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REMNANT December 2011 Vol. 1 No. 9

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The Christian magazine for the rest of us.

Life & Death at

Christmas every barren womb has a song

what kind of father is this?


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8Christmas Life & Death at

december 2011 Volume 1 | Number 9

REGULAR FEATURES: Questions of Jesus

4

Portraits of Christ

20

The Last Word 22 What Must I Do to be saved?

23

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JOHN POWELL Publisher | Art Director | Webmaster john@remnantmagazine.com Find this issue and more at www.RemnantMagazine.com Also visit my sister site: www.JesusCaresAboutYou.net Access on your mobile phone: www.JesusCaresAboutYou.param.mobi

JesusCares_4u Dedicated to my sons Brandon and Caleb, to my Mom and mentor in the faith, and to

Jesus Christ

in whose name I cast this bread upon the water. www.remnantmagazine.com

every 13 barren womb has a song what 17 kind of father is this? give your Bible a workout

B1BLE

see page

5

Challenge Day

take 30-day the challenge! Follow this plan to read the entire Bible in 1 month.

Beginnings

BUILDING A NATION

Poetry and Wisdom

Prophets

New Testament

1

Genesis 1-11

1 Samuel 1-8

Psalms 1-8; Proverbs 1

Isaiah 1-8

Matthew 1-7

2

Genesis 12-20

1 Samuel 9-15

Psalms 9-16; Proverbs 2

Isaiah 9-16

Matthew 8-14

3

Genesis 21-28

1 Samuel 16-24

Psalms 17-22; Proverbs 3

Isaiah 17-24

Matthew 15-20

4

Genesis 29-36

k

1 Samuel 25-31

Psalms 23-29; Proverbs 4

Isaiah 25-32

Matthew 21-28

5

Genesis 37-45

2 Samuel 1-10

Psalms 30-34; Proverbs 5

Isaiah 33-39

Mark 1-8

6

Genesis 46-50

2 Samuel 11-18

Psalms 35-37; Proverbs 6

Isaiah 40-48

Mark 9-16

7

Exodus 1-11

2 Samuel 19-24

Psalms 38-41; Proverbs 7

Isaiah 49-57

Luke 1-6

8

Exodus 12-18

1 Kings 1-11

Psalms 42-46; Proverbs 8

Isaiah 58-66

Luke 7-12

9

Exodus 19-24

1 Kings 12-16

Psalms 47-50; Proverbs 9

Jeremiah 1-6

Luke 13-18

10

Exodus 25-31

1 Kings 17-22

Psalms 51-57; Proverbs 10

Jeremiah 7-12

Luke 19-24

11

Exodus 32-40

2 Kings 1-10

Psalms 58-64; Proverbs 11

Jeremiah 13-20

John 1-6

12

Leviticus 1-10

2 Kings 11-17

Jeremiah 21-26

John 7-12

13

Leviticus 11-20

2 Kings 18-25

Jeremiah 27-31

John 13-21

14

Leviticus 21-27

1 Chronicles 1-9

Psalms 73-77; Proverbs 14

Jeremiah 32-38

Acts 1-7

15

Numbers 1-10

1 Chronicles 10-16

Psalms 78-83; Proverbs 15

Jeremiah 39-45

Acts 8-14

16

Numbers 11-17

1 Chronicles 17-22

Psalms 84-89; Proverbs 16

Jeremiah 46-49

Acts 15-21

17

Numbers 18-27

1 Chronicles 23-29

Psalms 90-92; Proverbs 17

Jeremiah 50-52

Acts 22-28

INSPIRE

IGNITE

Psalms 65-68; Proverbs 12 Psalms 69-72; Proverbs 13

EMPOWER

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questions of

jesus

b y john powell

T

Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house? (Luke 2:49)

here is mostly a void in the scriptures concerning the childhood of Jesus. But a little insight is given in Luke’s gospel when we find a distraught Mary and Joseph in a state of panic, looking for their missing son. They both breathe a sigh of relief when they see the One entrusted into their care sitting in the temple in Jerusalem. Luke states, “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.” (Luke 2:46-47). A relieved and somewhat angry Mary, heart pounding in her chest, runs up to Jesus and asks Him, “Why did you do this to us? We have been so anxious looking for you.” I have found - perhaps you have too - that when we question God, His will, His motives, His purpose, He does not respond with an answer, but with a question of His own. “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” I can sense surprise and amazement in Jesus’ response. “Did you not know? After all you have seen and heard, you still did not know I would be in my Father’s house? You searched this city for three days and it never occurred to you I would be in the temple?” Mary and Joseph had searched the caravan, they went to see family and friends, they searched the streets of Jerusalem and inquired of strangers for three days before by chance they came across Him in the temple. You see, Jesus is often absent from places we think He is supposed to be, and is often found in places where we expect Him not. We expect Him in the fire and the thunder and the whirlwind. But the still, small voice goes unnoticed and unheeded. Jesus was no longer Mary’s little boy, for he being 12 years old had stepped over the threshold dividing childhood from adulthood. Jesus was Bar Mitzvah, or

