Sunday, 26 March 2017

Influencing others - The impact of a faithful Pastor

Jesus’s life and example influenced and continues to influence others it is worth remembering that the things that we do, and the things that we say, also influence others.

Source: Faith and Health Connection
I was 6 years old and it was 1949, just a few years after the end of the Second World War. It started as a very ordinary day. I’d been down town to Tamworth with my mum doing a collection for the Salvation Army self-denial week however, things were about to change. On the way home when we got to the bottom of the hill where we lived I found that I couldn’t walk any further. When my mum realised that I wasn’t just playing up she gave me a piggyback all the rest of the way home. Later when were home, I used the potty and noticed that I was passing blood, much to my parents’ dismay. They called for the doctor and he thought I had got meningitis so he called for an ambulance. At the time we lived in a row of cottages with a shared courtyard and the ambulance pulled up right into the yard. I remember crying as the ambulance men came in to take me to the hospital and I remember my friends coming into the yard to wave me off which would be the last I saw of them for 10 months. Initially I was taken into Tamworth General Hospital and I was there for 2 months, after which a specialist from West Bromwich (the big hospital) came to see me and decided to move me to his hospital; were I was treated for the next 8 months.

I guess many of you would have seen pictures of the old-fashioned cots with the old metal bars; well I was in one of those for a while. At the time everything was scarce but I knew that God was with me, He was always with me. I was very blessed to have praying parents, family and church and I believe today that it was their prayers that bought me through. I was found to have Nephritis (a disease of the kidneys) and I was in the big hospital for a while when they took me on a trolley to see the doctor. I’ll never forget it, as this was the first black man I had ever seen and he was the doctor that examined me for my tonsils. He had a big light on his head and he said ‘right we’ve got to get these out’. I think it was the same day that they took my tonsils out because they discovered that it was the poisoned tonsils that were affecting my kidneys. They realized that they hadn’t asked permission from my mum and dad so they sent a policeman to my home. You can imagine my mum and dads thoughts as they saw the policeman at the door - they thought the worst; but he’d only come to tell them that I’d had my tonsils out without their permission. It must have been quite scary however phones in homes were rare in those days and it was often the police that delivered important messages.

The MacGreggor Cottages where I lived in at the time.
Source 
http://www.tamworthherald.co.uk
1949 saw the beginning of the NHS (The National Health Service in England) and in those days’ children weren’t allowed to have any visitors. Remember, I was only 6 years old and while I was still in Tamworth my mum and dad were able to wave to me through the window relatively easily but when I moved to West Bromwich my mum would have to make the 28-mile journey by bus. She would come every week to the hospital and come up as far as the ward doors and even though they wouldn’t let her in she still did this every week without fail. She was allowed to bring me sweets and fruit etc. which she always did however this had to be shared out among the whole ward. Food at the time was still scarce and that type of food was even scarcer although I did manage get some of it. This went on until I’d been in hospital, probably 9 months, but by this time my mum who was feisty had well and truly had enough. This particular day she said to my dad ‘I’m going to go and see our Elaine and I’m not coming home today until I’ve seen her’. So she came over to the hospital on the bus and went straight to see the matron and told her that she wanted to see her daughter who she hadn’t seen for 9 months and that she wasn’t leaving until she saw me. The matron was very understanding and bought my mum to see me on the ward. I’ll never forget the feeling of seeing my mum walk down that ward. There was a little boy in the bed opposite and I remember saying ‘shut up - my mums here’ (in an excited tone), I hadn’t forgotten her and it was a wonderful reunion.

