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Thursday, October 29, 2015


My husband’s cell phone alarm is set to the song Where I Belong written by Jason Ingram and Jason Roy with the Christian band Building 429. I woke up to this song today feeling that I was watching Paul and Titus’ relationship "from the outside." 

"To Titus, my true child in a common faith." Titus 1:4

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside­­­­
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing but am I alive
I will keep searching for answers that aren’t here to find
All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong.

I recently read the book of Titus where these two men, Titus and Paul, were portrayed as being so different. I felt like I was peering down upon two different lives, from two different backgrounds, and from two different perspectives. And, I was. However, even with their vast differences, they were both solidly united in a common ministry by their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Titus was a Gentile who did not follow Jewish tradition. Paul was a Jewish Christian at the time of this writing. Little is known about the early life of Titus. Much is known about the early life of Paul. Titus was a trusted aide who delivered Paul’s letters to various congregations. He was there to help Paul out when church problems arose and Paul was unable to be there to help. Some say Titus was converted by Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey and was mentored by Paul leading to his maturity in the Lord. Paul’s high opinion of Titus is seen in 2 Corinthians 2:13 where we see the overwhelming concern and care Paul bestowed upon Titus. Titus became his commissioned servant. His calling was to build up the church. This is where the book of Titus begins.

At this point, Titus is on the island of Crete pastoring a church. Paul was writing to instruct Titus on how to run the church. It is said that Paul made a very politically incorrect statement in Titus 1:12 when he says, “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’” This is the background where Paul gives Titus instructions about how to be an administrator at the church; how to handle the responsibilities of his church; and how to deal with heresy and personal matters. Paul was mentoring his trusted aide.

Titus had a track record of being a faithful and trustworthy servant. Paul knew he was an organized person who could lead others, but he still wanted to share with his friend and mentee in this pastoral letter. Paul knew Titus was a man who would follow his instructions for the good of Christ. Isn’t it nice to know we are not in ministry alone? It is a blessing to have friends who encourage us to live a higher standard and serve as a role model to us.

I encourage you to read the entire book of Titus, but for now, let’s take a quick peek at some of the instructions Paul gives Titus in the three short chapters of the book. Paul is encouraging Titus to lead the Cretan church to become a healthy church through sound doctrine. While it sounds like Paul is just giving a checklist for the congregation to follow, his overwhelming desire is to lead others to eternal life and a solid commitment to the Lord.

Titus : A commissioned servant of God called to build up the Church of Crete

Qualifications for Elders

“This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” Titus 1:5-9 ESV

Teaching Sound Doctrine

“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.  Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:1-10. ESV

How to live a Christian life

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:1-11 ESV

I was a high school librarian for 15 years. During those 15 years, I had a trusted library aide. While many aides at other schools came and went leaving the librarians to continually have the responsibility to retrain new people, I was privileged I did not have to do that. My aide was with me for the entire fifteen years working side by side with me. She was an enormous asset to me in my job. I believe that Titus was an enormous asset and aide to Paul and to the early church. Both Paul and Titus’ faithfulness and work ethic was building up the church. And as the song goes, I am sure both Paul and Titus were living their lives knowing they were "not home yet." They were "not where they belonged." They took this world and Jesus seriously and lived their lives for God.

And, so should we!

God Bless.
Patti Greene

Bible Verses:

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance. Proverbs 1:5

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:5-7


Dear Heavenly Father. Let me be a vessel You can use today and always. Give me mentors along the way to encourage and teach me your ways. As I grow in You, give me opportunities to help and lead others to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and a strong commitment to You. And Lord, I pray for the Island of Crete today so the people will learn to have a living faith in You and not just a cultural tradition for You as Titus and Paul so strongly desired. I love you Lord. Amen.



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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Missions and Evangelism

In 1989, I boarded a plane with my husband and off we went on our 1st mission trip to Belize City, Belize, Central America. Our sleeping arrangements involved single bunk beds on a cement floor in the dank basement of a missionary couple’s home. Roaches flew by as I tried to fall asleep, and I recall the exact words I said to my husband. Adamantly, I declared, “How in the world could you take me to this God-forsaken place?” Of course, as I look back, it was more the cockroaches that invoked this question which was more a declaration of my mental state at the time.

Belize, 2012

As I think about my comment, I realize that missions and evangelism is all about bringing the Gospel of Jesus to God-forsaken places, but with my first experience, I could not get beyond the cockroach mentality and my disdain for the creatures. Fortunately, in time, I was really blessed by many of the lovely people I met on my subsequent trips to Belize. Praise God.

