

Check this out:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10 NASB

(I’ve heard that word ‘workmanship’ rendered God's ‘masterpiece’ – nice!)

When did Father plan these works for you?

David saw it this way:

I will give thanks to You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.

When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalms 139:14-18 NASB

I have an assignment for you today.


Let me know how it goes.

nora and papa at the table, benBen



The indwelling Christ!

so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, … - Colossians 1:25-27

So based on what I’m seeing here, Jesus – God – is going to live in me. Clearly it will be by His Spirit – the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – right?

I mean there is not a 5’9”ish rabbi in robes and sandals living somewhere in the organ that pumps blood to my extremities on a good day.

So when Jesus says:

If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. - John 14:23

…what He is talking about is the Holy Spirit.

So how much Holy Spirit lives in us? What is the maximum allowable measure?

I know this about Jesus:

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. - John 3:34-35

Can a man – a born again child of God – walk in that same measure or are we given a rationed amount of the Spirit?

We have a few passages that might inform this.

Can we correlate the indwelling Spirit with grace as in:

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. - Ephesians 4:7

Or when I think this way am I limiting God’s ability to use me by diminishing His presence in me to a smidge of the Spirit?

Look where Paul goes from this “measure” of Christ’s gift…

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. - Ephesians 4:11-13

Follow me for a minute.

Christ gives grace by measure in verse 7, then He gives men to the body – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These are given for the express purpose of equipping us for service.

This equipping is to lead to the building up of the body in unity.

This unity of the faith in the body of Christ brings us to a place in our corporate knowledge and experience with God.

WE (ok – this is really important) become A mature man – comparable to the fullness of Christ.

Notice please – It is not that I equal the measure of Christ – it is not that YOU mature to that level. It is that WE – the body of Christ – have the potential - in unity – to be ONE MATURE PERSON.

This can only happen together – with brothers and sisters. A lone believer will never mature. [Tweet This] Without the gifts of Christ (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) we are not being equipped, we are not being sharpened, we are not growing.

You may sit at home and read your Bible, and sense God’s voice, but there are some things He will not share with you, except through life in community.

Oh this is hard for me. I am such and independent soul. I soooo want to do everything on my own, and never want to depend on anyone for anything.

And so I sit here, missing God’s best, missing His plan for my growth because I won’t submit to a teacher, or listen to a prophet, or I despise some evangelist.

Lord, save me from my self.

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Walk with somebody today.



By Ф.Г. Солнцев [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Ф.Г. Солнцев [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Have you ever noticed how many proverbs talk about strife? A simple word search turned up this sheaf of wisdom – all from the Proverbs, all in the ESV

A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. - 15:18

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. - 16:28
Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. - 17:1

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. - 17:14

Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction. - 17:19

It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. - 20:3

Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease. - 22:10

Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. - 26:17

For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. - 26:20

As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. - 26:21

A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the LORD will be enriched. - 28:25

A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. - 29:22

For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife. - 30:33

There is however some godly striving we need to do:

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; - Hebrews 12:4 NASB

Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. - Jude 1:3 NASB

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:12 NASB

So – quit fighting and get ready for the battle.

Ben NelsonBlessings to all


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