Little nothings

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. ~ St. Augustine

little nothingsDo not run away! We are looking at the Hebrew, Greek and English language today but I promise it is for a purpose that will encourage the socks off of you. Stay with me…

The Jot is the Hebrew word Yodh which is the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It is also the smallest letter.  The actual word, jot, is the English  translation of iota, the ninth letter, and the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet. And iota is the closest equal in Greek for the Hebrew yodh.
The tittle is the little fancy mark on the upper edge of yodh. Tittle is just the little lines or fancy marks that make the Hebrew letters different.

That seems like a lines of useless information but we sure use these little nothings quite a bit in our everyday conversation.

We say phrases such as, “…the dotting of the i and the crossing of the t.” Or, “It doesn’t matter one iota!” And now you know why.

Maybe you are thinking that none of this matters for eternity. Well, it does, in a sense. These little specks on a page are just that to some people, specks on a page. But to the English language today? They are quite important; they matter.

And so do we.

Do you realize in this vast universe that we are just mere grains of sand in comparison to the enormous population of Planet Earth? According to the World Clock, which is clicking away like you wouldn’t believe, the current population is 7,401,889,558 and it was changing every second that I was on the website. So now when you click this link, it will be totally different. Go ahead, you won’t lose your place, I promise it opens in a new tab.

Did you notice:

  • 233,367 Births today
  • 97,728 Deaths today
  • 135,639 Population Growth today
  • 17,486,929 Births this year
  • 7,323,269 Deaths this year

If you love statistics, these are some pretty fascinating ones! And if you can stand just a teeny bit more, the site shares this:

“…whereas it had taken all of human history until around 1800 for world population to reach one billion, the second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930), the third billion in less than 30 years (1959), the fourth billion in 15 years (1974), and the fifth billion in only 13 years (1987).

  • During the 20th century alone, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion.
  • In 1970, there were roughly half as many people in the world as there are now.
  • Because of declining growth rates, it will now take over 200 years to double again.”

Yikes! What did I tell you? Just little nothings.

But not to our God. Look at some of the ways He tells us we are important to Him:

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6,7

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.” Isaiah 43:4

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

It is difficult to trust someone that you do not know, it is impossible to be sure they have your best interest at heart. But when you KNOW that person, when you are acquainted with them on a personal basis…you can rest in the comfort that they also KNOW YOU, and, when you know that, “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalms 147:11 NIV, then you walk differently, you act differently and hopefully you react differently. All because of Who you know.

You are not just a speck on the page! You are beautifully and wonderfully made! The Lord has great plans for you and delights over you with unfailing love.

Can you believe that today? That you are just as important to the God of the universe as any one of the other seven billion and He is not too busy with any of you to take time for the other? Ever.

And how do we know all of this? How do we know it is true?

His Word.

Leave with this thought today: The Jewish scribes who meticulously copied the text of the Hebrew Bible scrolls, were so particular to detail that they fretted over every little dot and mark represented in the text. Did you know they even numbered every letter, every single word, even the sentences and paragraphs and chapters, so on and so forth, just to  make double sure that the total equaled that of the text being copied before they would allow it to pass?

Mind boggling but , For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:18.

Everything will be fulfilled, according to His Word. Everything. You, that little speck on the page, matter a great deal to the God of the heavens. And as the Hebrew scholars numbered every single dot on the page, this Jesus, this God in the flesh, has every hair on your head numbered and cares about you more than the little sparrow that He feeds every day.

Everyone a Gatherer

This post is written by Nannette Elkins, Editor of Curriculum for Revival By Design. You can follow her at HopeintheHealing.com

Everyone a Gatherer!

Gather. Such a funny word when you look at it and say it over and over again. Every time I hear it spoken out loud I envision the one saying it with their arms stretched out and then pulling everyone, and everything, in to them.

Gather. Come together, assemble or accumulate. Here is another version which just makes me smile:

Bring together and take in from scattered places.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30.

In our Revival By Design teaching around the country, we encourage others to become Gatherers. Some might be teachers, some leaders over a larger group; some are helpers, pastors, etc. But EVERYONE is a Gatherer!

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11.

A Gatherer is someone who is bringing together and taking in from scattered places. Reaching for the lost, the outcast, the down and out and yes, even the lowly. Jesus was the ultimate Gatherer. He said if we didn’t gather with Him then we were scattering. What does that mean?

To cause to separate and go in different directions.

If you aren’t gathering then you are scattering.

“As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.” Ezekiel 34:12.

everyone a gatherer

Jesus went after the scattered flock. He looked for those that had been cast aside or forgotten about. He rescued them and gathered them back into the sheepfold!

In these last days, let us turn our focus to gathering. We must be peacemakers in difficult situations. We need to reach a helping hand to those that have hit rock bottom. And we must be willing to open our hearts and open our arms to all of those that need Jesus. The only view they may have of HIM is you and me.

Do they see us as a Gatherer; ready to take in those that are hungry for a life change? Or do they see us as a Scatterer; one that causes confusion and division in the Body of Christ?

Praying today that I would have the mind and heart of a shepherd who is constantly caring for his flock and desperate to go after any that have scattered.

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I took this picture of The Sweetheart in the country of Estonia at a beautiful outdoor museum. Everyone a Shepherd, everyone a Gatherer!

