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I Don't Know What to Do But My Eyes Are On You – Part 3 (Unprecedented-we've never been here before)

2 Chronicles 20 relates the story of Jehosaphat when he said these memorable words, “I Don’t Know What To Do But My Eyes Are On You”, this is Part 3 in this series (Part 1, Part 2)

We are living in unprecedented times. Many of us are glued to our news sources. My husband recently made the comment, “I trust the ones who say I really don’t know…” In our home that is where we are NOW, “we don’t know what to do but our eyes are on God.” Both of us are in our 60’s and we have never been this way before. God gave advice to the children of Israel when they found themselves in a similar situation.

Turn to Joshua 3 and let’s unpack this story together. The children of Israel had been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years and the time had come for them to enter into their promised land. There was only one “minor” problem. Between them and the promised land AND it was the Jordan river at flood stage. In the natural it looked like the worst time in the world to crossover.

“Victory comes through faith in God and obedience to his word rather than by military might or numerical superiority.”

— The Daily Walk Bible 1997, Editor Bruce H. Wilkinson page 250

In Joshua 3, Joshua encourages the Israelites to stay close to the Ark of the Covenant (representative of the presence of God) because they had never been this way before. By keeping their eyes on the movement of the priests they would then KNOW which way to go. Once Joshua instructed the people what to watch for, they then CONSECRATED themselves. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary says consecrate means, “…to set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God.” What does this mean for me? For you?

  • Stay close to God so you recognize where He is leading
  • Recognize you’ve never been this way before
  • Wait and PAY ATTENTION so you don’t miss where God is leading
  • Take time to consecrate yourself. Spend time in Bible Study and prayer.

I was on the phone with my friend, also a part of our pastoral care team at our church. She said, “I just don’t know what to do.” I got really excited because when Joshua came to that point and added but my eyes are on you — everything changed! Joshua shifted from thinking he could fight an enemy bigger than him to leaning on a God who was bigger than his enemy. See Part 1 of this series to see how that worked for Joshua. Won’t you join my husband and me in focusing on a big God to help us with our bigger than us problem but not bigger than Him.

March Forth!

Did you know that March 4th is the only day of the year that is a command? March Forth! (4th)

Recently our women’s group had a meeting entitled, “Use What You Have.” At the end of the evening I looked back and reflected at why the evening succeeded. It was because it was a series of activities where several people “used what they had”. Together relationships were deepened. Collectively everyone made a difference.

  • Decorations – several stepped forth to use their talents for table decorations. Decor went to a new level.
  • Ladies with heart to build relationships, created table talk questions to facilitate deeper friendships.
  • Table captains kept the table conversations going and facilitated meaningful sharing.
  • Emcee for the evening used their abilities to keep the evening moving so ultimately whole agenda was accomplished and we ended on time.
  • Regular greeters were unable to attend, someone stepped up and filled that role helping women feel welcomed when they came through the door.
  • Sound team was exceptional–set up, running sound, running media.
  • Couple women used their talent to organize the food table to keep it functional.
  • Someone brought ice tea which added greatly to the choice of water or coffee to drink.
  • Babysitters cared for children so mom’s could come and enjoy the evening.
  • Sibling Worship leaders used their gifts to lead us into group worship.
  • Sincere prayer felt like sitting at the window observing an intimate conversation with God.
  • Without being assigned to cleanup, several used their gifts of service to clean up at the end of the event.
  • Topic, “Use what you have, the time is NOW.”

Now is the time to March forth with those things God has put in your heart. Time to quit negotiating, hesitating, procrastinating and making excuses of why you can’t take your next right step forward. Remember what Jehoshaphat said in 2 Chronicles 20:28?

“I don’t know what to do but my eyes are on you.”

Jehoshaphat did what He knew to do and trusted God from there. He “marched forth” in what He knew and God showed up. Maybe you have been waiting on God when in reality He is waiting on you to do what He has already told you. Why should He give you another step if you haven’t already done what He has asked you to do? Having trouble taking that step? Are you waiting to resolve all the questions you have? May I remind you of Proverbs 3:5-6?

Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, lean not on your understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.

Recently my husband shared Mel Robbins 5 Second Rule. The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill it. Use what you have, the time is NOW.

Today is a great day to take your next right step forward. Start now to march forth (4th) into the future God has laid out for you.

 

On what are you basing your CONFIDENCE?

For almost 30 years I have been studying Christ Confidence. A Biblegateway search of the word confidence unearthed this interesting question in 2 Chronicles 32:10, “…On what are you basing your confidence, that you remain in Jerusalem under siege?…” This piqued my interest and unfolded a story that can help bolster our confidence in the midst of corona virus season.

It would be SO easy to get caught up in the fear around our world. What are we to do? Join me in looking at what Hezekiah did when he was surrounded by Sennacherib king of Assyria in 2 Chronicles 32.

2 Chronicles 31:20-21 says, 20 This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. 21 In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.

2 Chronicles 32 goes on to tell the story how the Sennacherib king of Assyria came to interrupt Hezekiah’s and Jerusalem success. Hezekiah took some very deliberate steps getting ready for Sennacherib’s imminent attack.

  1. He consulted with his leaders and the first thing they did was to cut off the water supply. The enemy may be coming and they couldn’t stop him, but they didn’t need to make it easy for them when they arrived.
  2. They repaired the broken down places of their walls, built towers and built another wall.
  3. They made large numbers of weapons and shields
  4. He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before him in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words:“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

I can relate to Hezekiah. I have been working hard to pull down things that don’t belong in my life and experiencing God’s blessing. But out of no where, here comes the corona virus. Kind of feels like King Sennacherib knocking at our door. What can I do when life’s circumstances knock the wind out of my confidence?

When my confidence needs CPR — what can breathe life back into it?

  • C – God’s character
  • P – God’s promises
  • R Regardless of my circumstances

For the past two months I have been meditating on this phrase. “Joy is an outward expression of an inward confidence in God’s character and His promises . . . regardless of my circumstances.” I started the first part of the phrase but then life happened. I found my confidence wavering. I reminded myself that my joy was connected to God’s character and promises NOT my circumstances.

As I meditated on what God’s character is and the faithfulness of His promises I reminded myself that I had complete confidence in both — regardless of my circumstances. So, when my circumstances changed did God’s character and promises change? The answer was an overwhelming NO. God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. My shifting circumstances did not change God thus it was possible to have peace in the midst of my circumstances.

I would like to invite you to journey with me for 21-days for an online devotional focused on building our confidence in Who Christ is – Christ Confidence not self-confidence. If you would like to join me click below:

Reconciliation at It’s Best

Forgiveness is free, trust is earned.

Forgiveness is free. Then why is it so hard? Even though forgiveness is free, trust is earned. Forgiveness wipes the slate clean, pardons a wrong, cancels the debt. Forgiveness is my choice, re-earning trust is someone else’s. I am commanded to forgive whether reconciliation happens or not. Whether someone else apologizes or not, forgiveness is always the best choice.

Romans 12:18 says, “…if possible, as much as it depends on you be at peace with all men.”

You can only do your part. And sometimes that is the only option available. Still, forgiveness does not come naturally. We often use “buts, what ifs, and if only” excuses to excuse our inability to move forward. But oh how sweet it is when we can come all the way to reconciliation. Forgiveness does not guarantee reconciliation. Reconciliation can only come when forgiveness is actually requested. A little child shall lead you. Learn from Emma and Lila Jean.

“Do you want to eat noodles?

After a week of being together constantly because of a family tragedy both toddlers had received much grace. By the end of the week the toddler cousins, Emma, 3 1/2 years old, and Lila Jean, almost 2 1/2 , had reached their limit. We don’t know how it happened but we do know the end result–Emma hit Lila Jean on the arm. Emma’s mom instructed Emma she needed to apologize. What happened next demonstrated what true forgiveness and reconciliation can look like. It will be a living example to our family for years to come.