Although my parents and friends were not allowed to visit, there was one person they couldn’t stop and that was my pastor, he was lovely, I loved him dearly. Every week he made the journey on his motorcycle to visit me. His name was Ernie Harford but I called him Uncle Ernie. He’d come and keep me in touch with home: he’d tell me stories about Jesus; update me on my dog Chappie (who was and old English Sheep dog), tell me what was going on in the church; tell me what my family was doing etc; and so through him I was in touch with home - what a ministry. A little child of six wasn’t unimportant to him and I really thank God for him. He was one of the good folk in my life! He wasn’t just a Christian, I could see God in his life and in the life of his wife, what a lovely couple. I believe they are now amongst the cloud of witnesses that are now cheering me on saying ‘come on Elaine keep running the race’. Hebrews 12:1 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith’ (Amplified Version).

After 10 months I came out of hospital looking like a pincushion. I’d had that many injections and it wasn’t the sort of injections that you get today; it was the big long needles with glass syringes because that’s the way that penicillin was given. Penicillin was relatively new when I was in hospital and very, very painful when the injections were given. I used to cry when I saw the nurse coming up the ward to give me the injection because I knew I was going to be in pain for a long time afterwards.

As I’ve said before my pastor (Uncle Ernie) had time for me; just like Jesus had time for the children as we see in Luke 18:15–17 ‘Now they were also bringing their babies to Him, so that He would touch and bless them, and when the disciples noticed it, they began reprimanding them. But Jesus called them to Himself, saying [to the apostles], 'Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God [with faith and humility] like a child will not enter it at all’. (Amplified Version).

I wonder what it would have been like in bible times to have sat on Jesus’ knee? He would have had the little children on His knee as they surrounded Him: He loved the children and He told them stories - as well the adults. Children were there every time the people met together! Imagine what sort of impression that would have made on the children. What a role model! I was also thinking of the little boy who gave his loaves and fish in John 6:9; he must have been watching Jesus, he knew who Jesus was, he’d probably seen some of the miracles Jesus performed and yet this man who he admired was asking for his lunch. What a surprise that must have been! How blessed he must have been when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish and fed the five thousand (John 6:1-14). After witnessing that miracle I would think that that little boy would have grown up to follow Jesus! Jesus’s life and example influenced and continues to influence others and it is worth remembering that the things that we do, and the things that we say, also influence others. I believe that we should ‘suffer the little children to come unto us’ (Luke 18:16 - KJV) our children are very, very, very, very special. They are part of the church today and they are the preachers, pastors and workers of tomorrow. We should nurture them, encourage them take time to speak to them and hopefully they may look back when they are grown up and just like I did with my pastor; count us as some of ‘the good folks in their lives’.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ‘Therefore encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, just as you are doing’. Amen.


Author: Elaine Roach

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Sunday, 19 March 2017

Choices we make

In this world there are lots of temptations but praise God, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and we are told that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Source: all our lemmony thing
Every day when I wake up I am overwhelmed with God’s everlasting love for me (Jeremiah 31:3), God tells me that I am His child (John 1:12), He says that I am the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8), He also tells me that He has numbered every hair on my head (Luke12:7 & Matthew 13:30) and that He has my name is written in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:17). If all that is not enough God also tells me that He gave up everything He loved to gain my love (Romans 8:32). Just before Jesus Christ went back to His Father He promised us another incredible gift; the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the member of the Triune God that would come and convict us of our sin and give us the strength to overcome (John 16:7) Amen. God’s Amazing Grace and mercy is an undeserved gift. We know as born again Christians that when we repent of our sins and turn the other way we are forgiven and washed clean in the precious blood of Jesus Christ. However I always try to keep in mind that even though I am forgiven, the choices I make will have consequences. Not only do I break God's heart when I sin but I can potentially break the hearts of the innocent people who I love and who love me. 

Many years ago I knew a man who raped a thirteen year old young lady and as a result many people were seriously hurt. The victim was obviously hurt along with all of her family, the man’s wife, son, daughter, his mother, brothers, nieces, nephews and so on. When the court sentenced the man the attack was published in the newspapers and his brother who was only ten years old at the time was beaten with in an inch of his life when walking home from school. Another innocent victim was the perpetrator’s mother who had her house set on fire. The young victim needed years of psychological help to try and overcome the rape. The list of the innocent who were hurt is endless as is the list of those who are still hurting, 35 years later. I appreciate that the example I have chosen is extreme but the fact remains that sin in our lives can often hurt innocent people. This is why I live my life with the bible as my book of instructions and I stay in communication with God for every choice I make. 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness’, Amen.