Blessings, friends. Feel free to comment on your take on gathering and scattering. I would love to hear!

When the patient knows better than the Healer

This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator.  Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. She is the author of The Daniel Fast, A Devotional available here! You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.

Have you heard of the Abana and Pharpar syndrome?

Naaman had it. He originated it, all because he did not want to humble himself.

Naaman was a “captain of the host of the king of Syria” and the Bible says he was a great man, honorable and a mighty man of valor.

But he was a leper.

Naaman’s wife had a little maid who was taken captive out of Israel and she was sympathetic toward her master and his condition. She told Naaman’s wife that if he were with the prophet in Samaria he would be able to heal him of his leprosy.

She was confident of the power of God and confident in the man of God!

This was told to Naaman and he eventually made his way to the house of Elisha the prophet. Elisha sends a messenger to Naaman and tells him to “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.”

This infuriated Naaman! He wanted pomp and fanfare to go along with his healing! “Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.” 2 Kings 5:11, 12.

Abana and Pharpar were rivers that were closer to home and much cleaner than the muddy, nasty Jordan River. But there is so much more here than just two rivers that were nicer to take a bath in.

Doctors are well aware of the Abana and Pharpar syndrome. They see patients with this disease quite regularly. They make an appointment, then come in and tell the doctor all about their ailment. He listens, makes a diagnosis and then prescribes his cure or course of treatment.

“But wait! This is not what we wanted! We have researched this disease on the internet (everyone knows if you read it on the internet it has to be true!), and we want this treatment, this medicine, this way to healing.”

patient and the healer

The patient wants to become the doctor, he tells the Healer he knows a better way…

But it doesn’t work that way in the field of medicine and it doesn’t work that way with God.

Naaman’s servants were much wiser than their master. They got together and went to Naaman and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great , would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash and be clean’?” 2 Kings 5:13 NKJV.

They definitely hit the nail on the head. If Elisha had come and stood before Naaman waving his magic wand and making a big show out of things before Naaman’s healing, he would have been thrilled. But he couldn’t do something as simple as washing in the river…there was no fanfare, no glory in the muddy Jordan!

His servants finally convinced him and he went down and obeyed, dipped himself seven times and “…his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean”. 2 Kings 5:14.

First, humility. Second, obedience. Third, the miracle!

How many times have we been like Naaman with our own Abana and Pharpar syndrome? We have it all figured out for the Lord. “If you will do it this way, God, I will get what I want and everything will be just fine.” We pray…but we pray with conditions. We even tell God how it would work out best for us and instruct Him how to go about it.

Are we really allowing God to govern our lives?

If we will submit to our Lord in the beginning, humble ourselves before Him and let Him be in control of every facet of our lives, we can be sure of His blessing. We can be assured of His hand upon everything that we go to do…but we must be willing and obedient.

Humility and obedience. Those two things will negate the Abana and Pharpar syndrome! It takes the ME out of the picture and puts God in His rightful place.

Aren’t things so much easier when He is in control? He sees down the road and knows what is best. Naaman is proof…all he had to do was dip…seven times. Naaman thought it was foolish but God had bigger plans than just dirty bath water for Naaman.

He had a miracle waiting in the water.

Sharing with Grace & Truth , Fellowship Fridays, Counting Blessings, Dance with Jesus, Faith Filled Friday, Everyday Jesus, Amaze me Mondays, Making your home sing, Motivation Monday, Living Proverbs 31, M2M Encouragement Party, Modest Monday, Titus 2sday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Testimony Tuesday, Homemaking Linkup, Wedded Wednesday, Homemaking Party, A Little R & R

 

 

 

Jesus prayed for us

This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator.  Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. She is the author of The Daniel Fast, A Devotional available here! You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions, where she is a monthly contributor.

 “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15 ESV.

 Jesus prayed for you. Yes, you.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is praying to the Father before He went to Calvary, before He was glorified. He was praying for His disciples at the time. Here are some things that He asked God for:

That He would be glorified
For their protection
To  make them holy
To teach them His Word
That they might be one with Him
For Perfect Unity
That they would be with Him..

Then in verse 20 He says something that should make us jump for joy!

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.”

It wasn’t just for the disciples, it was for all who would believe.

He didn’t pray for God to take us out of this world, He didn’t ask Him to remove the evil from this world. He prayed for Him to keep us from the evil one.

Why?

We are familiar with good and bad, right and wrong. But what about evil? Is everything that is bad also evil? We couldn’t have this discussion without consulting Mr. Webster:

Evil: As an adjective: Having qualities tending to injury and mischief; worthless. Having or exhibiting bad, moral qualities.
And the dictionary actually quotes Matthew 18:  “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.”
As a noun: Moral badness, or the deviation of a moral being from the principles of virtue imposed by conscience, or by the will of the Supreme Being…. “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil.” Ecclesiastes 3.

Evil and sin are two different things. We all sin but we are not all necessarily evil in doing so.

To sin is to miss the mark, seemingly of God’s standard of righteousness and holiness.

To be evil means to purposely inflict harm or injury upon another or to use sin to wound another.

Evil is joining in agreement with someone else to cause harm or slander another. This breaks the heart of God.

Evil is always sin but sin is not always evil. Evil is preconceived sin; planned sin, even conniving sin.

