Purposeful Faith

Category - truth

When You Wax & Wane

gospel truth remain

Post By: Angela Parlin

From her bedroom window, the full moon glows.

Rays bounce to the north, south, east, and west, painting a cross of light over a pitch dark sky. Supermoon circles large in the center of a bright, shining, old, rugged cross.

I sit on the corner of her bed, watch my sleeping beauty breathe, and I stare at the moon.

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.” –Martin Luther

Tonight, God wrote the gospel on the moon, and I needed it more than I knew.

Many days, I gulp down living water early.

But then I run through days, where the gospel feels lost on me.

Some days start on a high note, but tangle up in chaos before we reach the middle. Some days, I have to convince myself to try get on top of it all. Instead, I feel irritated. I can’t stop moving, but I’m only running in circles.

When I finally sit down for a few minutes without little people asking for more pieces of me, I ask God really mature and selfless questions.

Why won’t they ever leave me alone?

It’s not what I really want, other than the opportunity to pause and re-center.

The night of the supermoon, it hit me.

The way of the moon is to wax and wane, and the light can all but disappear sometimes.

My light can all but disappear, in the jumble of kids and school and endless meals and the house with its dirt and projects and always so many things to do.

My light disappears in the way I react to their childishness and stubbornness and rips and smudges and everywhere messes.

I want to remain in Jesus, to be a light that shines His love day in and day out, even when it’s only for my little crew.

I also want to be left alone sometimes.

I want to stay on schedule.

I want my house all put together.

I want to complete things when I start them.

And since none of these are entirely possible, some days my light goes out. Or at least grows dim.

How is it so hard to remain in Him, when I do take the time to begin in Him?

The night I saw Him cross the moon, my heart welled up with this visible shot of gospel, in the middle of my own frustrations and failures.

His cross was brighter.

His love was stronger.

His work outlasted my own.

Once my eyes were fixed on Jesus again, I could see it all more clearly.

There is so much beauty in and around and through the chaos of our days.

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone. This doesn’t diminish the importance of the Bible. Nothing compares to opening the pages of His Word and hearing from the Lord.

But God surrounded us with all this beauty, His own glory. It fixes our minds on Him again, and maybe there’s always more to see.

So when you look up at the sky today or the stars tonight, or when the wind blows through your backyard trees, I hope you will remember.

I hope you will look and see Jesus above the roar of your life’s chaos, and you will continue in Him. And you will remain in Him.

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View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to being with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.

20 Bible Verses to Help in Goal-Keeping

Goal-Keeping

Setting goals can be hard. Pick one too difficult and you have to contend with the fact you didn’t do it. Pick one too easy and you will be asking why you didn’t pick a real goal. Either way, you want to look back and know that you did great, gave it all and made a real and impactful life change.

How do you go about setting and keeping goals?
How do you pick things that God cares about?
And, what does God have to say about goals to begin with?

These are all questions that I ponder. I want to do what matters to him. I want to change the areas he wants changed. I want to know where I can love more and serve more and not pick some superfluous bag of new law that makes me more stressed and anxious and sinful than I was before.

If I am honest with you all, I don’t really know what new goal to pick. I figure the best way to get clarity is to get under the Lord’s authority and to see what he lays on my heart. I’ll seek his word, then seek his heart in prayer and he will be faithful to speak what he wants changed, not what man wants changed, my ambitions want changed or what vanity wants changed.

“Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light…” Ps. 37:4-6

20 Bible Verses To Think on When Setting Goals

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ” Psalm 37:4

“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Psalm 33:11

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” Psalm 118:8

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

“All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly.” Proverbs 13:16

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

“Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Pet. 3:18

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

 “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7

“May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Psalm 20:4

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From Commander To Surrenderer

Surrenderer

You can do it.
Make it happen.
You’re the boss.
Lead the way.
Get ‘er done.

Life makes us more into commanders than surrenderers doesn’t it?

