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Devotional

Valvoja: Annukka

Seashells

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 20.09.2014 09:31

20 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Seashells

"Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else."
1 Thessalonians 5:15, NIV

I was thinking about all the different people we have known over the years. Some people have been an important part of my life for a season, then they move on and that season is over. I imagine my life like a stretch of beach on the seaside. People are like the seashells, which are washed in and out by the waves, ever changing. Some remain for a long time while others are in and out again in a moment.

None of us can control who comes in and out of our lives. Our days are in God`s hands. What we can do is ask God to use us as He wants, to touch each life that He brings our way. We don`t know what impact we may have on another person, but we can trust God to lead us and use us. The impact we make on each other can have a lasting effect, whether positive or negative, so, as our verse today says, let`s strive to do good to everyone. Not that we strive in our own strength, but with God`s help, let`s make a positive impact on everyone who comes into our life, whether for a minute or a lifetime. Each one is valuable to God and deserves the best from us.

My youngest daughter recently told me, "When someone seems to be grumpy about doing their job, I try to make eye contact and give them a big smile." It`s amazing how that act can brighten a person`s day. Rather than getting grumpy ourselves because of that person`s attitude, we can do what`s good for that person.

Are you up for the challenge? Let`s pray that God would help us!

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the variety of people You`ve brought into my life. Thank You for all those who`ve done good to me with their words and actions and had a positive effect on my life. I forgive those who`ve had a negative effect on my life, and I repent about the people I`ve hurt in the past. I ask You, Lord, to help me to do good to everyone You bring into my life. Amen.

Today's Writer : Tanya Person
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 21.09.2014 09:34

21 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
What a Friend We Have in Jesus

"I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn`t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me."
John 15:15, NLT

I recently watched a TV programme about a lady who was described as clinically, morbidly obese and suffering from multiple, severe health issues. Her mother died when she was fourteen, and it was this deep and sudden loss that had turned her to comfort eating. It became a habit, and in turn an addiction, mercilessly tightening its grip over the years, and with it came intense self loathing. My heart, along with many others I’m sure, went out to her.

But it was a story with a good ending. A personal trainer came alongside her for twelve months, and supported her in losing over half her body weight. At the end of the programme she said the best thing he did for her was to become her friend. It was this, she said, that had empowered her to begin to hate herself less, and to lose the weight that was endangering her very life.

We may not all have suffered the early death of a parent, but there are many other painful realities of life that can lead to us turning against ourselves. Experiences of rejection or abandonment, betrayal or abuse, knowing we are deeply emotionally needy inside or intellectually incapacitated, or having a physical sickness or disability are just a few. And the way we cope with the pain of these very real life issues – whether it is comfort eating or another self-destructive habit - often serves to compound any self-hateful feelings that have taken root in our hearts.

No matter how much of a tangled web we might feel we are caught in or how hopeless it might seem, the truth is that we have an incredible opportunity for the story of our lives to have a good ending too. We may not have a personal trainer for a friend! But what a friend we have in Jesus! He too is utterly committed to walking our own unique and personal journey with us, but He is without the limitations of any earthly friend - His commitment to us is not just for twelve months, but forever! `He will never leave you nor forsake you` (Deuteronomy 31:6).

He too wants to help us see ourselves differently – to give us His view of who we are – not people to be hated and despised, but precious and loved children of God (1 John 3:1). And as we receive His truth we also receive His empowering to change from our self-destructive ways of coping with the painful realities of our lives.

But more than this, the Bible says this: `Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one`s life for one’s friends` (John 15:13). Jesus, our Friend, goes deeper. He laid down His life to accomplish something no other friend could ever do for us, and far beyond just giving us a new way of coping with our hurts and pains and the losses we’ve sustained. He ‘took up our pain, and bore our suffering … he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.’