Source: Redeeming God
There are many examples in the bible of incredible characters who’s lives were a real blessing to others (some are mentioned in Hebrews 11) but for the nature of this article we will be considering just a few of the characters who’s choices led to innocent people suffering because of selfishness. There is King David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). King David paid a high price for his sin with Basheba and for murdering her husband. We know that King David repented and prayed to God for forgiveness in Psalm 51:4; ‘Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight’. King David was forgiven by God however there was still devastating consequences because of the choices he made.

King David’s son Soloman became King after his father and was blessed with incredible wisdom by God (1 Kings 4:30). In the book of Proverbs Soloman constantly talks about the immoral woman and warns to stay away from her; yet he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 3:11). We know that many of the marriages were for political gain but the wives still led Soloman to worship their gods and as we know the consequence of this was that after Solomon’s death the Kingdom of Isreal was divided.

Elisha’s servant (Gehazi) in 2 Kings 5:27 is another example. Gehazi’s greed meant that not only himself but his descendants would have leprosy. We can even go back as far as Adam and Eve and the consequences to the whole human race, because of their choice to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6). Jonah is another example of how disobedient sin put the lives of others at risk, on the boat to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3). The list can go on and on.

Dear brothers and sisters we are in a spiritual war and we need to keep the full armour of God on to help us make Godly choices that bless the lives of others (Ephesian 6:10-18). The pastor of our church continually reminds us to never take the armour off. If we let our guard down the enemy is waiting to attack, he roams around like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). In this world there are lots of temptations but praise God, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and we are told that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). In our weakness God will be our strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). Amen. We are the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13) and I refuse by God’s grace to shrink back  (Hebrews 10:39). I am in a war and I intend to fight.

Father God your Word tells me that your beloved Son is coming back for his spotless bride like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2) and I pray that your Bride will be ready for the Bridegroom’s return. Help me to always have the oil in my lamp (Matthew 25:1-13) with the full armour of God to protect me (Ephesians 6:10-17). Holy Spirit help me to never be tempted by anything the enemy throws at me and to smash any selfishness every single day of my life. When Jesus Christ was tempted in the wilderness He used the Word of God against the enemy (Matthew 4:1-11), let me have the Word of God ready on my lips always. Help me to never forget that Jesus has already defeated satan, He has won the victory and sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for me (Romans 8:34). Amen.

If I am persecuted then please let it be for living a holy, righteous life and for your beloved Son’s name (Matthew 5:16). Help me Father God to rejoice when I suffer for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ just like the disciples did in Acts 5:41. Please God let my life be a good example to others, a light in this darkened world I pray Amen. Isaiah 6:8 ‘Here I am Lord’.


Author: Christina O’Neill  

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches

‘if we are not willing to live the Bible and to take notice and to follow what it says, then as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 13:1 when talking about love, we are 'only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.'

Source: Devos and Dumplings 
I recently delivered a series of talks from the book of Revelation on the letters to the seven Churches found in Chapters 2&3. As I studied and preached on them a number of things struck me, however I would like to focus on just four things in this article.

Firstly, you will notice that every letter starts with; 'These are the words of' and then goes on to give a Name or description of Jesus. This leaves the reader with no doubt as to who it is that is sending the letters to the Churches. Secondly, these letters were not sent to the secular society, but to the Churches for those who have confessed to be followers of Christ, 'Christians,' who should have been living in accordance with the scriptures. Thirdly, at the end of every letter we are told to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches; ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’. This indicates that God is telling us in the Church today, to listen and understand what is written in these letters. For God to make this statement at the end of each letter must mean it is important that we take notice.