I have been thinking about this lately, because, sure, I pray to God, I ask him for help, I follow his lead, I read his Word and I go to church. But, how much of my life do I manage, manipulate and mangle rather than letting him mend, mold and make me holy?

In many ways, I step up to God to say,
“You are my helper. Assistant. But, you are hardly my rescuer.”

Which translates to:
I’ll call on you in prayer God; you better pull though when I ask.
I have the day-to-day interactions covered, you handle the miracles.
I can figure my way out of the small; I will circle back on the big.
I am the boss of my office; I will call you, the assistant, if I get overwhelmed.
I will buzz you in if there are some things I really don’t want to do.

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD. La. 3:40

I am a large part pride and, I entirely hate to say this, a small portion trust.
I often think I can help myself better than God can help me.
I run over God with the tread my dirt-laden wheels that head to reeking lands.
My direction and intentions leave me with a flat tire and no way out.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help (including Kelly Balarie or [insert your name here]. Ps. 22:11

Trouble is always near. So is the devil; he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8

God waits.
He sees our trouble.
He is acquainted with our adversary.
He knows our door out.
He knows his door in.
He calls us to it.
He pleads for us.
He advocates for us.
He waits.

Will we call back to him?

Like a child with a breakage, knowing daddy will run to rescue?

Like a mother of a terminal one, knowing her great physician will save?

Like a distressed homeless one, knowing the benefactor has good?

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Ps. 55:2

He will handle our all as we hand over our all.
He loves our all, we need not be afraid of his all.
He brings us to his all as we seek his all.

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Jesus, Where Are You?

Post By: Angela Parlin

Sometimes, life leaves us wondering, Jesus? Where are you?

Sometimes trials last year after year, and we don’t see how God works good things through those hard places.

So often, we need a reminder of who Jesus is and what He’s done and what He’s still doing for His loved ones.

The book of Hebrews begins by telling us that God speaks through Jesus to the world.

Previously, God spoke to the prophets, the Old Testament writers. He revealed Himself to them, with divinely inspired revelation, but that revelation was incomplete. He also spoke to people through angels. The original audience for this book, the Jews, had highest regard for the ministry of angels.

But now, God wants us to know, He has spoken in a far superior way.

God has spoken to the world through the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, who is greater than prophets and angels. More.

Read the rest of this post at Angela’s Blog.

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Wrecking Trying

Wrecking Trying

I am wrecked by this one idea. It throws me off every time. It surprises me in its truth. I almost can’t accept it and so many times have difficulty doing so. It’s the one thing that rains down and can never be blocked with the umbrella of self. 

When I spew that nasty comeback. Its rain flows.
When I yell at that innocent face of the 4-year old before me. Its rain flows.
When I bark orders like a militant leader in need of children followers. Its rain flows.
When I let the house problems send my soul into a tizzy. Its rain flows.

No matter how hard I try to look the other way. It flows. It pounds.

It downpours on my soul, knocking my umbrella of self-condemnation and mutilation away. This rain wrecks my heart in the wild oceans of love, in the turbulent seas of Christ’s sacrifice and calms it by God’s rushing still water of his forgiveness.

to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Eph 1:6

Even when I slap God’s hand, it is still given.

Grace is not just given, but unlike normal dealings, it comes with no strings attached, no paybacks, no debts owed and no loan shark trying to chase me down for what it appears I stole.

What sweet relief Jesus! Without you, Jesus, I couldn’t, I wouldn’t…

I am simply wrecked by the idea that you are not wrecking me.
I am floored by the idea that you are not pressing me to the floor.
I am humbled by your humility in your approach towards me.

Who am I to get your best?

Best of all, I don’t even have to try to win your smiles, hugs and applause. Without my lame attempts, war plans and business objectives, it is still effective!