No matter how damaged we are, or how big the losses, or how far we’ve fallen, through the sacrifice He made on the cross for us, the story of our lives can have an amazing ending. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the best friend I could ever have. Thank You for Your great love for me that took You to Calvary. Please help me to turn from the old way I’ve always seen myself, and to receive that new perspective of myself. Please help me to open my heart to truly receive Your love, and Your healing in the place of the wounds and the losses in my life, to receive Your forgiveness for the different ways I’ve tried to cope that haven’t been Your ways, and Your empowerment to walk in a new way. I want my life to have that amazing ending that will truly give glory back to You, Amen.

Today's Writer : Julie Smith
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Jonah: Part 1

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 22.09.2014 09:23

22 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Jonah: Part 1

"…but Jonah, in order to get away from [the Lord], prepared to escape…"
Jonah 1:3, CJB

A little while ago we had a day set aside at Ellel Grange for reading the Word of God. We read four Old Testament books in the morning and three New Testament books in the afternoon. In the morning, as I read Jonah, I began to see it in a completely new way.

The story begins with the Lord giving Jonah a job to do. It was certainly a challenging job but this was a job entrusted to him by God. How did he react? The Bible I was reading that day said that Jonah, ‘in order to get away from Adonai, prepared to escape to Tarshish.’ Wow! What a response. His first reaction was to get away from God, to escape. As I noticed this I realised that that`s what we can do. If something challenging comes our way, something too big and too hard, what do we do? We run - try to get away and escape.

We actually run from God, like Jonah did. We don’t run to Him as we should and as would be the best. We often run away. We run to our own created ‘safe’ places.
How do we do that today? Well, we have a whole host of strategies that we use. We may eat more to block it out, start working harder to avoid it, strive to please in other areas of our lives, put up smoke screens, use a load of excuses, put up brick walls around ourselves...

Jonahs’ escape route was a boat trip. In verse 3 we see that he ‘paid the fare and went aboard.’ This escape route actually cost him money. He had to pay for it.
Don’t we find often that our escape routes cost us – maybe money, maybe time, maybe pain, maybe relationships, maybe a level of freedom, maybe our health – but they cost us. They drag the situation out much longer and usually take us into more pain and difficulty than if we`d confronted the situation or obeyed in the first place.

When we run away, we`re effectively trying to come up with our own solution to the situation. God’s way seems too hard, so we do it our way. It may seem easier initially, but eventually gets harder. Pushing it down, avoiding it, covering it with an addiction or a mask, may seem a good idea for a while, but when these things begin to take over and the issue is still there, we end up worse off.

If you feel that`s you today, choose to run towards God not away. He`s kind and gentle and He loves you. As a loving Father, He wants the best for you and He knows what`s best for you. So let`s choose to go to Him and let Him help us with those difficult challenges. He`s our strong tower, our shelter, our help in times of trouble.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I`m sorry for running away from You instead of running to You. Help me to have the courage to face You, and the problems or challenges in my life, and allow You to be my strong tower and help. Thank You that You love me. Please forgive me and help me to walk towards You. In Jesus` name, Amen.

Today's Writer : Anne Lawrence
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Dirty Windscreen

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 23.09.2014 10:01

23 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Dirty Windscreen

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV

Recently, while I was driving my car to work, I realised that I couldn’t see properly through the windscreen of my car. The sun was low and shining in my eyes, but it was also showing up how dirty the windscreen was. I then turned my wipers on and activated the windscreen washer motor to clean the windscreen. It was then I noticed that it was no different and as I looked and pondered why it was so hard to see I realised that it was not the outside that was dirty but the inside.

It was then I felt God speak to me to saying many people’s lives are the same as this windscreen, they try to clean the outside of their lives but it’s the inside that really needs the cleaning. Often sin issues, hurt and pain from past experiences and unhealthy relationships leaves people with a foggy picture of who they are, as well who God is.

Here at Ellel Ministries many people who come on our Healing Retreats and courses discover that they’ve been trying to clean up their lives by doing things their own way, and in their own strength, only to find out that it’s the inside that needs dealing with.

Once they realise what the causes are, repent of their own sin, forgive those who’ve hurt them, and let go of the hurt inside, they begin to see clearly again. They can then see and receive God, and His love, in a new way.