Source:The overlooked Truth
You see, we could read the Bible from cover to cover and know it inside out, we may be able to quote any scripture from any part of the Bible, and this may lead people to think how incredibly clever or holy we are. However, even if we could do all this and more, if we are not willing to live the Bible and to take notice and to follow what it says, then as Paul puts it in 1 Corinthians 13:1 when talking about love, we are 'only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.' Being able to know and quote the bible without living it, is in my opinion simply a statement of religiosity and void of any power or authority. God knows and searches our hearts and minds. Revelation 2:23 'Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.'

Fourthly, and the thing that struck me the most, is the incredible promises for those who do 'listen' and 'understand' what the Spirit is saying to the churches and are 'victorious'. So, let’s look at those promises, they are as follows:

Revelation 2:7 (Ephesus) ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God'.

Revelation 2:10-11 (Smyrna) ‘Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Revelation 2:17 (Pergamum) ‘Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it’.

Revelation 2:26-28 (Thyatira) ‘To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron sceptre and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

Revelation 3:4-6 (Sardis) ‘Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

Revelation 3:12-13 (Philadelphia)The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

Revelation 3:20-22 (Laodicea) ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

I hope you have noticed an incredibly important statement that is repeated in every single promise. That these are for 'The one who is VICTORIOUS’. Seriously, why would anyone not want these promises? Why would we not want to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches, and to do it? If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour then these promises ARE yours, they ARE mine and all we have to do is obey the will of God, who loved us and gave Himself up for us. We need to run the race to the end and be found 'victorious’. As Paul puts it in his letter in 1 Corinthians 9:24 'Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize’. After all, if Jesus said to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane ‘Yet not as I will, but as You will’ (Matthew 26:39) and ‘May Your will be done’ (Matthew 26:42) and then went to the cross for us, how much more should we say 'Father in Heaven not my will, but Yours be done’, and then obey His Word.

Revelation 1:2-3 says 'is the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near’. The time is near, and we need to stop messing about and walk as 'Bond Servants of Christ’ who are in complete surrender to Him and His will. I actually cannot think of a better way to live, or another way to be 'Victorious’.

My prayer is that each of us has ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, and that we take it to heart and respond to it. Don't let anyone stop you from obeying the truth. Galatians 5:7 'You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?' Let's ensure that we all finish the race.

Let me now finish with by repeating the final promise in the letters: Revelation 3:20-22 (Laodicea) ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is VICTORIOUS, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was VICTORIOUS and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches’.

May we all sit with Him on His throne. God bless.


Author: Kevin Hunt

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Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Joy of Salvation

Have you not worked out that the joy of salvation is everlasting eternity? In whom will you compare your relationship with Jesus Christ, who is He, what is He to you?

Source: Christian Faithbook
A Divine Heavenly warning is given to us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5; ‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people’. Does this sound familiar? Does this describe the very World we are living in today? If the answer is yes, then surely we should be examining ourselves and asking some very serious questions. Try asking yourself; ‘where is Christ in your life and where is God within your heart? How do you see God and how does God see you? what excites you and what excites God concerning you? How do you regard love, intimacy, tenderness, mercy, care, security, success and affection? What is your knowledge of the Creator within His personal name Jehovah, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit’?

Your honest answers to the questions above will determine where you are in your walk with God. The Word of God teaches us to live unselfishly and to do to others as you would have them do to you (Matthew 7:12). We are also asked to forgive one another using the eternal gifts of Mercy, Love and Grace and Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:12 ‘forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us’. Jesus also teaches us in Matthew 5:44 to ‘love your enemies’. The Word of God says that we are the light of the World, our good deeds will praise our Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:14-16). Does our life point the way to the Messiah who sits at the right hand of his glorious Father the Majesty of love and Grace?

Source: myheartfortheking
Who then is the Jesus Christ in your heart? Who do you say that He is?’ (Matthew 16:15-17). Do you love Jesus Christ for who He is or for what He does?’ In Job 42:2, Job came to acknowledge God for who He is; ‘I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted’. Have you worked out that the joy of salvation is everlasting eternity?