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a “Son of the Law.” Mary’s and Joseph’s bedtime stories to a wide-eyed little boy telling of Samson and Moses, of Jericho and Solomon would be replaced with more formal training from teachers and doctors of the Law. There comes a time when a mother has to let her son go, and let them find their place in the world. For Mary, who nursed Jesus, who bathed Him, who fixed a broken toy, who brushed away a tear and bandaged a skinned knee, that time would come much too early. R

When Heaven is Silent Finding Hope in Our Scars Read online or download a FREE PDF www.jesuscaresaboutyou.net/whenheavenissilent.html

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B 1 BLE Challenge Day

take 30-day the challenge! Follow this plan to read the entire Bible in 1 month.

Beginnings

BUILDING A NATION

Poetry andWisdom

Prophets

New Testament

1

Genesis 1-11

1 Samuel 1-8

Psalms 1-8; Proverbs 1

Isaiah 1-8

Matthew 1-7

2

Genesis 12-20

1 Samuel 9-15

Psalms 9-16; Proverbs 2

Isaiah 9-16

Matthew 8-14

3

Genesis 21-28

1 Samuel 16-24

Psalms 17-22; Proverbs 3

Isaiah 17-24

Matthew 15-20

4

Genesis 29-36

1 Samuel 25-31

Psalms 23-29; Proverbs 4

Isaiah 25-32

Matthew 21-28

5

Genesis 37-45

2 Samuel 1-10

Psalms 30-34; Proverbs 5

Isaiah 33-39

Mark 1-8

6

Genesis 46-50

2 Samuel 11-18

Psalms 35-37; Proverbs 6

Isaiah 40-48

Mark 9-16

7

Exodus 1-11

2 Samuel 19-24

Psalms 38-41; Proverbs 7

Isaiah 49-57

Luke 1-6

8

Exodus 12-18

1 Kings 1-11

Psalms 42-46; Proverbs 8

Isaiah 58-66

Luke 7-12

9

Exodus 19-24

1 Kings 12-16

Psalms 47-50; Proverbs 9

Jeremiah 1-6

Luke 13-18

10

Exodus 25-31

1 Kings 17-22

Psalms 51-57; Proverbs 10

Jeremiah 7-12

Luke 19-24

11

Exodus 32-40

2 Kings 1-10

Psalms 58-64; Proverbs 11

Jeremiah 13-20

John 1-6

12

Leviticus 1-10

2 Kings 11-17

Psalms 65-68; Proverbs 12

Jeremiah 21-26

John 7-12

13

Leviticus 11-20

2 Kings 18-25

Psalms 69-72; Proverbs 13

Jeremiah 27-31

John 13-21

14

Leviticus 21-27

1 Chronicles 1-9

Psalms 73-77; Proverbs 14

Jeremiah 32-38

Acts 1-7

15

Numbers 1-10

1 Chronicles 10-16

Psalms 78-83; Proverbs 15

Jeremiah 39-45

Acts 8-14

16

Numbers 11-17

1 Chronicles 17-22

Psalms 84-89; Proverbs 16

Jeremiah 46-49

Acts 15-21

17

Numbers 18-27

1 Chronicles 23-29

Psalms 90-92; Proverbs 17

Jeremiah 50-52

Acts 22-28

18

Numbers 28-36

2 Chronicles 1-9

Psalms 93-100; Proverbs 18

Lamentations 1-5

Romans 1-8

19

Deuteronomy 1-10

2 Chronicles 10-20

Psalms 101-106; Proverbs 19

Ezekiel 1-11

Romans 9-16

20

Deuteronomy 11-20

2 Chronicles 21-28

Psalms 107-110; Proverbs 20

Ezekiel 12-20

1 Corinthians 1-8

21

Deuteronomy 21-26

2 Chronicles 29-36

Psalms 111-118; Proverbs 21

Ezekiel 21-28

1 Corinthians 9-16

22

Deuteronomy 27-34

Ezra 1-10

Psalm 119:1-88; Proverbs 22

Ezekiel 29-39

2 Corinthians 1-13

23

Joshua 1-12

Nehemiah 1-13

Psalm 119:89-176; Proverbs 23

Ezekiel 40-48

Galatians; Ephesians

24

Joshua 13-21

Esther 1-10

Psalms 120-134; Proverbs 24

Daniel 1-6

Phil; Col; 1,2 Thess

25

Joshua 22-24

Job 1-3

Psalms 135-139; Proverbs 25

Daniel 7-12

1,2 Tim; Titus; Philemon

26

Judges 1-8

Job 4-14

Psalms 140-145; Proverbs 26

Hosea

Hebrews

27

Judges 9-12

Job 15-21

Psalms 146-150; Proverbs 27

Joel; Amos; Obadiah

James; 1,2 Peter

28

Judges 13-16

Job 22-31

Ecclesiastes 1-6; Proverbs 28

Jonah; Micah; Nahum

1,2,3 John; Jude

29

Judges 17-21

Job 32-37

Ecclesiastes 7-12; Proverbs 29

Habak; Zeph; Haggai

Revelation 1-11

30

Ruth 1-4

Job 38-42

Song of Songs 1-8; Proverbs 30-31

Zechariah; Malachi

Revelation 12-22

see reverse Download THE READING PLANside for other options using this flexible plan

other options letyou Read the bible in 2 months or up to 5 months.