David, in Psalm 139:23-24, says ‘Search me oh God, and know my heart, try me and know my anxieties: And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting’. If we’re struggling to see clearly, and to know God’s love and truth, perhaps we need to ask Him to show us if there’s anything in our lives that’s stopping us from seeing Him as He truly is.

When we’re willing and open to bring to God the things that are affecting us on the inside of our lives, He’ll heal and restore us, so we can see more clearly. How clean is the windscreen of your life today?

Prayer: Father I come to You today and bring the things on the inside that are stopping me from seeing and knowing You more clearly; my sin, my hurt and my pain. I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me, so I may have a clearer picture of who You really are. Amen.

Today's Writer : Robert Steel
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Where Are We Heading?

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 24.09.2014 19:29

24 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Where Are We Heading?

"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."
John 17:3, NIV

What do we want in life? Are we striving to earn a living just to make ends meet? Do we have a motivation for living over and above the basic essentials? - Perhaps a driving ambition to get somewhere and make something worthwhile of our life? - To satisfy our ego? - To be rich and famous? We may want to be successful at work to provide for our family or to be comfortable in retirement? What motivates us? What’s the driving force in our lives? Where are we heading?

Why are we striving towards this goal? What happens when we get there? Will there be satisfaction, comfort, fulfilment? What then? Do we stay and rest in our achievements, or do we move on to something else?

We seem to be driven mainly by our feelings, a need for self satisfaction, to feel good. If my body is comfortable and my mind is not stressed, am I not content? We strive to be accepted, or even loved. It makes us feel safe. It gives us value and security. It makes life worthwhile, for a time, as long as it lasts.

Love? If we can love someone, and that love perhaps can be returned, we feel secure. There’s something about love that binds people together; an invisible bond of caring and sharing, of trust and understanding. Is this the key? Is life about love?

What about God? Where does He fit in? The Bible tells us we’re loved by God, but does that change our feelings and ambitions? We may be carrying guilt or hurt from the past. We may be harbouring bitterness and anger from injustices. God loves us, but our experience of this love might just seem to be beyond our grasp.

‘He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief… Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…’ (Isaiah 53:3-4). Jesus took our rejection, our pain and suffering to the cross and died with them. He now offers hope, a new life and a new direction. ‘I have come that they may have life... to the full’ (John 10:10).

Where are we going? Jesus said, ‘I am the way’ (John 14:6). Perhaps we don’t understand. - ‘I say walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:16). ‘The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6). The greatest love ever known binds us together with Him. ‘God so loved the world that He gave...’ (John 3:16).

And our destiny? - ‘“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”’ (Jeremiah 29:11). ‘This is the way, walk in it’ (Isaiah 30:21).

Prayer: Father, often I stumble in the dark trying to find a way. I reach out for something that isn’t there, or look in the wrong places for fulfilment. Lord, forgive me. I put my trust in You and ask You to lead me safely along the pathway of life, into eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today's Writer : Ron Scurfield
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

A Joyful Harvest

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 25.09.2014 09:18

25 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
A Joyful Harvest

"So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."
1 Corinthians 15:42, NIV

At the time of writing this devotional, the final parts of the wheat and barley harvests are being brought in from the fields in our area. Upon seeing the farmers out in their combine harvesters I was pondering what a joyful season this must be for them- the reward for their hard labour! All year they have planned precisely, worked tirelessly and sacrificed much to be able to see this harvest time arrive. Money has been invested, time has been sacrificed and hard work has been done throughout the year: ploughing, sowing, fertilising and weed killing. I wonder, would there have been any moments throughout this process that some farmers would have asked themselves: Is this all worth it? Why am I doing this? Will there be a good crop?

It is only the hope of a harvest that adds sense and purpose to the hard work and dedicated sacrifice. However, for the farmer the harvest results are not entirely in his own hands. He does what he can and then has to wait. Depending on uncontrollable factors such as the weather the harvest will be ranging from disastrous to fantastic.