The Bible says we were “born into sin”, it is inherently in our nature. But through the cross we now have forgiveness of sins, an advocate in Jesus Christ the Righteous! We can go before Him when we sin (and we will) and receive His mercy.

Why didn’t God do away with our sinful nature when Jesus was nailed to the tree? Why, when we are buried with Him in baptism and our sins are washed away, do we continue to sin, even unwillingly or unknowingly? Jesus could have taken that sinful nature from us and made us perfect, obedient creatures, couldn’t He?

“God created things which had free will. If a thing is free to be good it’s also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having.” C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity

Because we have to serve Him and love Him with our FREE WILL. We love Him for what He has done for us and out of hearts of gratitude and thankfulness; not because we are forced to do so. That wouldn’t be love!

So we are in the world. An evil world. We cannot change it, for the most part, and must walk in it each and every day. So, what to do about it?

He knew we would sin, that things would happen throughout our day that might trip us up. An unkind word, a rolling of the eyes, a lie that just seemingly slips out without thinking, cutting someone off in traffic, criticizing when we should be uplifting. If we are filled with His Spirit then we regret those things, are sorrowful and repentant.

But evil.

1 John 5:19.”We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one…”

Jesus prayed for us that we would be kept away from the Evil One, from Satan who would devour our souls if we would stray too far away from God. Jesus was also tempted by the devil and He knew that we would face temptation of the same kind.

He also knew that as the day of His return would draw near that there would be even more evil in this world. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:12, 13.

jesus prayed for us

He prayed for us, He sent the Comforter as strength for us, dwelling IN us and giving us power from On High that we might overcome.

Then He gave us even more promises and protection in His Word.

“The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.” Psalm 121:7.

“But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3.

And we just keep doing what we know to do.

Nehemiah did that. While rebuilding the walls of his beloved Jerusalem he wouldn’t stop for anything, even when they were being attacked!  In Nehemiah 4:17, we see how Nehemiah continued doing good in the midst of a battle,  “…The laborers carried on their work with one hand supporting their load and one hand holding a weapon.” 

He just kept on doing good. You can read more about Nehemiah’s story here in an earlier post.

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21.

Evil will remain in the world until Satan is bound. But we do not have to let evil overcome us or become a part of us.

Jesus prayed for God to keep you from the Evil One. Today, through prayer and study of His Word, through relationship, Christ IN you, He has left you with the power to live an overcoming life!

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV.

 

Listen up!

I remember several years ago, a visiting missionary walking up and down the aisle in our church carrying a pocket watch on a chain. She was swinging it back and forth, much as a hypnotist would, singing, “Go to sleep, go to sleep…” to the tune of the children’s lullaby.

Why? She was trying to make a point that America was asleep when it came to reaching our world or being aware of what was going on around us.

Today, it seems as if we are still snoozing.

The apathy we are seeing in many ways is saying, “We don’t want to think about all that is going on in the world. We want our happy lives to continue, the sun to come up in the morning and everything to carry on as it always has.”

To Americans, it is half a world away. Most cannot begin to process the evil we are seeing, except on television, movies and video games. But these crimes against humanity, an R rating wouldn’t begin to touch it.

Senator Lindsey Graham warned some time back that Iraq was not the only country in danger. He put out the alarm that they would attack on U.S. soil. It is inevitable, they have vowed to raise their flag in the White House.

Mr. President, be honest with the threat we face,” Graham said. “They are coming.”

He isn’t talking about the 30,000-50,000 that have taken over Iraq, Syria and invading other countries such as Libya and Egypt. They are already here. On U.S. soil.

So what is the answer?

When Jesus wanted to get the attention of the crowds He used the term, “Verily, verily…” Of course that is the King’s English so what does it mean, or what did it mean to them?

Many translations of the Bible use the words truly and assuredly in place of verily. The Greek definition goes back to the word Amen in the Old Testament. We use it today at the end of a prayer, or as a confirmation when we agree with the words of a minister, friend, or speaker. So be it, is another translation, or meaning of the word, Amen. In other words, we make it our own; we take possession and agree with what has just been said.

Some scholars say that Jesus used the words, “Amen, Amen, I am going to speak to you…” as His opening remarks to silence the crowds. Imagine the thousands on a hillside gathering to hear The Teacher. It could not possibly have been quiet! There were no microphones, sound systems or sophisticated megaphones. He had to say something to get them to sit down and listen to what He had to say.

Maybe that is why He used Amen at the beginning of what He was about to say. Not just to quiet them down and prepare them but also to let them know that what He was about to tell them was of great importance. “Listen up!”

He warned of days like this, that our lives would be in danger, we would be persecuted because of His name.

Those days are here.

Jesus told the story, He sounded the alarm. He repeated Himself. He called urgency to His message. He gave it authority, using emphasis and stressing the importance of His words.

He wants us to do the same.

What is happening in our world IS our world.

What matters is that people are being killed, literally slaughtered, because they will not renounce their faith and will not convert to evil.

Children are being killed, even beheaded; women are being sold as slaves, raped, beaten, and torn from their families.

Some have been buried alive. Others are being burned alive!

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We had thousands of refugees trapped on a mountain with very little of life’s necessities to sustain them. No bed, no clothing, no documents identifying who they are or where they came from. They were literally people without a country!