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In those days Caesar Augustus

issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria). And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 6 |

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So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. The Gospel of Luke chapter 2

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The reason Jesus came

to earth as a baby, the reason we celebrate the nativity, is so that we can live forever with Him in heaven. That’s why my father could face death with such assurance. He believed what the Bible says: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).

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IGNITE

Life & Death at

Christmas by LUI S PAL AU

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Life & Death at

Christmas

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I

t was one week before Christmas. I was 10 years old. Was I contemplating what gifts may await me under the tree? No. My mind was consumed with worry that I would not get home before my father died. I had just taken my final exams at Quilmes Preparatory School, a private British boarding school I attended near Buenos Aires, Argentina, and was getting ready to go home for the holidays when my grandmother, who lived nearby, called. “Luis,” she said, ignoring any amenities, “your dad is very sick. We really have to pray for him.” She gave me no details, but I had a terrible feeling he was dead or dying. The next morning, December 17, 1944, Grandma came to put me on a train bound for home. “It’s serious,” she said. “Your mom wants you to come and see your dad.” The three-hour trip seemed interminable. I couldn’t stand it. I wished I could have engineered the train myself and sped things up. I loved my dad more than ever. Although we had been apart more than half the time the past three years while I attended school, we had talked at length and made many plans. But now I couldn’t shake this ominous feeling. I was sure my father was already gone. I sat in silence on the train, staring ahead, yet seeing nothing. There was no way I could ignore the dread, the certainty that I would arrive too late to say goodbye to my father. I didn’t even know what was wrong with my dad. I wouldn’t learn until later that he had suffered for just 10 days. Bronchial pneumonia had been diagnosed and nothing could be done. December 1944 was not a good time to need penicillin. It was all locked up in Europe and the Pacific, helping mop up the end of World War II. When the train finally reached Ingeniero-Maschwitz, the town where I lived, I was out of my seat and pressing against the door. I bounded down the steps and ran toward home. Any shred of hope I might have harbored in the back of my mind during the long train ride quickly dispelled when I www.remnantmagazine.com


That is the living hope

of those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. We don’t have to fear death, unsure of what will happen in the after life. We don’t have to stand condemned before God because of our sins. We don’t have to spend eternity separated from God. All because Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again. The blood He shed for us on a Roman cross provides forgiveness for our sins. And His resurrection assures us of a home in heaven forever.

came within earshot of my house and heard the traditional wailing. I ran through the gate and up to the house; I was in the door before my mother even knew I was home. And there was my father: yellow, bloated, still secreting fluid, blood drying, lips cracked. His body had dehydrated. I ran to him, ignoring my sisters and all my other relatives. My father was in bed, as if asleep. He had died just a few hours earlier. I tried to steel myself in the midst of all the crying and sobbing, but I began to shake. I couldn’t believe this! I would never talk with my father again. He looked terrible, but I wanted him to be all right. I hugged him and kissed him, but he was gone. My mother, stunned but not crying, stepped behind me and put her hands on my shoulders. “Lusito, Lusito,” she said softly, pulling me away. “I must talk to you and tell you how it was.” She took me outside, and I tried to stifle my sobs while listening to her account. “When the doctors realized they weren’t able to do anything else for him, we decided to call you so you could hurry home. It was obvious he was dying, and as we gathered around his bed, praying and trying to comfort him, he seemed to fall asleep. He was struggling to breathe, but suddenly he sat up and began to sing.” I looked up at my mother, hardly believing what she was telling me. “Papito began to sing,” she said, “`Bright crowns up there, bright crowns for you and me. Then the palm of victory, the palm of victory.’ He sang it three times, all the while clapping in time as you children did when you sang it in Sunday school. “Then, when Papito could no longer hold up his head, he fell back on the pillow and said, ‘I’m going to be with Jesus, which is far better.’” A short time later, he went to be with the Lord. It was painful for me to mull over my mother’s story of how my father had died, but I couldn’t push it out of my mind. That he was sure of heaven was the only minutely positive element in the whole ordeal. That www,remnantmagazine.com