Without hesitation, Emma sincerely apologized to Lila Jean and said, “I’m sorry I hit you. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Will you forgive me?”

Quickly Lila Jean responded, “I forgive you,” immediately with a big smile on her face, she said, “Do you want to eat noodles?”

Emma sincerely apologized, Lilia Jean instantly forgive, trust was re-earned and relationship was restored.

“But oh how sweet it is when we can come all the way to reconciliation.”

Do you want to eat noodles? That one small phrase said so so much. It signaled all is forgiven now do you want to eat together–we can go forward in relationship holding nothing back. A small child shall lead them. Later on our trip from Iowa to Tennessee went through an adult version of words that hurt. Apologies were made. Quiet reflection happened. All of a sudden these words broke the silence, “Do you want to eat noodles?”

Relationship Restored

All the tension subsided, no lingering hurt, it was a signal all was forgiven and we were free to move forward in relationship. I am so thankful that Emma and Lila Jean allowed us a ring side view of what true reconciliation can look like. What did I learn:

  1. Take responsibility, apologize quickly, sincerely and specifically.
  2. Acknowledge and forgive.
  3. Move forward in relationship.
  4. “Do you want to eat noodles?”

The greatest reconciliation of all…

The greatest reconciliation of all is when we restore relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. Just as the hit between Emma and Lila Jean broke relationship even so our sin broke relationship with God our Creator. He has offered us forgiveness through His Son Jesus but it must be received in order for reconciliation to happen. Are you ready to restore relationship between you and your Heavenly Father who is crazy about you?

  1. Take responsibility that you have sinned. (Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.) Acknowledge you can’t fix your sin, believe Jesus death and resurrection paid the penalty due your sin and can restore you to relationship with the Father.
  2. Receive confidently God’s promise to forgive and cleanse you when you repent. (1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.)
  3. Enjoy being reconciled to God. Move forward in relationship by prayer, Bible Study and connecting to a group of believers that can help you grow in that relationship.
  4. “Do you want to eat noodles?” I would love to encourage you in your walk with God. Please join me in a 21-day email adventure encouraging you from God’s Word that you are the person that God is with.

The Best Part of Pizza is the Dough

A picture is worth a thousand words. My chosen granddaughter’s golden birthday is today. Her mom was celebrating last night. I wanted to make a this “dough” pizza for her gift. No problem, all I needed was a pizza box and some cash. Oh, and some time.

They were celebrating her birthday yesterday so yesterday was the day to get it made. I had a light day, no problem, so I thought. Ever have one of those days that your little to do suddenly explodes into things that have to be done today. That was my Friday. Manageable to all of a sudden, no room for delays day. I shared with my husband my idea and my schedule. He knew I needed to streamline to meet my deadlines. He suggested our daughter may have an empty pizza box. She did! Since she only lives two miles away, easy first step. Great, I thought, I will pick up the pizza box, stop by the credit union for the “dough” and be home in time for my noon appointment at the house.

I grabbed my keys and my phone, jumped in the car and headed to my daughter’s to pick up the pizza box. Everything was perfect. Since they had just had pizza the night before it even smelled like pizza. Just a quick stop at the credit union to get the “dough” and I would have time to spare.

I parked the car and reached over for my purse. Uh oh, where is my purse? Remember, I grabbed my phone and my keys–that’s right I had not grabbed my purse. The only ID I had in the car was a checkbook that had an address we haven’t lived at for over three years. Maybe, just maybe I could still get the cash (dough) — what did I have to lose? TIME.

Life’s an adventure. I had to at least ask. I walked in and asked, “I have an account here, I forgot my ID and I need some cash. Just asking to see if I can avoid having to run home for my purse”. I was invited to the back office and asked what how much dough I needed. I then heard these glorious words, “I think we can do that.” Wow, I couldn’t even have imagined it would be possible. Why would they give me the cash, I mean “dough”? My customer service angel said, “I recognized you.”

It would have never have happened if she hadn’t known me. I’ve been in there before and we have a relationship developing. I LOVE my credit union. I’m pretty sure that would never have happened at my bank.