Matthew 28:18-20 implores us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [ESV] While some are called to give up money and their livelihood to follow the Great Commission, others will be called to a different mission, purpose, or place. What is important is for us to seek out God’s plan for our individual lives and to obey His direction at all stages of our lives.

As a United States citizen, it is sometimes difficult to even imagine the poverty some people live in on a daily basis. It is hard to imagine worshipping in a run-down shack without air-conditioning or sanitation. A.W. Tozer, an American Christian writer, said, “Evangelical Christianity is now tragically below the New Testament standard. Worldliness is an accepted fact of our way of life. Our religious mood is social instead of spiritual.” We are now seeing churches sporting caf├ęs, movie theaters, gymnasiums, and even local fashion shows. For those reading this who are from an “advanced” country”, have you ever thought that our abundance could be so we can give generously to the cause of evangelism rather than on our own pleasures and wants? While many are trusting God in total dependency in living out their calling, so many others (even believers) have little regard for the Gospel of Jesus and have become so ME centered that the Lord hardly even seems present in their lives other than an occasional church service or a cursory glance at the Bible.

It is important to remember that Satan does not want us to be involved in any missionary or evangelical endeavor. Period! His desire is for us to either stay neutral on the subject or to become more centered in our lives so our lives resolve around us and what makes us happy rather than around others. Sometimes those in mission work get so discouraged seeing so few showing an interest in their Christian beliefs or evangelism.

Regardless, God’s purposes will always be fulfilled. Even today, we can see the Holy Spirit operating around the world in many different nations. Many are coming to accept Christ where the Gospel has never been preached before. Salvations are occurring in spite of witchcraft, demonic influences, and secular rites and rituals. People are accepting Jesus Christ despite the fear of imprisonment, the fear of beheading, and the fear of being ostracized. It is happening because of the prayers of believers. Maybe you are praying for a particular missionary, a specific country, a mission trip, or giving a donation to help others participate in the Great Commission. If so, you are part of a wonderful opportunity by allowing the Holy Spirit to use you in His work.

As we pray for souls to be saved, let us remember the profound words of South African writer, teacher and Christian pastor Andrew Murray. In Pray for the World, Murray is quoted saying, “Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think.” God does work in mysterious ways.

Below are some ideas on how we can advance the cause of Christ. They are in no particular order, but worthy of considering.
  •          Adopt and pray for a particular country. Ask the Lord for the Holy Spirit to seek out the lost and lead them to Him­­.
  •          Research your country. Learn as much as you can about the culture, land, religion, livelihood, population, ethnic groups, economy, literacy, languages, education, and more. [This is a nice family activity to do.]
  •          Seek out opportunities for involvement.
  •          Be obedient to whatever or wherever the Lord leads.
  •          Befriend a person(s) from a different culture or country.
  •          Participate in a mission trip – local or foreign.
  •          Provide mission-centered training in your church or organization.
  •          Have a “missions fair” at your church.

A Small World; Lagos, Nigeria 2013

Evil is abounding right now in every corner of the world. Let’s increase our faith, shape our Christian ministries, and pray sincerely for the Holy Spirit to be a mighty force in reaching the world for Christ. And let’s remind ourselves that God desires salvation for ALL people - even those in "God-forsaken" countries!

Praying for you,

Patti Greene

Bible Verses:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 ESV

“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5 ESV

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the preset age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14 ESV


Lord Jesus. Thank you for my salvation through Jesus Christ. Lord, please soften my heart so I am more sensitive to the eternal and spiritual needs of others. Let me pray for the Holy Spirit to gently guide me to the purposes and callings You have already planned for me. Let me see opportunities through Your eyes and give me the courage and willingness to respond. Amen.

Please feel free to share this blog. It is my gift to you and others.

To receive e-mail notifications of blogs from Greene Pastures by Patti: Inspiring stories about Bible Study and Prayer, please click here on your computer. Type in your email address in 'Follow by Email.’ You will immediately receive an e-mail from Feed Burner. Open the e-mail, and click on link to confirm. This may not work from phones. If you would like to contact me for any reason, please e-mail at I would love to hear from my readers.


Mandryk, Jason. Pray for the World: Abridged from Operation World.
Downers Grove, Illinois: WEC International, 2015.

Yohannan, K.P. Revolution in World Missions. Wills Point, Tex: GFA, 2004.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Whole Armor of God: Security Alerts

It used to scare me at first whenever a SECURITY ALERT came through on my email when we lived in Lagos, Nigeria. These alerts were sent out from either my husband’s company or the U.S. Consulate warning us of possible danger. But, the more alerts I received, the less scared I became. I got used to them as just part of life and didn’t put much weight into them.