picture is still so vivid to me that I sometimes almost feel as if I had been there when he was singing. It was such a contrast to the typical Latin American scene, where the dying person cries out in fear of going to hell. That Christmas season death became, to me, the ultimate reality. Everything else can be rationalized and wondered about and discussed, but death is there, staring you in the face. It’s real. It happens. He was there, and now he’s gone, and that’s it. Today, I often use my dad’s story during evangelistic campaigns. What better way to show people the victory Jesus Christ offers even in death. But I almost never get all the way through without choking up. As soon as I start clapping my hands, singing, ‘Bright crowns up there, bright crowns for you and me. Then the palm of victory, the palm of victory,’ my voice fails me. My father was a living and dying example of Christ’s power at work. And I know that power is available to everyone. Death doesn’t have to be feared because you and I can have the assurance of eternal life through of the birth, death, and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. The reason Jesus came to earth as a baby, the reason we celebrate the nativity, is so that we can live forever with Him in heaven. That’s why my father could face death with such assurance. He believed what the Bible says: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). That is the living hope of those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. We don’t have to fear death, unsure of what will happen in the after life. We don’t have to stand condemned before God because of our sins. We don’t have to spend eternity separated from God. All because Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again. The blood He shed for us on a Roman cross provides forgiveness for our sins. And His resurrection assures us of a home in heaven forever. R

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That Night... That night when in Judean skies the mystic star dispensed its light, A blind man moved in his sleep, and dreamed he had his sight. That night shepherds heard the song of host angelic choiring near, A deaf man stood in slumber still, and dreamed that he could hear. That night when in cattle stall slept Child and mother cheek to jowl, A cripple turned his crippled limbs, and dreamed that he was whole. That night when to the mother’s breast the little King was held secure, A harlot slept a happy sleep, and dreamed that she was pure. That night when in the manger lay the Son of God who came to save, A man moved in the sleep of death, and dreamed there was no grave. Author unknown

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TIMES SQUARE

CHURCH

“A GREAT MULTITUDE OF ALL NATIONS AND KINDREDS AND PEOPLES AND LANGUAGES.” REV. 7:9

www.tscnyc.org

VOL II / ISSUE 9 / SEPT 06

THERE IS A SONG IN EVERY BARREN WOMB by Carter Conlon 1 Samuel 2:27–36: And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house? And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they www.remnantmagazine.com

shall die both of them. And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever. And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a piece of bread. This is a message for all who find themselves in a time of discouragement. By the close of this word, however, I believe you will be rejoicing in the Lord. ■ A BARREN RELIGIOUS SYSTEM

Now in times past, the people of God had taken the testimony he determined they should have of him and turned it into a false religion. When that happened, that generation was dealt with by God. God has a pattern of dealing with his people in his Word and it does not change from generation to generation. We read in the book of Samuel that the religious condition of Eli’s day had produced immoral and self-seeking sons. Eli was a type of backslidden priesthood. He was a priest in Israel who had lost his authority and with it the people’s respect because he could not correct his sons. The previous scripture verses tell us that Hophni and Phinehas, Eli’s sons, were flagrantly promiscuous and randomly fornicated with women while in the service of God. Furthermore, they were no longer content to live by faith. Instead of being satisfied with regular meat offerings as provided by

the Lord, they demanded the choicest cuts. This resulted in abhorrence for the Lord’s offering by the people.

It’s easy to criticize those who have gone before us while failing to realize that we might, in part, be following in their very footsteps. Before we completely castigate this priesthood and say how immoral and religiously corrupt it was, let us remember that in the Book of Revelation we, too, are called kings and priests unto the Lord. The question we are then forced to ask ourselves in this hour is: “How am I representing Christ before my generation?” It’s easy to criticize those who have gone before us while failing to realize that we, in part, might be following in their very footsteps. Undoubtedly numerous warnings had come to Eli and his sons that had gone unheeded. Then one day a man of God appeared. This is the way God does it; he finds a vessel on whom he can place an anointing. This anointed man was fearless in bringing stern warnings of impending judgment, saying God would no longer tolerate those who refused to listen to his warnings. Ironically, 1 Samuel 2:25 tells us that the sons of Eli couldn’t hear godly instruction anymore. And the reason they couldn’t hear was because God had determined to slay them. Their reckless misrepresentation of his life and character had robbed those people seeking knowledge of who he was. Their disregard of this

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TIMES SQUARE

CHURCH www.tscnyc.org

THERE IS A SONG IN EVERY BARREN WOMB

sacred trust sparked the flash point of God’s judgment. He was literally going to remove them out of the picture. ■ THE LOSS OF WISDOM

Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father's house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house (1 Samuel 2:31). This judgment of God speaks of the loss of wisdom and of a people who rise and lose respect for those who have gone before them. There would not be an old man in the house, no grandfather, no father of the faith. Young, inexperienced men, perhaps in their late twenties or early thirties, led largely by their ambition and fleshly lusts and desires for success, are leading the house of God. Look around today and you will see the system that is under the justice of God. They cast away the old as if they were no longer of any value to the house of God. I thank the Lord that in this house of Times Square Church, we have and have had men of maturity and experience such as Pastor David Wilkerson, Ben Crandall and the late Pastor Jack West who have all spoken words of life, encouragement, and direction to this body of believers. The scriptures speak of this a second time: And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever (1 Samuel 2:32). God said, “Eli, you are going to see an enemy come in and take away all the wealth that I would have given you: the knowledge of God, the life of God, the treasure of God.” Eli lived to see this when the Philistine army came in. And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain (I Samuel 4:11). The shock of it all caused Eli to fall backward off his seat, break his neck and die (v. 18). It’s not as if the Word wasn’t there with him; it was, but he could not hear it clearly anymore. Perhaps it was because Eli had become comfortable in his priesthood, and then overnight 14 |

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everything he cherished was suddenly taken away, including his own life. This warning of God continues unto all future generations. In verse 33: …shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. Young men full of ambition will rise in this type of ministry just mentioned, and remove the true vision of God from before your eyes. They see you as possible donors for their cause and not as precious members of the body of Christ. But as these young men begin to look like the new rising stars in the church of Jesus Christ, they will suddenly fall. God will not let them go beyond a certain point since they do not truly represent him. Technically speaking, a man should be at his zenith as he grows older. What an incredible judgment of God. ■ GOD WILL RAISE UP A MINISTRY TO REPRESENT HIM

And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever (1 Samuel 2:35). The judgment of God is not complete until a ministry with his heart and mind is raised up again. It’s just as he does with us. When you come to Christ, the Holy Spirit takes the old away, and brings in the new. This is the pattern of God: he begins to remove your old way of thinking and he gives you a new mind; he takes away your old selfish heart and gives you a heart that has his love in it; he removes confusion of mind and then sets a clear pathway before you; he takes the old away, and brings in the new. So judgment is not fully complete until God establishes the new order. This has been God’s pattern all throughout history. ■ A BARRENNESS RESERVED BY GOD FOR A DAY OF HIS CHOOSING

In the midst of the backslidden priesthood, God had reserved a woman with a barren womb for

himself. This was his plan right from the beginning. This woman came with her husband yearly to the temple to offer a sacrifice and the scripture says, … for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb (1 Samuel 1:5). It is important to note that Hannah’s closed womb was not caused by a medical problem. It wasn’t the devil. God shut her womb. He had destined this woman to bring life at a certain point in history. He forewarned Eli of his judgment and had a plan to raise up a faithful priest (1 Samuel 2:35).

The life God would give to her – she vowed to return it to him. And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, so she [her adversary] provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat (1 Samuel 1:7). Despite the railing of her adversary, the lack of “fruit” from her womb had put a cry within Hannah; part of her life had not been satisfied. So she faithfully came to the house of God in Shiloh to seek the Lord. We should be encouraged by this example. She remained undistracted by the party crowd led by Hophni and Phinehas and made fervent, heart-wrenching intercession to God that bewildered backslidden Eli. You must remember it was God who kept this woman barren, from the life that she wanted—until she uttered something that God wanted to hear: …she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head (1 Samuel 1:11). Hannah’s vow to God came at great personal cost; giving up the chiefest cry of her heart, the life God would give to her—she vowed to return it to him. www.remnantmagazine.com


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Hannah knew of the great personal sacrifice she would have to make. ■ GOD WAITS TO HEAR THE SAME CRY FROM YOU

Prophetically speaking, some of you reading this have been kept from receiving what you want until, like Hannah, you say something God wants to hear; something that will touch his heart, something that is of great personal sacrifice. Perhaps you have been touched by God and will be called to give what you have even in places where it is not appreciated. But God says, “I am waiting for this cry.” He knows there is a spiritual void in many of you, and that an increasing desperation has come into your heart. Now he is waiting for the cry to come from you, “Lord, touch me; God, if you raise me up I will bring it all back for you to use.” She had longed for this child, and it was the deepest cry of her heart. Hannah knew of the great personal sacrifice she would have to make. She knew she would have to bring this little boy back and give him into this place that did not appreciate the anointing of God anymore. ■ SARAH’S BARREN WOMB

This is not the only time that God had used a barren womb to accomplish his purposes. After Adam’s fall and the degeneration of subsequent generations, God used Sarah’s barren womb. And it was through this lineage that the Messiah was brought forth into the world. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised (Hebrews 11:11). Through Sarah’s life we learn to wait for the promise of God. If God makes a promise to you, he will fulfill it. On another occasion God found a woman called Elisabeth, who also www.remnantmagazine.com www,remnantmagazine.com