Yet life goes on for us. We are free, we are happy, we have LIVES.

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Friends, they have vowed to come for us, too. This is not pleasant to hear but we must prepare ourselves now. We must become unified as the Body of Christ in order to be able to stand. We need one another and our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world need our prayers.

Will ISIS go away if we pray? Will Israel and Palestine sign a peace treaty? Will Russia withdraw from the Ukraine?

Not necessarily, some of things must come to pass before the end comes and/or before the Second Coming of our Lord.

But prayer changes us and it puts warrior angels into action. They will fight on our behalf; they will stand in the gap. God does respond to the prayers of His people!

“‘And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:29-31.

It will strengthen those going through the fire; God’s Word is full of examples, such as when the Church prayed for Peter in Acts 12.

Look at what Paul says here to the Corinthian church concerning their prayers:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:8-11.

It is the most powerful weapon we own.

“But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.…” Acts 16:25-26.

Not only were Paul and Silas delivered but the keeper of the prison, and his entire household, were baptized! It matters.

Can we get involved? Will YOU get involved? Will you pray, will you share and let others know that you believe God hears us when we call on Him?

Will you cry out, “Listen up!”

Listen Up

If we intend to reach the world with the Gospel we must get our focus off of things and on to people. We must listen up.

This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator.  Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. She is the author of The Daniel Fast, A Devotional available here! You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.

 

Meekness is NOT Weakness!

This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator.  Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.

“Humility is the almost impossible task of being more concerned with my own sins than the sins of others.”
~ Missionary William Turner

While we were visiting in Latvia, we were privileged to hear the teaching of Missionary William Turner, missionary to Russia and the Ukraine. He taught a beautiful lesson on meekness before the conference and I tried to take notes on my phone as quickly as I could. I want to share some of his thoughts mixed in with my own, on the subject of his great title, “Meekness is Not Weakness”. He is a wonderful Bible teacher, full of wisdom and experience from many years on the mission field in South Korea and the former Soviet Union.

“Meekness is forsaking our responsibility to make things right.”

In Numbers the 12th chapter, Moses was called meek at a time in his life when he was being unjustly criticized by Miriam and Aaron because he had married an Ethiopian woman.

They thought the Lord could speak to them just as well as He could through Moses and were brave enough to say so!

“And the Lord heard it.” Numbers 12:2. NKJV.

(“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) Numbers 12:3.

So it looks like Moses is meek and humble…he isn’t going to say anything to his own sister and brother. He isn’t going to call them out in front of the congregation and make them be quiet or tell them they are out of line. It just is not his way.

He doesn’t have to…

Immediately the Lord calls to Moses, Aaron and Miriam and tells them to go to the Tabernacle. The Lord then descends in the pillar of a cloud and stands at the entrance of the Tabernacle!

“Aaron and Miriam!…Now listen to what I say: If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. I speak to him face to face….He sees the Lord as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” Numbers 12:5-8 NLT.

The Bible says the Lord was very angry with them and as soon as He departed, there stood Miriam…her skin as white as snow from leprosy!

Aaron cries out to Moses for mercy and Moses then cries out to the Lord asking Him to heal Miriam. God doesn’t instantly heal her but follows the Law and has her shut out of the camp for seven days.

Meek people seek no private revenge even though they were wronged. Moses’ sister and brother wanted the limelight and didn’t seem to care that it was Moses, the one who had led them out of slavery, that they were finding fault against.

But Moses kept quiet, and because He did, the Lord fought for him! When God fights for you, when Almighty God stands in the gap for you, not only will you win friend, you win big!

Meekness is NOT Weakness!

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And those that are against you…even if you love them… can lose big.

God let Miriam and Aaron know that Moses was the one that He had chosen to speak to…face to face. They had better think twice before they criticized the man of God again!

Was it because of the meekness of Moses that “…he sees the Lord as he is”? Do you not think that our attitudes have so much to do with whether or not we can enter into the Holy of Holies?

God spoke to Moses face to face because of his humility.

Psalm 37:11 “But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Missionary Turner said that “Meekness yields to what we perceive to be our rights. We do it to obtain a greater spiritual good.”

If you truly possess a spirit of meekness and humility, you won’t keep insisting on your own rights.

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…” 2 Timothy 2:24-25.

Meekness is NOT Weakness!

We Don’t DO The Church Thing…

This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator.  Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.

It was one of those conversations that you could have any day of the week.

You could be in the grocery store, doctor’s office, on the playground, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve just met a stranger, easy to talk to, you start with small talk about your families.

I had one of those. It was life-changing.

She was a sweetheart. A mother of two, she worked five days a week, came home, cooked dinner and helped with homework. Then spent the rest of the evening doing the usual chores; baths, packing lunches, laundry, normal things we all do, day in, day out.

She talked about how blessed her children were to have such a wonderful school to attend. They still said the Pledge of Allegiance…she stressed the real Pledge of Allegiance with under God! They were even still allowed to attend a weekly, church-sanctioned, afternoon Bible class! Yes, this is a public school. She went on and on about how safe they felt there, how her parents lived just up the road, life just couldn’t be much better.

Then I guess I backed her in a corner, without meaning to, when I said something about church. With everything she had just described about her life I just assumed she attended.