Grace:

1. Moves us from orphanhood to sonship.
It’s not earned through trial and error, but through believing and receiving his grace.
No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. Acts 15:11

2. Makes a construction zone out of our heart.
The more grace showers down and seeps inside the more we look up and are changed inside.
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up… Acts 20:32

3. Has benefits that never end.
It is the only free gift that keeps on giving, again and again and again – and forevermore.
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32

4. Gives us VIP access to God.
The door swings open so we may converse, confide and collaborate with the author and perfecter of faith.
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. Romans 5:2

5. Sets warring hearts at complete peace with God.
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  Romans 5:1-2

Grace is not a trying zone, but a high-flying zone for people that are anything but ship-wrecked.

They are just wrecked by the word of grace and God’s power to never stop loving, working, pleading, helping, shielding and revealing on our behalf.

Grace moves to friend status, instead of foe.

And, for that, in the unending downpour of rain we will forever dance – free, uncharged and unobstructed.

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When You’re Cheering On the Sidelines

cheering on the sidelines

Post By: Katie M. Reid

My dad said that if I got a tattoo or was a cheerleader he wouldn’t pay for college.

Years after I graduated, I almost caved and got a tattoo, but backed out at the last minute. It was going to say something like, “Follow the Way of Love”.

I didn’t exactly avoid the cheerleading thing though—cheering for others is something that naturally springs forth from within.

No, I don’t cheer on the sidelines for sporting events—except when our kids are playing soccer, then my husband and I are completely obnoxious and embarrassing, we’re so competitive!

But I do cheer for others as they pursue their dreams. I love to inspire others to take the next steps and to jump higher. I enjoy celebrating like a fool when a writing friend gets a book deal or a speaking friend gets an invitation to a national conference.

I am genuinely happy for my friends when they succeed, and I would do a back handspring for them, if I could—I tried to master one in gymnastics but never did get the hang of it.

But here’s the thing, when I see others sailing through the air—reaching new heights—it’s easy to feel left behind, grounded and insecure.

Recently, I confided in a few friends about how I was feeling as I saw others soar. It was embarrassing to admit that I was having a 38 year old temper tantrum—this first-born over-achiever doesn’t like to be left-out or passed by.

One of these friends prayed that God would give me clarity in my mission so that, regardless of what others are doing, I will feel peace pursuing the things that He has put in my heart (thanks Kelly!).

So I prayed this prayer. And you know what I felt like He said? Help others be successful.

I’m not going to lie, this was not really what I wanted to hear! It was, and is, such a pride-buster to my striving and driving self.

And maybe that’s exactly the point.

God knows what I need and that truly, deep down, I want to be more like Him than be liked by the masses—it’s buried down deep in there somewhere.

I read this the other day and it hit home, right in the epicenter of my success-driven self,

“Do I want to make a difference or do I want to be famous?” -Kimberly D. Henderson

That’ll shut you up—or at least me up—as it speaks to the heart of the matter.

Do I want to climb the ladder or am I willing to hold the ladder for others?

Do I want the accolades, the fame and the win, or will I stoop, support and assist in order to hoist others to the heights that He has prepared for them?

Are you sure God? So basically You want me to be a cheerleader, so that others have a greater chance at V-I-C-T-O-R-Y? This is hard on my pride God, but I trust that You know what is best. And, thank You, for wiring me to cheer and come alongside others. It hurts sometimes as I’m stretched and bruised but it is a privilege. Forgive my unbecoming greed for gain and help me to be committed to holding the ladder so that others can climb.

Follow the way of love. I didn’t tattoo it on my foot, but He wants to write it on my heart and help me walk it out.

Jesus stooped down—from His royal throne—to come to earth and be the ladder between us and God.

Jesus made a way for us by serving, sacrificing and surrendering so that we could be restored to a right relationship with Father God, if we choose to believe and make Him Lord.

He offered Himself—holding nothing back—out of Love for us.
Oh, how I fall short of this kind of love.

May we make Jesus famous in our lives as we bend to exalt Him.
May we trust Him with our dreams and let His Spirit lead each step of the way.
May we care more about connecting with Jesus and being known by Him than we are about gaining connections to be known by others.
May we celebrate well when God brings others success—and maybe even learn how to do a back-handspring too.