What’s the point? Glad you asked. This was a fun thing, I got the “dough” I needed so I could be on time for my next appointment because I was recognized. I could complete the gift and have it ready in a timely manner, not frantic at the last minute. (not that I have ever done that) The reason I got the “dough” was because I had built a relationship.

There is another time coming when I want to be recognized. When I stand before God on that final judgment day. John 1:12 assures me that I will be recognized on that day. How about you? Will you be recognized?

Regardless of where you are in your walk with God, I would love to invite you to share 21-Days of emails called “Formula For Christ Confidence.” Each email will take 15 to 30 minutes. Join almost 100 others who have already completed the adventure. Several have repeated it two to 3 times. Discover and grow in confidence that you are the person that God is with.


I Don't Know What to Do But My Eyes Are On You (Part 2 – I'm Surrounded!)

In 2 Chronicles 20 King Jehoshaphat was surrounded by three massive armies. Like many of us, his first response was panic. Instead of being paralyzed by his fear,  he chose out of vital necessity, to seek God for help and called a fast for all Judah. He didn’t face the fear alone, he surrounded himself with all Judah and Jerusalem to seek God’s strategy for their impossible situation. God showed up and surrounded them with His direction and favor (Psalm 5:12).

In August TBN and Michael W. Smith hosted a free Sacred Assembly at the Nashville Bridgestone Arena called Surrounded. I had the privilege of being there in person. It was amazing and has impacted our city as we together, as a nation, choose to surround ourselves with God’s strategy and favor. Click here to watch Surrounded at watchtbn.tv.

What is surrounding you? Sickness, disappointments, financial stress, relationship stress? It is time to stop looking around and look up. Surround yourself with God’s presence and fellow believers. Follow David, Jehoshaphat, Esther, Daniel and a host of others who when faced with impossible “inquired of the Lord.” Want to win? You can with God’s strategy. But you have to be willing to face your fear, stop and seek God’s answers. Often God’s strategy offends your mind – David against a giant, Joshua march around a fortified city, Daniel praying three times a day, Esther calling a 3-day fast. Jesus saying forgive those who sin against you. God says don’t speak or dwell about the past hurts but focus on what God is saying today. (Isaiah 43:18-19) The strategy was different but the principle the same – they inquired of the Lord for His divine strategy. Some went to battle alone, some surrounded by others. There is no magic formula, “do this…” Each time we face impossible we have to inquire of the Lord for His strategy.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is waiting, waiting for His children to turn away from their distractions, idols, and return to Him and cry out. Don’t be stopped by fear, but use your fear as a spring board for your faith.

“God what is Your strategy for my struggle, my armies, my giant approaching me?”

Memorize Psalm 5:12, For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord,
You surround him with favor as with a shield.

Do you believe in God?  Do you believe He is indeed the God of miracles. Accept the challenge of the song Oceans, “…take me where my faith is without borders…” What is the requirement for a miracle? You have to have a situation that requires one.

Whatever you are facing, BELIEVE today that God is bigger than your struggle, your giant. Recently when revisiting the life of David I saw something new – the giant that David faced was the one that God had equipped him to defeat. Think about it. If his trained in battle brothers had accepted the challenge to face Goliath, they would have gone with all their armor and training but it could not have matched Goliath’s might and training in battle.

David came with a sling and a stone that God had been training him for his whole life in the back side of a shepherd’s field. All alone, unnoticed, seemingly minuscule and of no great value. Yet, it was the only tool that could penetrate Goliath’s might. Don’t you love that David said, “… You come with a sword and a shield and a javelin. I come in the Name of the Lord God Almighty of Israel …. (1 Samuel 17:45)

What does the New Testament say to us about our weapons? 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “…mighty to the tearing down of strongholds…” Ephesians 6:10, Be strong in the Lord and the POWER OF HIS MIGHT…”

God has not left you without weapons. Inquire of God for your specific giant. Look around, take inventory, what AND WHO has God equipped you with. What are your “five loaves and two fish” that you can put in God’s hands and watch Him multiply for your miracle.