CHURCH

THERE IS A SONG IN EVERY BARREN WOMB

had a barren womb. After a period of 400 years of silence between the Old Testament and the New Testament, God used Elisabeth’s womb, barren and past the age of child-bearing, to bring forth John the Baptist—a voice to announce the coming of God’s Messiah. When Mary arrived at Elisabeth’s home, the babe inside Elisabeth’s womb leaped (Luke 1:41) and Elisabeth began to sing and glorify God. Mary joined the chorus and declared the goodness of God. Even Zacharias eventually burst into song! Oh, it’s amazing when you see it—the song that comes from a once barren womb now made fruitful! The rejoicing that hit Zacharias! This child was to be a voice that would announce the coming of the Most High (Luke 1:67–79)! ■ WAIT FOR THE PROMISE OF GOD

Jesus said, …wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me (Acts 1:4). There is a time and season that God has foreordained that the Holy Spirit should come. You cannot rush the promise of God. You cannot make it happen. It does not come out of the minds of men, nor from the ingenuity of human strength, but rather, it is something that God does through his sovereignty. However, before he does it, he has to have a people that are set apart for himself and who are willing to wait for him to bring about the answer.

In Acts 2:1, the scripture says, …they were all with one accord in one place. They were there for a very specific reason because Jesus had told them to …wait for the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). There were 120 of them in the upper room crying out like Hannah and Sarah for God to fill the emptiness within them and to empower them to stand in their generation. They were in one accord with God and his purposes. Suddenly, the sound of a rushing mighty wind came and God filled them: And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them

(Acts 2:3). And they burst out of their barrenness and fear and stepped through the doors of this upper room into the marketplace where there were still angry people in the midst of the crowd. Yet on that day 3000 souls bent their knee to God. And the deepest desire of God’s heart and of their heart was fulfilled. ■ STEPPING INTO THE MARKETPLACE

Why is there a church such as Times Square Church in our generation? I believe with all my heart that it is because the Lord wants to fill this house and every house where the true gospel of Christ is being preached. He wants to fill men and women who gather together with his Spirit and send them into the marketplace with the power of God, and alive with the mind of God. The new life that has burst within you has not come from human effort. No! You have been touched by the Spirit of God and are stepping out of obscurity. Your life, your voice, your song, your eyes, your hands are a clear declaration that there is a Christ who rose from the dead and who sits at the right hand of Almighty God!

He wants to fill men and woman who gather together with his Spirit and send them into the marketplace with the power of God. The scripture says that …he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God (Luke 1:15–16). Again Jesus declares, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the

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CHURCH

THERE IS A SONG IN EVERY BARREN WOMB

■ SAMUEL - ASKED OF GOD

And she [Hannah] said, ‘Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight.’ So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the Lord’ (1 Samuel 1:18). The name Samuel means “asked of God.” Hannah went to an altar and received a word from God and the scripture says, She was no more sad (1 Samuel 1:18). Can you imagine the entire world around her asking, “Oh, Hannah, are you sure this is a good thing? Are you sure you want to give your child up to Eli who could not even raise his own sons in the fear of God?” But Hannah persisted. This was what she had cried out to God for. This was why she had borne a child. And Samuel, Hannah’s son whom she had yielded to God, walked closely with God. And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19).

Think of what happened to Eli’s house where a false representation of God had found root and had flourished; he died and so did his sons. A false religion will always ultimately produce death. But now look at the song that’s coming out of this vessel, Hannah, who was once barren and bereft of children. Can you imagine the rejoicing in her home as she returns thanks unto the Lord? Look again at her anointed song of praise. And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed (1 Samuel 2:1–3). God took the barren womb of a woman who cried out in desperation to him and at an appointed time, created new life within her. Like Hannah, you too can have a song of praise. God will bring new life in every barren heart of those who call out to him because he wants to have a testimony in the earth. You will be that testimony. Hallelujah!

Carter Conlon April 23, 2006 ©2006 Times Square Church

REV. CARTER CONLON Carter Conlon is senior pastor at Times Square Church, where he has been on the pastoral staff since 1994.

TIMES SQUARE CHURCH Times Square Church was founded in 1987 by Pastor David Wilkerson, author of “The Cross and the Switchblade.” It is an interdenominational church located in the heart of New York City.

Founding Pastor Rev. David Wilkerson

Senior Pastor Rev. Carter Conlon

Tel: 212-541-6300

Fax: 212-541-6415

Church Location: 237 West 51st Street, Between Broadway & Eighth Avenue

Mailing Address: 1657 Broadway, 4th Flr. New York, NY 10019

e-mail: info@timessquarechurch.org

WEEKLY SCHEDULE OF SERVICES

This message is an edited version of a sermon given in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website www.tscnyc.org or calling 1-800-488-0854. You can also write to: Times Square Church, Tape Ministry, 1657 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage. However, you are free to provide a hyperlink from a website to the Times Square Church website by notifying Times Square Church in writing.