A biblical prophecy – God Almighty promised to those who believe in Him without a shadow of doubt, and for those who faithfully love Him with loyalty; Proverbs 8:17 ‘I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me, that He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh in these last days; (Acts 2:17-21). Prayer – Heavenly Father, bless us to know you, within our loving amazing most wonderful, most Gracious Bridegroom who we love and who died for us. Through the eternal Spirit of your heart, give us within these readings and teachings your divine heavenly wisdom, knowledge and understanding; Isaiah 11:2 ‘The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD’. Holy Spirit in thy grace we ask that you will empower the lost, the weary, the needy, the orphans, the widows, the sick, the bereaved, those with special needs, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the poor, the hungry, the prisoners, the children, the elderly, the deaf, the blind, the politicians and the rich and famous by giving them the living water to drink so that they may never be thirsty again (John 4:10-15). Amen.

John 3:16-17 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him’. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal, Lord and Saviour, then time is short because we are in the ‘last days’ as mentioned in 2 Timothy at the beginning of this article. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and tell Him that you no longer want to deny your salvation and for Him to show you how to stop sinning and to follow him and His ways for the rest of your life.

Ecclesiasties 3:11 ‘…He has also set eternity in the human heart…’. Amen.


Author: Errol Gibbs

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

There is Power in the Name of Jesus

If we could fully comprehend the amazing power we have in Jesus it would transform our minds, our thinking, our relationships. He is the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end.

Source: Sharefaith
I am sure at some point in life I am not the only person to have witnessed non-Christians and sometimes even people who are actively against any faith, turn to prayer/God in times of great difficulty, whether it be praying themselves or asking someone to pray for them. These people may be in a state of total desperation but non-the less, I have witnessed non-believing people turn to God. Yet often, even as believers we can be quick to forget the power we possess, the miracles that can happen and the chains that can be broken in the name of Jesus. As the word tells us in John 14:14 ‘if you ask anything in my name, I will do it’.

I was speaking with my Pastor recently and whilst at a prayer meeting earlier in the week he explained that had been told about a lady who before giving her life to the Lord was a witch and practiced witchcraft. She told the Pastor that she could walk into a room and know straight away who was a Christian. She went onto say that she never felt intimidated or threatened because everywhere she went Christians that she met never actually understood the power they had in Jesus. Wow; even the demonic know the power we possess as children of God yet so often we doubt or don’t claim it! Believers (followers of Jesus of the cross) MUST know and operate in authority. Jesus gave his disciples power and authority over all devils. Matthew 10:1 ‘Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness'.

Source: Egos & Buffaloes
If we could fully comprehend the amazing power we have in Jesus it would transform our minds, our thinking, our relationships. He is the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end; Romans 8:31 ‘If God is for us, who can be against us’. So often as humans, with all our frailties and weaknesses, we fall short and in life we try to handle things our own way because we want to fix things a certain way. Despite this we should never forget that we are living with a God who is the Lion of Judah, fighting our battles, we should constantly remind ourselves that God is in control, we have power in Him, we need to trust and know that no matter how tough life gets, rest assured that God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us; Jeremiah 29:11 ‘For 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’.

In a worldly sense, we appear to be powerless but how amazing that, more importantly, in the spiritual sense we are so powerful and that in His Name we can overcome anything; Romans 8:37 ‘we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’. The worship song I have chosen for this blog is so powerful. Try worshiping and praying the words ‘there is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain’, and allow the power of Jesus into your situations and watch the chains fall.

Remember dear brothers or sisters, God loves you with an unending, unfailing, agape love. He formed you in your mother’s womb and you are the apple of His eye. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He is the Lion of Judah who is with you fighting your battles. Trust in him wholly and stand firm, claim and trust the power you possess in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Author: Joleana O’Neill

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