For us, as we follow Jesus, we too are asked by the Lord to sacrifice a lot. In fact, everything! Our lives are no longer our own and we are to take up our cross, deny our self-life, and follow Him. What is the point, the casual observer asks? Why does the Christian not join us in the life of pleasure? Perhaps, in all honesty, we sometimes too ask ourselves: would I not be better off just enjoying my life and living in indulgence?
Though we believe the Lord made life good and we are allowed to enjoy the good gifts of God, for us there also is a bigger picture: eternity. We sow in this life- we harvest later, both in this life as well as the next. One great difference between us and the farmer is that our harvest is absolutely certain. Anything we truly sacrifice for the Kingdom of God will be an investment into eternity which no one can take from us- ever. Eternity’s reward is not affected by inclement weather!

If you find yourself in a season of sowing, or ploughing, or even of waiting, be encouraged! Whatever we do for the Lord, He will not forget it. He wants us to trust Him- there will a joyful harvest waiting for us, safe and secure, an eternal reward from our faithful and gracious Father in heaven. It is certainly worth the short earthly season of ploughing away!

Prayer: Father in heaven, please help me to remain faithful to You all the days of my life. I confess that, at times, I do struggle and feel discouraged. As I bring this to You, will You help me to know the certainty of eternity with You deep in my heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Today's Writer : Peter Brokaar
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Set Free

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 26.09.2014 09:41

26 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Set Free

"Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good."
Psalm 127:1-2, NLT

Recently I had the opportunity to visit a beautiful city in a land that has a long and sad history of oppressive regimes. For many years the rich had oppressed the poor, and the poor had become poorer until they rose up in rebellion and overthrew the rich oppressors. A new regime was set up, which became oppressive and controlling. The new leaders lived in opulence, while the poor were still poor. This regime eventually fell too, and now the city is supposed to be free. On the surface it looked fine, a modern city where people were free to get education and jobs, to come and go as they pleased. However I could see and feel that they were still oppressed, not free to say what they really thought.
It made me think of 1 Peter 1:18-19, where Peter talks about the empty way of life handed down to us by our ancestors: ‘For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God’.

I saw this at work in that place. Despite the human attempts to break free from the oppression, control and poverty, there was no real freedom. I’ve seen this many times in the lives of individuals and families, but I saw it in a new and much bigger and wider way there. Peter says that Jesus was the one sent by God to pay the price for us to be set free from the inheritance that comes from the sin and selfishness of our ancestors. I’m sure that, in the past, some of the people of that city and country must have genuinely wanted to help the poor and oppressed people, but they would have got caught up in their own sin.

I realised too, in a bigger way, the truth of our scripture for today. Unless God does the work, we labour in vain, although this doesn’t mean there isn’t work for us to do. Builders and sentries were needed in the city. Peter confirms this in his letter when he explains that Jesus came to set us free from the life that was our inevitable inheritance, but we need to co-operate with Him to walk free from it. The city I visited hadn’t really been able to break free, despite human attempts. Neither can we break free from our inheritance, unless we receive and accept what Jesus has done for us, and then live in holiness, (that is in a way that honours God): ‘So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy’ (1 Peter 1:14-15).

Prayer: Father, thank You for Jesus, whom You sent to set us free from our inevitable inheritance. We accept that freedom today, and ask that You enable us, by Your Holy Spirit, to live in a way that honours You. We long too, Lord, that more people would know the freedom that You give us. Amen.

Today's Writer : Dotty Cockcroft
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

Finding Freedom

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 27.09.2014 09:37

27 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
Finding Freedom

"The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)."
John 10:10, Amp

I was teaching a course at Ellel Grange the other weekend and shortly before the course began I went into the meeting room and found a bird trapped inside, desperately trying to find its way out.

It seemed such a metaphor for so much of the Christian church. We long to fly in the freedom of the Holy Spirit, but feel trapped and unable to find release. If we were truly able to be living the abundant life that Jesus won for us on the cross, wouldn`t the world be looking at us and saying, “I want what they`ve got?”