She said, “Oh, we have Bibles in our house, but we don’t do the church thing.”

Church-Thing

And before I had a chance to say anything she stumbled, mumbled and said, “Well, we are just busy on the weekends and all…” and with that she found an excuse to make a quick exit.

Now, before you fill my comment box up with “We don’t have to go to church to feel God…”, you are correct, we sure don’t. I will get to that in a moment. Bear with me here, I was actually more saddened by the “We have Bibles IN our house….” because I could tell by the way she said it that those Bibles probably didn’t get read any more than the children were getting taken to Sunday School.

It was wonderful that she was so happy her children were in a good school that paid honor to God, and in a good community that still allowed God in the schools, a rarity in our country! But for all of her commendations to her school and her community, she had left the King of Kings out of her home. The Bibles are there but they aren’t being used.

That may be true of many church-going Christians and that is a dangerous place to be. The Word truly is a “lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path”. Without it we stumble and fall and blindly lose our way.

I may be taking a few liberties here since I do not personally know this stranger but “We don’t do the church thing” is speaking a mouthful to me. Has she been hurt somewhere before? Disillusioned? Lost her faith along the way? Can’t bring herself to trust in leadership?

Or is it laziness? The American “sleep-in-on-Sunday” culture, or the attitude that says, “I’ll do it my way.”

Because, my friend, we need the Body of Christ, we need the community and the unity that comes from the assembling of ourselves together. (Hebrews 10:25)

We must hear the preaching of the Word of God! “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

And in answer to those that have been hurt, abused, lied to, and misled in a church house somewhere on this planet, as a former pastor’s wife, my sincerest apologies. That should never be in the House of God. But Jesus did not do it. People did.

People are just people and unfortunately they are still people in the church too. You will find the complainers, the naysayers, the gossipers, backbiters, liars, chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out-haters. I’ve seen them all and still had to hug their neck the next Sunday! And let us not forget the good ole hypocrites. Yes, they are there too. Where else would they be but in church?!

It would be a terrible shame to let people keep you from coming  face to face with Jesus of Nazareth.

Don’t let a few busybodies keep you from your worship of the King.

(If you are one that has offended people, hurt them, caused them to leave the church, there is no excuse for this type of behavior in the church. God is not pleased.)

There are plenty of great churches that preach Truth. Go find one!

It’s worth it to be able to stand up in service with tears streaming down your face, hands raised in worship and actually feel the presence of Almighty God as you offer Him praise, just because He is worthy!

My friend, one day we will all stand before Him. It does not matter who you are, or your social status.

You will be there.

You won’t be late. We will all be there.

We will call Him Lord then, we will all call Him by Name.

For some, He will return the favor.

Others He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you…”

I wonder if they will be the ones that had Bibles in their homes but didn’t DO the CHURCH THING?

 

A Spiritual Look At Mental Issues

In this article we will be teaching from a spiritual sense on the mind, soul, spirit, conscience and heart. Through understanding their functions, it will help to see a little clearer what happens when a person is dealing with depression or a mental condition. The question I want to explore is if this is a demonic attack or a mental disorder and how do we deal with it. 

There are many scriptures through the Word of the Lord that refer to a person as a city (Jerusalem), a temple and even a tabernacle. This is taught more in depth in RBD Course 3 under Spiritual Warfare.

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit (Proverbs 18:11). He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls (Proverbs 25:28).

As we continue to study the scriptures, we find more of these principles and types to give us a clearer understanding of God’s plan in our lives. “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19). “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:21). Peter says it like this… Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).

I want you to picture in your mind a medieval castle or stronghold. Picture this castle having high walls with a moat around it with one large gate at the front. If you were to go through the main gate and enter into the compound there would be several buildings within, and in the center of the castle many times you would find a chapel, or even the main office (center of activity/throne). I will reference this type of castle throughout this article to bring out insights from the scriptures.

The Gate:

In the Old Testament there is much written concerning judgments and decisions being made at the gate. In some places in the Old Tallin City GateTestament the king would have his throne set up at the gate to show that he had conquered the city. In another place you find two kings sitting at the gate making battle plans. In the book of Ruth, Boaz took legal action to make Ruth his wife and buy all of the lands of Naomi. Also, Lot was a judge in Sodom and sat at the gate. Another basic principle is the door of your home, this is where you decide if you are going to let someone into your house or not.

The gate was a place of decision making, a place of judgment. Therefore, we will put the mind at the gate. This is where your judgments and decisions are made.

One of the meanings of the mind in the Greek is “a particular mode of thinking and judging, i.e., thoughts, feelings, purposes, desires”. One of the meanings of the mind in the English dictionary is “(in a human or other conscious being), the element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc., the processes of the human mind”.

The Temple:

I will refer to the Temple as the heart. Here are some of the meanings of the “heart” in the English dictionary: “The center of the total personality, especially with reference to intuition, feeling, or emotion: ‘In your heart you know I’m an honest man.’ The center of emotion, especially as contrasted to the head as the center of the intellect: His head told him not to fall in love, but his heart had the final say”.

Some of the meanings of the “heart” in Hebrew: Heart (of moral character), the seat of appetites, the seat of emotions and Heartpassions, the seat of courage.

Some scriptures on the heart:

    Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23).