Some of these security alerts consisted of the following warnings.

  • An increasing trend is hijackers trailing unsuspecting victims. Some are robbed and some are unfortunately held for ransom;
  • Criminals side brush unsuspecting vehicles or hit them from behind to force drivers to stop, after which they are robbed or kidnapped;
  • Be extremely vigilant and develop situational awareness that may enable you to avoid victimization;
  • Avoid night time travelling;
  • Keep a low profile and dress unassumingly;
  • Be alert at all times – don’t ignore any suspicious circumstances.

Man Peering into Car Window
Lagos, Nigeria
Image by Patti Greene

The last alert is the most general alert and probably the most important alert as it involves how we were to live every day of our lives in the country we were living in at the time.

As I pondered these alerts, I thought about how similar these alerts are to a Biblical alert we read about in the Scriptures.

Paul, the author of Ephesians, urges us to put on the full spiritual armor of God. Paul wants us to understand that we can fight the fiery darts of Satan who is very active in trying to trip us up and lead us away from our trust and dependence on God.

We may not live in a country with evils such as ISIS, suicide bombers, extremists, and beheadings. However, we are all surrounded by the wiles of the devil. Satan might be attacking us in the form our idols, our fleshly desires, a false gospel, physical afflictions, selfishness, friendships with the world, addictions, media, or worldly wisdom – just to name a few. We need to recognize the methods Satan uses to attack us and stand firm against his schemes. No one has given us a more wise strategy for living that God.

In Ephesians 6:10-17, Paul says:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For 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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” ESV

Image from

While not exclusive, let’s look at one fact, one action, and one verse or phrase from God’s Word that will help us to stand firm in Christ.

Fact: God’s truth will keep us secure in Christ.
Action: Confess all known sins and get rid of all deceptions and commit yourself daily to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bible: “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,”

Breastplate of Righteousness
Fact: Satan is trying to attack us with lies or reminders of our past sins.
Action: We must guard our hearts against Satan and live for the righteousness of Christ by being obedient to God’s ways and will.
Bible: “and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”

Fact: Satan will put obstacles in our paths. He wants us to stumble.
Action: Prepare yourself through Bible study, prayer, meditation, confession and more, so you can step confidently walk in Jesus’ ways wherever we go and wherever He may lead us.
Bible: “and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.”

Shield of Faith
Fact: Satan will try to put doubts in our mind. Hold on to your faith.
Action: Trust that your faith will defend all the unholy darts that may be projected upon you.
Bible: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”

Helmet of Salvation
Fact: Our thinking needs to be protected, because Satan loves to make us doubt our salvation and God.
Action: We must be sure that Jesus is our security through salvation in Christ. [If you are unsure about your relationship with Christ, understand that we are all born with a sinful nature, but when we repent of our sins and ask Jesus to be part of our life, we can have the assurance of salvation and eternal life.]
Bible: “and take the helmet of salvation,”

Sword of the Spirit
Fact: The Word of God is our weapon against the attacks of Satan.
Action: Read and study the Bible. It is God’s tool to prevent Satan’s strongholds and thoughts from infiltrating into our lives.
Bible: “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”

Pray in the Spirit
Fact: If we are not in prayer, our reliance in God is diminished allowing spiritual warfare a much easier access to our lives.
Action: Pray for the mind of Christ. Set aside time every day to pray and listen to God’s Word to you.
Bible: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

Just as our Nigerian security alerts warned us how to proceed even before any unknown danger might occur, so does the Bible warn us how to be pre-prepared against the schemes of the devil, because we never know when he might attack. It is so easy to become ensnared in the devil’s traps, and the best way to be on guard is to put on THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD – even before the temptations and evils come upon us. This can be accomplished by following Ephesians 6:18-20 with a sincere and longing heart to please our Lord and Savior.

And as Paul concludes, he says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:18-20 ESV

Bible Verses:

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 ESV

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 ESV

Lord Jesus, let me trust wholeheartedly that you have the power to fight off the fiery darts of Satan. Allow the Gospel of Jesus Christ be saturated in my mind and being. Teach me how to put on the whole armor of God daily. Refresh me with your word and through my prayers. Let me adore, honor, and love you all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God Bless and please share this message as an encouragement to others,

Patti Greene

To receive e-mail notifications of blogs from Greene Pastures by Patti: Inspiring stories about Bible Study and Prayer, please click here on your computer. Go to the web version of Greene Pastures by Patti. Type in your email address in 'Follow by Email.’ You will immediately receive an e-mail from Feed Burner. Open the e-mail, and click on link to confirm. This may not work from phones. If you would like to contact me for any reason, please e-mail at

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Prayer Club for Kids

This week’s blog is a little different because most of the blog is portrayed in photographs (and not very good photographs at that.) The photos I am using were taken in the early 1990’s before digital cameras and some of you might remember those days. They were taken with the drug store throw-away cameras where you had one chance at a good shot and even then the quality wasn’t very good. But bear with me.