Katie M. Reid Headshot

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com

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When People Look Like Trees

People Look Like Trees Sight

Today, I am delighted to have Angela Parlin, a regular contributor to Purposeful Faith, posting today. Angela is full of wisdom, grace and truth. Her words have a delicate tone that gently guide my eyes to God every time. I hope you delight in her words today as much as I do.

Post by: Angela Parlin

“God won’t stop until we can see everything clearly.”

~David Lomas, The Truest Thing About You

Just when you start to think you have Jesus figured out, He spits in a man’s eyes to heal him in an unconventional way.

It’s the only gradual healing we find in the gospels. Typically, Jesus touched someone, or they touched Him, and His touch healed them instantly. At other times, He simply said the word, and a person was healed.

In Mark chapter 8, Jesus healed a blind man in a two-stage process. First, Jesus led the man outside of town and spit in his eyes.

I’m not even joking. And the oddness only increases. Because this is Jesus–who holds the power to heal anyone in any way—and it almost seems as if He messes up the miracle, at least the first time around. Read it for yourself:

…When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

He looked up and said,

“I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes.

Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:23-25)

Now we all know Jesus didn’t mess up the miracle. He is able to do anything He wants, in any way He chooses. I think He healed the man in this unusual way in order to teach us some things about our spiritual sight.

Just before this healing, Jesus fed thousands of people with a tiny amount of food. He also walked on water, calmed a storm, healed many others, and cast out demons by the handful.

His disciples were near Him, and they watched it all. Yet they still didn’t see.

They still didn’t understand.

Jesus reminded them what He had done, right before their eyes. You can almost see Him shaking His head and asking,

Do you still not understand?” (verse 21)

We can be really slow learners. We can be near the Lord, and still not see Him for who He really is. Things are still blurred.

We see something, a glimpse, and think we understand. Because we comprehend more now than we did before.

But maybe what we see is the equivalent of people who look like trees walking around.

Most of the opening of the eyes of our hearts, occurs progressively, over time.

Most of our spiritual progress can’t be measured by leaps or bounds.

Every conversion is different. Every restoration is unique. But many of us only see dimly when we come to Christ. Then He continues to touch us and restore our sight until it becomes clear.

This miracle illustrates the way He opened my eyes, and continues to open them to new and deeper truths year after year.

As Jesus heals our spiritual sight, we will see Him more and more.

He’s not done yet. He will be faithful to complete this good work He’s begun in each of us.

Does that stir up hope in your heart the way it does for me?

Dear Jesus, Make us see…

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the fullness of day. Proverbs 4:18

Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

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Overcome The Real Enemy of Worry

Overcome the Enemy of Worry

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“Mommy, can you just be with me.”

The look in his eyes, says it all – he is worried and scared about the perceived “real enemy” on TV.

Fear and worry fills his face, but, my son seems to know that having mommy next to him makes all the difference.

He knows that with the presence of a parent, he is safer.
That the TV is not real and that his mommy is.
That nothing can come against when is mommy is there.

I love both his faith in me and his desire to draw near to me in this moment.

But, I wonder am I this way when I come face-to-face with worries?

Do I choose to sit with the enemy and dwell on his tactics
or do I choose to sit with my Father and dwell on his goodness?

Do I choose to let God protect me, guard me and speak truth into my soul
or I do I choose to let the show and all it’s details play on and on and on? 

Do I choose to sit with the fear-consuming, worry-ravaging, all-powerful Father 
or do I choose a screen that replays my worst fears,
my worst case scenarios and my enemy’s worst threats?

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Ps. 16:8)

I keep my eyes on the Lord!  I. WILL. NOT. BE. SHAKEN.

Eyes on God can’t have eyes on problems.
Eyes beholding nature’s beauty can’t be beholding life’s injustices.
Eyes beholding God’s love can’t be beholding the world’s hate.
Eyes beholding God’s truth in a still moment, can’t be running circles in fear.