    For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders. (Mark 7:21).

    Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. (2 Corinthians 1:22).

    That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love…” (Ephesians 3:17).

The Heart speaks of the nature of mankind or the very seat of emotions where the issues of life spring forth. Therefore, if a person’s heart is evil, his spirit is also evil. When a person receives the Spirit of God, God writes His nature or law upon the heart or gives a new nature to the person.

Some scriptures on the spirit:

    And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5).

    But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17).

Your spirit speaks of your nature. In Genesis 6:5, God saw that the imagination of mankind’s heart was evil continually. In other words, his spirit was corrupted, or he had lost the divine nature of God through sin. The only alternative was to start all over again. But, Noah found grace in the eyes of God.

    And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. (Daniel 5:21).

Mankind has a spirit and nature as well as every animal. Animals will die and their spirit will die with them. When mankind dies, his spirit continues to live because the soul will live forever.

The Temple is where God sits on the throne of our life, if we let Him. If not, we pile other things into the center of our lives and these things will guide us.

 The Counselor at the Gate:

Man became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into him (Genesis 2:7).

The spirit of the beast will die upon the death of its flesh, however the spirit of man lives forever (Ecclesiastes 3:21), because the soul of man will live forever.

The soul is the inner being of mankind. One of the meanings in Hebrew is the activity of the will. It is very interesting to note that the word for conscience in the Greek is “the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other”.

ConscienceThe conscience is the function of the soul. The soul knows what is morally good. Many times we appeal to the conscience of mankind. We sometimes call for the conscience of a person to witness against them.

 Some scriptures:

    I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 9:1).

    Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

    Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. (Titus 1:15).

The soul or conscience of a person is a witness and a counselor of truth that connects the mind (judgments or thought process) with the heart.

Some other important aspects of the castle:

    “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. (Proverbs 25:28).

Another way of looking at this scripture is if you do not allow the Spirit of God to govern your life, then there is no salvation. Romans 8:14 says it like this, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

    “Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. (Isaiah 60:18).

The Walls that protect your life are salvation. If Jesus Christ does not sit on the throne as the Lord of our lives, then we do not have walls of salvation, but we are on our way to destruction. The devil gains access to a person’s life very easily.

The Gates are Praise. Praise should live at the place of judgment and decisions. Some people tend to be judgmental with no life and power; this is due to the lack of praise at the gate of our life. Some people call this the power of positive thinking. The scriptures talk about this as the power of praise.

Depression:

This subject is very important, and shows a problem within the heart of a person. It means that the gates of a person’s mind have been opened to allow depression to enter into a person and bring darkness to their life.

Does this mean that the person is under the control of demonic power? Not necessarily. However, that is the desire of this demonic power.

This can be a problem that was in their life from before, and it has never been dealt with, and the person suppresses it. In other words, this situation has not been totally given to the Lord Jesus and the weak spot in the gate, or the thought, can make all of thisDepression come alive again in the heart of a person. Evil spirits know this weak spot at the gate and look to push away the Word of God that holds this section of a person’s life to bring about disaster in the very heart and spirit of a person. The only way to be totally set free from this is to acknowledge the problem and give this problem to God for emotional and spiritual healing. If this person is not strong enough to minister to themselves and get deliverance from depression, then they need to find someone that knows how to help in this situation. Acknowledge the problem, get deliverance from the depression and be totally healed by allowing God full access to this tender spot.

Counseling will help reveal the problem. Talking about the problem can relieve some of the suppressed feelings of the depression, but it does not bring deliverance. These actions help you to the road of recovery, but do not finish the work. The work of the Holy Spirit can deliver us from this evil. The prayer that Jesus gave is very important for deliverance. He said to pray for deliverance from evil. You can repent of a situation, but this is not enough because this is a decision of the mind. Deliverance is a matter that Jesus makes for us as we ask Him to heal the emotional wounds and deliver us from the attack of demonic powers that would take advantage of the wound. We need to be renewed in His Word at the gates of our lives (mind). Then we need to be sensitive at those gates and listen to our conscience as the Spirit of the Lord governs us and makes us aware of attacks against the gate. When words and feelings that are contrary to God’s Word and the fruit of the Spirit within us start coming against the gate, then you have to use the sword of the Spirit against those lies, otherwise they will overcome you and enter into your heart and take you captive.

Maintain a broken heart and spirit before the Lord by daily surrendering your will to God.

Mental:

A person that has a mental handicap can sometimes appear to be demonic. Many a minister has tried to cast out these spirits from the life of a person. However, here are the basics to understanding how to deal with mental handicaps from a spiritual standpoint. The mental part of a person is dealing with the gate and not the heart. If a person cannot communicate correctly so that others can understand them, then it becomes a matter of the heart and turns to frustration and anger. Many ministers make the mistake of trying to cast out the spirits of anger and frustration and bi-pass the true problem which is a mental handicap with its root at the gate.

mental health labelsCan a person that has a mental problem come under the control of demonic power? Of course they can, and the root of it is at the gate/mind. Deliverance must take place, however the mind of that person needs to be healed.

The best way to deal with this kind of a situation is with peace. First you have to address the spiritual condition of the person if they are under the control of demonic power, and then you release peace to the mind and heart of that person so that you can give understanding through communicating peace and love to the person that you are dealing with. Understanding is going to unite the gate with the heart which will allow for true ministry.