God is not slack concerning His promises. Say with Jehoshaphat, “I don’t know what to do but my eyes are on You.” Jehoshaphat fasted, prayed, praised and listened. He surrounded himself with others seeking God’s help. God spoke and Jehoshaphat went. Jehoshaphat initially quieted himself in the face of his fear and sought God for His strategy. But he did not remain stationery, he went where he was sent. When he arrived God had already won the battle on Jehoshaphat’s behalf. The only thing left for Jehoshaphat to do was to pick up the spoils for three days – 3 days of just picking up the spoils of a battle they didn’t have to fight. After he had picked up the spoils, he stopped and thanked God for the victory.

This is Thanksgiving week, take time to reflect and thank God for what He has done for you. Be specific. Consider things you may often overlooked. Last night at our Life Group someone shared this,

“What if you woke up this morning with ONLY the things that you had thanked God for yesterday?” Take inventory, what would you have if you only had what you had thanked God for yesterday?

Without God we can’t, without us He won’t. Luke 1:37, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

SONG: Surrounded – Michael W. Smith

Want to read more on this topic? Check out other parts in this series

,“I Don’t Know What to do But My Eyes Are on You” –  Part 1 

“I Don’t Know What to do But My Eyes are on You” – Part 3: Unprecendented

Time To Cry Out

I have the privilege of having two amazing granddaughters. Words cannot describe the emotions when each of them were placed in my arms for the very first time. Life, God’s vote that the world should continue.

As I looked at the first pictures of my precious brand new granddaughters I am struck with the fact that they entered into the world with nothing, that is nothing but loving parents and extended family.  It did not take long for each of their parents to provide them with specially chosen clothing and shower them with love. My granddaughters had no worries or cares, all they needed to do was “cry out” and there were several people standing in line to meet their needs – especially their moms and dads.  It was very evident that my children and their spouses had planned, prepared and were equipped as can be expected to be on call 24/7 to meet their daughter’s needs.

It was  a great reminder of our relationship with our heavenly Father.  When we cry out, God is ready to work on our behalf.  Some people avoid the Old Testament but ever since my college O.T. History class, I have enjoyed my journeys through the Old Testament . I love gleaning truths that relate to the New Testament and to me today.  I like what Howard Hendricks said,

OT-concealed-NT-revealed.edited.png

“The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament Revealed.”

All through the Old Testament God’s chosen people, Israel would go through a cycle of experiencing God, following God, forgetting God, finding that without God they were in bondage and finally crying out to God for deliverance. When they called out, God always sent a deliverer, sometimes disguised as a baby. (In the Old Testament it was Moses and in the New Testament it was Jesus.).  With both Moses and Jesus, Satan tried to kill the miracle baby before he could grow up.  But God had a plan that protected His deliverer.

Where in this cycle do you find yourself today?  Experiencing God? Following God? Forgetting God? Or, finding that without God you are in bondage? Are you ready to cry out for deliverance? If you are at the point where you thought you could live life in your own strength and discovered that your way only leads to bondage, why don’t you call out to God TODAY? Get ready for your deliverer to show up. Pay attention, be alert and listen.  The people of Israel did not recognize their deliverers. Baby Moses and Baby Jesus were not what they expected but they were what they needed. Cry out today, what are you waiting for?

 

 

 

Be Still and Know…

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Have you ever had a verse just come up from EVERYWHERE? That’s how Psalm 46:10 has been over the course of the last month. When that happens, I know it’s time to . . . be still and pay attention.

Maggie-be still cropped

It started the week of VBS when I was privileged to teach Preschoolers. What a delight to plant God’s Word in the hearts of such good soil!