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Thursday 7:00PM

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uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). God says, “When you have the cry for God in your heart, when you walk together in one accord, and when you are willing to be set apart for my purposes, then I am going to come to you, and I will fill and empower you to be witnesses for me.” God has a plan and purpose for this generation and desires that none should perish.


EMPOWER

What kind of

FATHER

is this?

b y W ay n e J a c o b s e n

A

nyone hearing Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son for the first time would be shocked at this father’s actions. His arrogant son dishonors him by asking for his inheritance while the father is still alive, and who by all indications is nowhere near death’s door. What kind of son claims his father’s inheritance while he’s still alive? How dare he even ask! As rude as the son’s request might be, we can at least understand it. We all know what it is to want to get our hands on dad’s money, even if most of us are too civil to pursue it. But it’s this father who defies comprehension. What does the father do in response to this outrageous request? He gives it to him. This is even more shocking than the son asking. He divides the inheritance between his two sons and lets him go. How many fathers would do that, especially when they knew the younger son was up to no good? What kind of father is this? The son squanders his inheritance on his own pleasure, instead of investing it for the future. But the father does not go and nag him. He finally loses it all and ends up destitute. But the father does not try to rescue him. Where is the father? He is back on the farm, waiting. He doesn’t chase after his son to tell him that he’s foolish nor does he rush off to buy him dinner when famine hits. He waits. What kind of father is this? Is he indifferent to his son’s plight? Any parent who has ever watched their son or daughter make bad choices, knows that waiting is far more difficult than prodding or nagging. But wait he does, for a marvelous thing to happen-to let the son come to his senses. We soon find out, however, just how expectant that waiting was. Years later when he returns the father spots him while he is still a long ways off. The only way that would have happened was if the father had been constantly looking. He probably never walked by the road without looking down it, hoping against hope that today would be the day his boy would come home. I can see

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him with one eye on his work, the other focused down the road, looking for the familiar gait of his beloved son. One day he spots him, even though he would have been emaciated with hunger and hunched over in humiliation. “That’s him! That’s my boy!” What does he do now? Does he stand on the porch with arms crossed waiting for his son to walk all the way to the house humiliated, then fall down in the dirt and grovel for his next meal? That’s what I might have done. I would even have practiced my I-hope-you-learnedyour-lesson speech. Not this father. Without hesitation the father jumps off the porch and runs down the road. What kind of father is this? Can you imagine what his son must have thought when he finally looked up and saw his father bearing down on him? Could he tell if he was joyful or angry? He must have thought the latter, for he launches into his prepared speech even before his father gets there. “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.” But his words are not even acknowledged by the father, as he reaches his son and swallows up the words with hugs and kisses of delight. Not a hint of anger comes from the father, nor would he talk one moment about his offer to be his servant. He was too overcome with joy; the son he’d always wanted had found his way home. Moments later the father’s servants arrive. They must have seen him running down the road and chased after him, anxious to see what the father would do to his selfish son. What a shock it must have been for them to come upon such a festival of celebration. The father turns to them too. “Get a robe, a ring, and a new pair of sandals. Stoke up the fire and let’s get ready to celebrate.” A party? For the son that squandered the family inheritance on his own selfish pleasures? How could this be? The son deserved punishment not a party! What kind of father is this? R

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it has been said that we can be that we are of no

hea

but, can we also become s that we are o

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ecome so earthly minded

avenly good.

so heavenly minded of no

earthly good?

become worldly minded.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. —mark 16:15

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portraits of christ

the word

b y john powell

His name is the Word of God. (Revelation 19:13) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,14)

D

eath and life are in the power of the tongue, so Solomon penned (Proverbs 18:21). Words have swayed empires, preserved the freedom of peoples, or enslaved them, and have drastically altered the course of history. History bears out the fact that the pen is often mightier than the sword. In the Greek language, in which much of the New Testament is written, there are three words used for word. One means the sound of a voice, and another means the sound revealing a mental state. The third, logos, combines the thought of expression and wisdom, It means a word which embodies a concept or idea. As the Word, Christ was the spoken Word. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son.” ( Hebrews 1:1-2). No longer

would prophets come and go, slowly revealing and unfolding the Divine message. For God would now speak His message completely, once and for all, through His Son. Paul wrote to the Colossians that in Christ “dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9). As the Word, Christ was the visible God. Christ portrayed the mind and heart of God, and everything that God is was embodied in Him. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. “He who has seen me has seen the Father,” Jesus spoke (John 14:9). Five wonderful truths can be gleaned from John’s statement opening his gospel: 1. Christ’s eternity: “In the beginning” 2. Christ’s fellowship in the Godhead: “the Word was with God” 3. Christ’s deity: “the Word was God” 4. Christ’s work in Creation: “All things were made by Him” 5. Christ’s incarnation: “the Word became flesh” Jesus is the “image of the invisible God,” Paul wrote to the Colossians. “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” (Colossians 1:15-19). R

30 Days A devotional on Grace for each day of the month

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bible Promises When you need comfort “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” (Psalm 9:9). “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14). “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalms 147:2).