These principles that I have shared in this article are simply the basics. Many times we deal with these situations correctly because of the Spirit of God within us; however there are times when fear overcomes us because we do not have the understanding in our minds and we then make mistakes.

We need to have the fear (a holy reverence) of the Lord in our hearts, and knowledge of the Holy for understanding. Combining these two components in our lives will enrich us in knowing God and ministering to others.

We, as ministers, have to build people and help them with matters of the heart, mind, soul and spirit in order to have the proper protection in their lives.

The Waiting Room

This post is written by our curriculum editor Nannette Elkins, wife of Douglas Elkins, our North America Regional Coordinator.  Nannette also spent a year in Latvia helping launch Revival by Design. You can get acquainted with her writings at her blog Hope in the Healing and also at Internet Cafe Devotions where she is a monthly contributor.

Waiting…Waiting…Waiting. You despise to wait. You are in the doctor’s office. You made it to the appointment on time. You left work on time. You even fought traffic, battled for the last parking space in the lot and ran up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. But you made it.

Now you wait.

Why can’t they be on time? Doesn’t that drive you crazy? Have you ever wanted to send them a bill? Have you seen the sign in some professional offices now?

If you are more than 15 minutes late you will be billed for a missed appointment.

But yes, let us be fair, they have delays too. They have patients or customers that are late that put the next patient or customer late…and so on, and so on…

Even though our natural response to waiting feels like nails on a chalkboard, it can actually be a time of growth if we let it.

“I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’” Lamentations 3:24 NIV.

Think of all the patriarchs in the Bible who went through extreme waiting periods in their life!

Abraham and Sarah – Waiting 25 years for a child.

Moses waited as a shepherd for 40 years before the Lord called him to lead the people of Israel. (Then he wandered another 40 years in the wilderness, if we want to count that!)

Joseph waited 13 years as a prisoner, abandoned by his brothers, sold as a slave and then finally reunited in his role as one of the leaders of Egypt.

“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20 NIV.

In the Waiting Room we are listening for our name to be called. We learn to recognize His voice. We are quiet, we are sensitive, prayerful, so as not to miss Him. We want to surround ourselves with others who are likeminded so that we are not confused or disoriented as we wait.

What are we looking at in the Waiting Room? What are we filling our minds with while we wait? Is it pleasing to God? If we need an answer from God, are we searching for it in the “things of God” or in the things of this world? What are we “feeding” on?

What kind of impression are we giving out to others in the Waiting Room? Are we Christ-like as we wait? Or are we grumpy, irritable, impatient, letting our feelings be known? “Well, He is not on time and we are NOT happy about it!”  “He has not answered, not called our name, where is He?”

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4,5.

Do we realize others see us in our period of waiting? That we are an example of Christ, and no matter if it is a small thing or something of great importance, our reaction to the Waiting Room will have an impact on others? Especially on those that are not in relationship with the Savior.

Finally! Our name is called! The answer has come, He has sent someone for us, and it is our turn. What is our reaction in the Waiting Room? Is it one of “Well, it’s about time!” Or is it one of gratitude and praise, thankfulness for prayer that was answered?

Are we short and abrupt, just glad that it is over or are we truly appreciative and acknowledging the Lord, realizing that the outcome is the result of His hand on our lives? It does matter you know, people are watching. And more importantly, the Savior cares.

If you are in a Waiting Room season here are some things you can do:

Don’t stop praying! Ask others to join you in prayer for your situation.

“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Ephesians 3:20.

Make sure you are praying God’s will, not YOUR will.

Keep busy by ministering to others!

This is the best way to give back and focus your heart on serving.

“So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:12 NLT.

Don’t let yourself become discouraged.

Remember God’s timing is not ours! It may seem like He is never going to answer but He will! And His will for your life is always the best design, give it time and rest in His plan.

“Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded!

For I will work a work in your days

Which you would not believe, though it were told you.” Habakkuk 1:5 NKJV.

The Waiting Room (1)

 This post originally appeared at HopeintheHealing.com  It may be re-blogged exactly as is, but cannot be copied without permission.

 

Angels Are Sent From God To Minister To You

This article originally was included in our monthly RBD newsletter.

The subject of angels is huge, and therefore I will simply give the basics of their ministry.

Angels-of-God 1Throughout the Word of God we see the ministry of angels. They were there at the beginning of the creation of God and rejoiced when the foundation of the world was formed.

Angels are the servants of God, not of man. They do minister to the heirs of salvation, but they belong to God. I do not have the right to command them for they don’t report to me for duty, but they report to God (Psalms 103:20).

When we look into the ranks of angels, we catch a glimpse of their purpose and ministry to mankind as God directs them.

We know the names of three angels, most likely due to their being chief angels in their ministry and function. One example in scripture shows us that the name of this particular angel was secret (Judges 13:15-19).

The names of the three angels:

  • Lucifer: He was a Cherub, one that covered. However, he was very unique in that God created him with special musical abilities. Most likely he was the Chief Cherub.
  • Michael: He is the Chief Warrior Angel that fights for Israel or God’sMichael Angel people.
  • Gabriel: He appears to be the Chief Messenger Angel, in that we have his name. He appears to Daniel to give him understanding and revelation concerning Israel, he appeared to Zachariah to tell him about the birth of John, and he appeared to Mary to give her tidings of the birth of the Messiah.