PRAYER CLUB is this week's topic. My husband and I came up with the name “Prayer Club” for our weekly Family Bible Study lesson and prayer time with our children. When our 3 children were younger, John and I took turns once a week planning a little home Bible study for our kids. It was something Biblical, fun, inexpensive, and it usually took place after bath time when the kids were in their “ready for bed” t-shirts. I am not even sure the kids (now 33, 31, and 29) even remember our prayer club times, but whether they do or not is irrelevant. Somewhere the fact that mom and dad cared about their spiritual lives was imprinted upon them.

By sharing some examples of “Prayer Club” at the Greene’s house, my prayer is that you might enjoy starting one at your home, especially if you have young children. All it takes is a little planning and a tiny bit of creativity. If you don’t think you have any creative bones in your body, please try our ideas to get the hang of it. Under the caption you will see the topic we were studying, the Bible verse if applicable or known, and a short snippet maybe of what was going on in our family at the time.

Judges 7:5
We were dog-sitting Matthew at the time, so I decided to do a
 "Prayer Club" based around a dog; thus I thought of Gideon.

Gideon, cont.
Judges 7:5
"Separate those who lap the water with their tongues
as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink."

Regular Angels, Cherubim, and Seraphim

One of the pastors and his wife at our church was leaving to go to another church,
so we let our kids talk about why they were thankful for Jim and Brenda O'Dell.

John 3:16
We made salvation bracelets from a kit.

Salvation Bracelets, Cont.

John 13:1-17
The kids really thought this one was cool!

Foot-Washing, cont.
Notice how attentive the boys were!

Different Versions of the Bible, I think, but it may have been about Thanksgiving.
Who knows!
Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi
Book of Ruth
Kids loved this one because at the end, we all ate a Baby Ruth!

Dreams and Visions
Acts 2:17
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams."
Ezekiel and the Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37:7+
"So, I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone . . . "
Jennifer had a broken arm when we studied this.
Look carefully at what is in the dish!

Ezekiel and the  Dry Bones
Ezekiel 37:7+
After we studied about Ezekiel and the Dry Bones,
we made a person - pretending the Kit Kat pieces were bones.
See what is on the plate in the picture above. Of course, we ate the Kit Kat!

Making a sacrifice with flour

Sacrifices, cont.
Using fire! The kids loved tearing out pieces of paper for dad to throw in the fire!

Star - Wormwood
Revelation 8:10-11
". . .  And the name of the star is called Wormwood."
I can't remember if we ate gummy worms or not, but if we didn't, we should have!

Billy Graham
We ate popcorn and watched Billy Graham on TV.

The Walls of Jericho
Joshua 6
We looked up the verses in their Picture Bible.
The kids walked around the City of Jericho they built and banged instruments.

I hope you have enjoyed visiting our family room. It is my heart's desire that you have gained a sense of the importance of leading your children in the ways of the Lord. When Deuteronomy 11:19-21 speaks about God’s commandments, it says,  “You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.”
And, even if these photos aren’t the best quality, they are a treasure of God’s blessings to me. I’m so glad I took them so I could share them with you.

And while I am at it, I am asking forgiveness from my kids for posting these pictures of them. I figured, in this case, it was better to ask forgiveness than permission :-) Love you Jennifer, John, Jr., and Jimmy!

If you find this post beneficial, please let me know and feel free to share with your friends.

God Bless,

Patti Greene

Bible Verses:
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2
Dear Heavenly Father, Give me the desire to train up my children in the love and admonishment of YOU, and impress upon me my responsibility to do just that. While preachers, Sunday School teachers, and church pre-school programs are wonderful is instruction, let me take part in teaching and sharing your truths with my own children. Let them know the things of God are important at home and not just at church and elsewhere. Give me wisdom to lead my family in your ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

To receive e-mail notifications of blogs from Greene Pastures by Patti: Inspiring stories about Bible Study and Prayer, please click here on your computer. Type in your email address in 'Follow by Email.’ You will immediately receive an e-mail from Feed Burner. Open the e-mail, and click on link to confirm. This may not work from phones.