There are so many reasons why we find it hard to ‘fly’. Some are trapped by unforgiveness, some by a sense of failure, and some by a faulty understanding of the love of the Father. During the course, many of these issues were dealt with. Many had never heard their fathers say that they loved them. If we have a difficult relationship with our own fathers that can often transfer itself to our relationship with God – after all, God in His wisdom planned that our fathers should model His love to us. Our fathers show us the strong, protective side of God’s nature and our mothers the tender nurturing side. So both together give us, or should, a complete picture of God’s love for us. But has any one of us had perfect parents? They too may have come from difficult backgrounds and struggle to express their feelings.

Forgiving our parents for their lack of love, or just not being able to express that love, is a key to being released from the rejection that implants deep in our spirits. And when we’ve been rejected it’s often followed by self-rejection. So learning, and believing, the truth about the love that Father God has for every single one of us, is a vital step towards our freedom. After all, knowing that we’re loved makes us feel truly special.

Prayer: Father God, I know in my head that You love me, please help that knowledge to drop into my heart, and please show me if I need to forgive my own parents (again), so that I might be set free from rejection and self-rejection. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

P.S. If there are any fathers reading this, I`d encourage you to make a point of telling your children how much you love them!

Today's Writer : Angela Weir
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

God’s Gold Standard

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 28.09.2014 09:29

28 September, 2014
Today's Free Devotional from Ellel Ministries International
God’s Gold Standard

“I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart;
 I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
 I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;
for your promises are backed
 by all the honor of your name.”
Psalm 138:1-2, NLT

In 1844 the United Kingdom adopted the Gold Standard. This meant that the Bank notes issued by the Bank of England were backed by the equivalent in gold bullion. This provided the bearers of these notes with total assurance that their value could be depended on and be redeemed in exchange for gold itself, if required. This lasted until the beginning of the First World War. “What does that mean to me?” you may well ask! Well, I was drawn to the words `for Your promises are backed by all the honour of Your name`. With Almighty God we are permanently and forever on God’s Gold Standard as far as His promises to us are concerned.

This is important for us to realise and to accept. The promises people make to us are dependent on two things; their desire to keep those promises, and their ability to do so. If either one is missing, or in any way falls short, then those promises can fail. The greater our need to depend on those promises, the greater we are dependent on those two things. It is like scaling a mountain. The climber has to trust in the one ahead of them and the rope that attaches them. Should either fail when the moment of need comes, then disaster can occur.

The Bible contains many great and precious promises to us. For us to totally depend on them and to know that they are utterly trustworthy, we must depend on the One who has made them. How can we be sure that God’s promises will hold? How can we be certain that they will not fail us? We can be sure because they are backed by the honour of His name. He is utterly dependable and entirely steadfast. He is totally honourable and has never broken a promise. So, everything He has written in His word is backed by the Gold Standard of the honour of His name.

In the days of the Gold Standard in the UK, if the Bank should fail to honour it for just one person, then the whole banking system would fail. If God were to fail to honour a single promise He has made, then the whole universe itself would collapse because everything is held together by the power of His word – Hebrews 1:3. If His word were to fail then nothing could exist.

So, what promises has he made in His word for you? As you read the Bible ask Holy Spirit to show you the ones He wants to emphasise to you. Be confident that He will keep them. He cannot do otherwise as the very honour of His name depends on it.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for the precious promises of Your word to me. They are completely dependable and reliable because they are backed by the honour of Your Holy name. I choose to place my full trust in You, knowing You will never leave me nor forsake me. Amen.

Today's Writer : Philip Asselin
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

John 3:20-21

ViestiKirjoittaja Annukka » 29.09.2014 18:04

Today's Verse for 09/29/2014

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. — John 3:20-21


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Thought

Truth is seen in what it does and whom it seeks. Let's live as children of light and seek after the Father who dwells in inapproachable and glorious light so we might be the light of the world.

Prayer

Father of every heavenly light, I ask you to correct me gently as I place myself, my imperfections, failures and sins in your presence. Forgive and cleanse me by the blood of Jesus so that I might be spotless and holy and blameless in your sight. O Lord, I don't just want to be forgiven, I want to be useful to you and your church. Please help me find my way to usefulness. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.


The Thoughts and Prayers for Today's Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@heartlight.org.
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Annukka
 
Viestit: 3288
Liittynyt: 24.11.2013 21:34

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