“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:24).

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” (Psalm 46:1-3).

“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.” (Psalm 37:39).

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.” (Psalm 138:7).

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22). “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” (Psalm 18:2).

Visit the new JesusCaresAboutYou.net On your mobile device: jesuscaresaboutyou.param.mobi

Devotionals • Quick Studies Bible Promises • Heart to Heart Blog Psalms with Commentary and much more!

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last word

k

The

INSPIRE

b y john powell

An ordinary day But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son. (Galatians 4:4 KJV)

That night when in Judean skies the mystic star dispensed its light,

C

A blind man moved in his sleep, and dreamed he had his sight.

rowds pour into Bethlehem, filling every inn and hotel, as the people reluctantly obey Caesar’s census decree, stirring this normally sleepy village into an anthill of activity. But still, amid such chaos, life pretty much carries on as usual in this little town. It is just like any other typical evening. Over there in the synagogue, a couple exchanges vows as they begin a new life together. Over here, a boy passes the age into manhood as his family celebrates. In the marketplace, merchants buy and sell, while shoppers fill the streets eager to spend what the Romans haven’t taxed. Tucked away in a modest house, a woman prepares the evening meal, as her husband and children play together in the living room. And over there, just outside the city on a Judean hillside, a mother groans with the pangs of childbirth. The delivery room is a stable, bathed in the glow from a strange star. The midwife is replaced by an anxious husband. Caring nurses and doctors are replaced with indifferent cattle and sheep. And the warm, sterile crib is replaced with a feeding trough filled with hay. Surrounded by a horseshoe of farm animals and wide-eyed shepherds, God has quietly come. “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son,” the prophet Isaiah penned, “and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” God with us. Think about that statement. Amid the chaos and uncertainty of life, with its failures and heartaches, God speaks to you today so clearly just as He did almost two thousand years ago, “Don’t worry, I’m here. Everything will be alright.” R

That night shepherds heard the song of host angelic choiring near, A deaf man stood in slumber still, and dreamed that he could hear. That night when in cattle stall slept Child and mother cheek to jowl, A cripple turned his crippled limbs, and dreamed that he was whole. That night when to the mother’s breast the little King was held secure, A harlot slept a happy sleep, and dreamed that she was pure. That night when in the manger lay the Son of God who came to save, A man moved in the sleep of death, and dreamed there was no grave. Author unknown

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What must I do

to be saved?

T

his is the most important question in human existence and one whose answer is clearly outlined in scripture. In order to be saved we must first realize our true state of sinfulness before God and know that He alone can save us, cleanse us, and give us eternal life. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the only way and we can not have access to God through any other means. In fact, in John 14:6, Jesus plainly stated, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” God loves you! God loves you so much that he made a way for you, through the shed blood of his son so that you might be able to spend eternity with Him. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting Life” (John. 3:16). Man is a sinner, and sin has separated him from God! You may think you are a good person but being good is not enough! Every man has sinned and there is none that is righteous before God! “For there is not a just man upon Earth, that doeth good and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). “For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin! Jesus Christ is the only remedy for sin. We can not be good enough to get into heaven, nor can our good works get us there. There was no other way for God to erase the effect of sin except by blood. The shedding of Christ’s blood indicated that the penalty for sin had been paid; a perfect sinless life had been sacrificed for the lives of all who have sinned. “. . .Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22) “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God . . .” (I Peter 3:18).

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“Neither is there Salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). You must receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior To be saved, a man must confess that Jesus is Lord, while acknowledging in his heart that Christ must have full rule over his life. This confession of Christ as Lord assumes that it is Christ who will work and fulfill His own righteousness within man, as man is unable to attain righteousness of his own accord. Jesus calls this experience the “new birth.” He told Nicodemus: “. . . Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). We invite you now to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name” (John 1:12). Pray this prayer and mean it with all your heart Dear Lord Jesus, I realize that I am a sinner and have broken your laws. I understand that my sin has separated me from you. I am sorry and I ask you to forgive me. I accept the fact that your son Jesus Christ died for me, was resurrected, and is alive today and hears my prayers. I now open my heart’s door and invite Jesus in to become my Lord and my Saviour. I give Him control and ask that He would rule and reign in my heart so that His perfect will would be accomplished in my life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Congratulations! If you prayed this prayer in all sincerity, you are now a Child of God. However there are a few things that you need to do to follow up on your commitment. 1. Get baptized ( full immersion) in water as commanded by Christ 2. Tell someone else about your new faith in Christ (including us!) 3. Spend time with God each day through prayer and Bible reading 4. Seek fellowship with other followers of Jesus.

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Pray for

America

“We are becoming the type of nation we used to send missionaries to.” —william

b e n n e t t , f o r m e r s e c r e ta ry o f e d u c at i o n


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