Our theme was Shipwrecked but we were talking about the Armor of God. There were several memory verses for the week but we chose to emphasize Psalm 46:10. We talked about it throughout the week without any indication that the seed had taken root. That is until one of the mother’s posted her 3-year old quoted the verse perfectly. (She had not said the verse anytime I can remember throughout the week.) Mom’s comment was, “…first ever memorized verse.” My heart was full and my eyes were leaking tears of joy. I know the power of God’s Word hidden in a heart (Psalm 119:9,11)

At a women’s retreat last week, we handed out tea bags with a “TEA” word and verse references. One of the verses that got double duty was Tranquili-TEA, you guessed it, Psalm 46:10.

Then last Sunday, my two-year old granddaughter was running around while getting ready to leave for church. Her dad told her, “You can’t just run around, you need to be still.” Without missing a beat she said, “And know. That I. Am God.

Here’s my challenge to you, take time this week to be still but make it purposeful. Be still, listen. Take a verse from the Bible and ask God to help you know God. Did you know that Bible is God’s revelation to people of Himself and His incredible plan of salvation? There is so much noise that surrounds us daily. Turn the volume down on the other noise and “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10. Take your next right step to move in God’s direction.

If I can help you with your spiritual grown, please let me know. I’d love to hear what you hear.

You Do You

“If you’ve ever felt like you couldn’t measure up or you didn’t quite fit in with everyone else, you may think you have to fix yourself. But in reality it’s time for you to do you!” —Krista Juline

Until my daughter, Krista Juline and I chose “You Do You” as the topic for a recent event, I had no idea how popular that phrase was especially with millennials.  Our tag line, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”, came from my Dad spoken to me in my childhood.

Growing up in a household of eight siblings, mom and dad and a Granny who lived just up the hill, we had a garden variety of personalities. It didn’t matter how many kids there were, there were no duplicates. Take a second to imagine how much noise that many people in a 6-room house could generate. All of us around the dinner table is one of my favorite memories. Dishes clanging, voices seeking to be heard, laughter, spilled milk, crying, instruction were all part of that incredible time of the day. Yet, with all the incredible variety, I can still hear my Dad saying to me, “Peggy, just be yourself.” When Dad would tell me to be myself I used to say back, “Daddy, I have enough trouble trying to be me let alone trying to be someone else.” If I am so busy being someone else, who will be me? That phrase is one of the greatest gifts my Dad gave me.

Why are you being an understudy_

Even as a child I was prone to compare myself to others. I had no idea how much influence those foundational words in my childhood would carry over the years. In today’s vernacular those could easily be updated to “you do you.” It wasn’t until years later that I recognized my intense desire to please others would make me incredibly vulnerable to trying to be who I thought others wanted me to be and risk losing myself in the process. Yet, those words, “Peggy, just be yourself,” would whisper to me along with wisdom from God’s Word to lead me back to discovering who I am and working on being that person. Scripture verses like,

Philippians 2:12b-13 NASB, …work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

I’m still unpacking these verses. It challenges me in so many ways.

  1. Keep my eyes on my own paper. As mom reminded me throughout my childhood, when it comes to judgement day, no one else will be able to cover for me. I will have to answer for my own decisions and actions. Time to get over the blame and shame sidetracks from taking personal responsibility.
  2. It’s not all about me. God is at work in me for His good pleasure/purpose. God has the big picture. I can trust Him with my future, confident that together we are a great team. Being me involves so much more than my own selfish desires – it taps into my God-given abilities and His plans and purposes for me.
  3. To find real, lasting joy, I need to let go of my own selfish desires and tap into God’s divine plan for me. Clinging to my own selfish desires cannot bring the satisfaction I so desparately crave. Some of my greatest joys in life have been rooted in serving others. Recently I experienced this by having my first ever G.P. (Grandma Peggy) camp with my two granddaughters. We sang, we played, we read books, they napped at the same time (big smile). — we made memories, it was about them, not me.

Romans 12:2, “… 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.

In light of the fact that there is no one else like you, is there any reason not to accept the adventure of discovering who God designed you to be? Isn’t it time to find your story and love it.?

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I’ll be in Spring Hill, FL Sunday, June 24th, 3:00 PM. Space is limited but so let me know if you are interested in being part of this event. You Do You more info.