When we have our eyes set on God’s perfect love, and we receive it in a moment of close embrace, fear is cast out. (1 Jo. 4:18).

The presence of God that sits with us when we fear, gives us a new perspective on what looms near.  His presence confirms to our soul – we are his.

By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Heb. 11:27)

Moses seemed to know God is “Emmanuel” – meaning, “God with us”.  He seemed to know, when God is with us, nothing can come against us.

When we dwell on God’s nearness, worry fades and strength pervades.

Moses knew he could move forward with “God with him”; He could persevere verses cower in fear.

He saw the one who is right there.
Always present.
Always helping.
Always leading.
Always loving.
Always protecting.
Always giving.

Do we see “God with us” in our problems? Do we allow his real and powerful presence to cast aside all our worries?

Because when we pull near, he is there and there is no room left for fear. His love pulls up and fills us up – in a real and powerful way. Then, worry has to leave.

Suddenly, we overcome the face of fear through the power of faith.
We know he is closer than any looming disaster and more powerful than they enemy.
We see him with us as we go through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4).
We remain in God – and he remains with us.  (John 15:4-5)

Worry and worship aren’t friends. When one comes, the other leaves. Stillness and a racing mind don’t hold hands either. One runs away from the other.

When we choose “God with us”, we seemingly find our way of escape, our protector, our strength, our hope, our defense. We can trust he is working all things out for his purposes, which are always good.

Enemies can try to come against, but when God is with us, we send their bags packing, because God wins every time.

Dear friend, I know what it is like to worry. I know the pain, I know the agony and I know the despair, but today, God is calling you to something greater. God is calling you to get real, honest and transparent; he is calling you to bask in his presence.

Will you call him near as the screen of life portrays images that invoke fear?  He offers the ultimate protection.

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The Best Response You Could Ever Have

The best response

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I walk in to see my son’s underwear, pants and toys stuffed into the toilet.  I go off.
I take personally the advice my husband’s offering. I act irritated.
I am late to my son’s school. I get anxious.
I get in the slow checkout lane at the grocery store. I tap my foot with impatience.
I get stuck on a customer service call, it takes forever and I get nothing done. I snap at them.
I talk with a family member who has issues. I immediately respond with advice.
I hear a person talk about their problems and pains. I jump in to rescue.
I listen to a friend talk. I cut them off.

The common denominator? I just can’t wait. In a flash, I respond.

But, what if, I changed my course of action?

What if I decided to have a “reaction of inaction” instead of a “reaction of dissatisfaction”?

Might things change?

Would a simple one second wait change my fate?
Might I evaluate and not retaliate?
Could I see more and not end up being one I abhor?

When we take a second to wait, we actually set our paths straight.
We not only delay our reaction, but we delay our heart from going the wrong way.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)

I don’t have to react based on my understanding, I can grab hold of a “reaction of inaction” so that in every moment, I seek to trust the Lord. I don’t have respond to a stimuli, but only to the will of God.

God offers me freedom from my circumstances.

If I seek him, he will be faithful to guide me.

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Is. 30:18)

Even more, what would happen if I considered that the Lord is ready to be gracious to me in these tense moments?
Would that change my response?
My perspective?

Because He is waiting to be gracious. He is waiting to show mercy. Imagine that – in our tense, overwhelming and frustrating moments, he just waits to see how he can pour out on us.

I don’t want to miss that. Do you?

Our “reaction of dissatisfaction” robs us of joy, but through a “reaction of inaction” we have the opportunity to seize joy.

Inaction for one simple second might entirely change the course of our relationships. We don’t have to be the wild responder; because we can now be the grace-filled responder.

I want to invest and not divest in my relationships. Don’t you?
I want to practice myself in the wait.
I know God will be, as he always has been, faithful to me.
And, he will be to you too.

Let’s trust him as we wait. We can choose the one response that will leave us blessed instead of feeling stressed.

The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. (Lam. 3:25)

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