Ranks of angels as we see in the scriptures:

  • Cherubim’s: Protectors of the holiness of God. They have four wings.
  • Seraphim’s: Attend to the Lord and sing, “Holy, holy, holy.” (Isaiah 6:1-7).
    • Seraphim are found in Revelation 4:6-9, which are the six-winged angels as found in Isaiah.
    • Warriors: Chief Angel being Michael.
    • Messenger: Chief Angel most likely being Gabriel.
      • Hebrews 1:13-14 speaks of angels being ministering spirits.

AA008975There are probably more types of angels than the ones mentioned. However, these are the ones that we see in the scriptures, not counting the fallen angels.

The Old Testament Structure is a pattern of the heavenly structure. We can therefore come up with a reasonable pattern for God’s structure with His angels.

God is the Overseer of all aspects of His Creation.

  • In His presence, there is continual worship from the Seraphim.
  • The Cherub is continually in the presence of God, in that they are protectors of God’s holiness and they go with Him wherever He goes.
  • God’s Right Hand of Military Power would be Michael.
  • God’s Left hand of Messenger Angels would be Gabriel.

We see this balance of Spirit and Truth throughout the scriptures. In the Old Testament Church in the Wilderness it was Joshua and Aaron. It is the Old Testament (Law) and the New Testament (Spirit). You see this in Satan’s structure False Prophet/Power and the Whore/Perverse Religion. In the heavenlies, it is Michael and Gabriel.

Even when Jesus was on the Mount and was transfigured before his top three disciples, they see Moses and Elijah appear before the Lord and talk to Him of His death. Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents Power or the Prophetic.

Angels are sent by God into situations to minister to the heirs of salvation. For example, as we are praising God, the presence of God comes down and warrior angels push back demonic powers, to make way for God’s presence, and ministering angels begin to minister as the glory of His majesty comes in and then the people of the Lord begin to worship.

We do not have the authority to command angels to do our bidding, because they belong to God and not to us. We can ask God to send his angels into situations, which I do on a regular basis. Abraham said to his servant, “God will send His angel before you to give you success.” When God spoke to Moses concerning going into the Promised Land, He told him that He would send his Angel before him and fear would fall upon the enemies of the Lord and he would drive out the enemies of the Lord before the people of the Lord.

Here are a few examples of angel interaction in my life:

In Minsk, Belarus we were under attack in our neighborhood by gangs. One day when my wife Robin and I were seeking the Lord, I was in the kitchen praying in tongues, and the Lord took my spirit up above my neighborhood. I could still hear myself speaking in tongues. When I looked down upon my neighborhood I saw angels moving like lightning pushing back the darkness. God spoke to me, and said, “This is a result of the tongues you are speaking right now.”

God miraculously healed me when I was 18 years old after my leg was broken in 22 places, and the doctors had said that I would probably never walk again. However, the Lord did not heal my knee. I had a torn ligament, which was very painful. My knee would give out suddenly at any given time. The doctors said that they would have to staple my muscle to my knee in order to fix it. I did not want to go through another operation, so one night when I was in a lot of pain, I asked the Lord to heal me. I fell asleep, and in the middle of the night I woke up, and my room was as light as day, and a man in white stood beside my bed with blond hair. He looked at me and smiled and reached over and touched my knee and I fell back asleep. It was like a dream, however I remember many details. When I awoke in the morning I remembered what had happened, and I stood up from bed without pain and my knee hasn’t given out again. That was around 24 years ago.

Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

Psalms 34:7 The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fearPsalm 34_7 him, and delivereth them.

I believe, according to the scriptures, that God has assigned angels to each believer that is baptized in Jesus’ Name and has received the Holy Spirit (heirs of salvation). However, when a believer sins, the angels back away from the believer, in that the angel of the Lord encamps around them that fear the Lord.

I believe that these angels give an account of the actions of the believers to the Lord and their actions, whether good or bad, are written in a book. I believe that this is what is being talked about in 1 Corinthians 11 when addressing the subject of the line of authority. The angels know if a woman is under authority by the sign of her hair.

My wife and I have seen angels many times and every time it has been in response to prayer or God opening our eyes to a situation so that we could understand what He was doing and so that we could help others.

Many times as I have been preaching, my wife would see an angel standing behind me and covering me with its wings as I preached the Word. This greatly encouraged me, and taught me that I am not alone, but that God sent His angel to help me.

When we step forward in confidence in the Word of God and understanding that God has sent His angels with us to help us in the work of God, then the angels step forward to accomplish the will of God. If we hang back and are fearful, then the angels of the Lord can do nothing. The mandate was given to mankind to rule the earth under the direction of God. These angels, who are mighty in power, are under the orders of God Himself, and are waiting for you and I to step forward into our rightful place and speak the Word of the Lord. When we do this, then signs and wonders will take place and visions and dreams will be seen.

I thank the Lord for the opportunity to see angels and to understand more of the workings of God’s Kingdom. However, my desire is to see the Lord and to understand Him.  I want to see God’s will accomplished. I do not want to work in the power of this flesh, but I will step forward in the confidence of God and proclaim His will.

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