Friday, October 25, 2019

Seeking the Good of Others

"For Mordecai the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen." (Esther 10:3 NKJV)

Mordecai became second in command to King Xerxes (Ahasuerus in Hebrew) and was highly respected, honored, and esteemed by his many fellow Jews. There's a great reason. Mordecai worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews. He really cared about them. He was a blessing to his people. Mordecai was placed above his people in position (the prime minister of Persia) but he did not become arrogant and conceited as to not associate with those who are below him. He was not ashamed of his people; he was still known as Mordecai the Jew. He did not work for the good of himself, power, or wealth. He used his position of authority, privilege, and influence to improve the welfare of the Jews and to speak up for those who are not in the position to speak for themselves. "Speaking peace to all his countrymen" refers to promoting their peace and safety. He did not neglect them. Rather, he made sure they lived in peace as long as he had the power to take care of them. He was kind, thoughtful, and loyal towards them. We need caring, honorable leaders like Mordecai, who will truly work for the people.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." (Proverbs 31:8-9) No matter what position you are in, do all you can to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Be the voice for the voiceless. Defend the defenseless. Be advocates for the unborn, the orphans, the widows, the homeless, the human-trafficking victims, the poor and needy, etc. May we boldly stand up and speak up for what's right in God's eyes! We are to use our time, talents, treasures, and energy to serve God's purposes and make the world a better place. As we finish our Esther study today, I want to end with what Mordecai said to Esther in chapter 4 verse 14, "Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Let's take a look at the blessings, the gifts, the abilities, the skills, the passions, and the sphere of influence we have been given and then resolve to use them for God's purposes and for His glory!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

I Will Tell

"My tongue will tell of your righteous acts all day long, for those who wanted to harm me have been put to shame and confusion." (Psalm 71:24 NIV)

The Psalmist (most likely David) praised God either because God already delivered him or he was certain that God would bring all to pass. He knew that those who wanted to harm him would be put to shame & confusion...they would be defeated. He's very confident in God's saving help. 
We can learn much from David. He prayed a lot and he praised God a lot. He prayed and praised with fierce faith in God and devoted dependence on God. I want to pray and praise like that. 

May we declare God's righteous deeds (which include His justice, truth, mercy, power, goodness, faithfulness, etc.) all day long...every chance we get! May we faithfully tell of our Redeemer's righteousness, deliverance, and victory!
Our lives are a testimony of what God has done for us, in us, and through us. Remembering God's blessings helps us see His faithfulness & inexhaustible grace, trust Him with confidence, and tell others about Him and all He has done for us. Leave a testimony for succeeding generations. How often do you talk with your children about God and the Bible? "Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 11:19) I will continue to tell/testify of Who God is and what He has done. I want my life to be a continuous praise song and a bright thank-You card that the world hears and sees. I hope and pray that my attitudes, words, and actions will always draw people to my Lord and Savior. I will never stop proclaiming Christ and what He did on the cross. "I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." (Acts 20:24) Let's live to tell what Jesus died to do!

"My mouth is filled with Your praise, declaring Your splendor all day long...My mouth will tell of Your righteous deeds, of Your saving acts all day long--though I know not how to relate them all. I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim Your righteous deeds, Yours alone!" (Psalm 71:8,15-16)
"My tongue will proclaim Your righteousness, Your praises all day long." (Psalm 35:28)
"As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my Refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds." (Psalm 73:28)
"May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees. May my tongue sing of Your Word, for all Your commands are righteous." (Psalm 119:171-172)
"Celebrate annually the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar ... Observe the days as days of feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor." (Esther 9: 20–22) (Since I'm studying Esther, this is relevant :).)
Purim is a holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from their enemies. It is to remember God's protection over them from annihilation at the hand of Haman. The Jews celebrate Purim by dressing in costumes (often based on characters from the Book of Esther), enjoying festive meals, playing games, exchanging gift baskets, and giving gifts to the poor. In synagogues around the world, the entire scroll of Esther is publicly read twice during Purim, once at night and once during the day after. (Information gleaned from the Bibles for Israel Ministry) A holiday or a tradition is one of the ways through which we tell of God's righteous acts from one generation to another. "These days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews--nor should the memory of these days die out among their descendants." (Esther 9:28)

How and how often do you tell others about God?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019


"May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace." (Psalm 71:13)

David depended on God to deal with his enemies. God is our Help and our Hope in all circumstances. Some people may accuse us of things that are untrue and some may seek to hurt/harm us. We don't have to worry or fear; we just need to trust God and rest in Him. We belong to the Almighty God! Our accusers/adversaries will be put to shame, destroyed, and covered with scorn and disgrace. We can see from David's prayer here that he's desperate for God's help and protection. He wanted God to cause his enemies' wicked plots to fail. "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:14) With God on our side, we His children are always on the winning team.

When Jesus said in Matthew 5:44-45a, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in Heaven", I don't think He had this prayer of David in mind :). However, David's prayer reminds me that God also listens and understands our desperate, frustrated, confused, helpless, not-so-nice prayers. It also makes me wonder how we should pray for our enemies. I personally don't have any enemies but I do pray for "enemies" who are hurting people around the world such as terrorists, human traffickers, etc. I usually pray that they will turn away from their wicked ways & wrong beliefs, and that they will surrender their lives to Christ. How do you pray for your enemies?

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Blessed Are the Faithful

A faithful person will be richly blessed (spiritually). Being faithful implies patience, perseverance, honesty, integrity, dependability, loyalty, trustworthiness, and promise-keeping. Such a faithful person will please God and be valued by people. Those who are faithful to God and others are happy and blessed; they live at peace with God and people. "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man." (Proverbs 3:3) 
Faithfulness is one of the fruit of the Spirit. Being faithful reflects God's character. He is forever faithful. We must be completely devoted to follow Jesus faithfully. Seek to please God, not men. Be faithful in living and sharing the Gospel. Be faithful in obeying God and His Word. Be faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12b). The faithful will receive all the spiritual blessings in Christ. "For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones." (Psalm 37:28a) "He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones." (Proverbs 2:8) "They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with Him will be His called, chosen, and faithful followers." (Revelation 17:14) The parable of the talents in Matthew clearly shows that the master was pleased with faithful servants. "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21) These are the words we want to hear our Lord say to us. "So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful." (1 Corinthians 4:1-2) Be faithful in all things...big and small...spectacular and mundane. Be faithful to the end, come what may. "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life...This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep His commands and remain faithful to Jesus." (Revelation 2:10b, 14:12) 
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4:10) We are called to be faithful stewards of God's grace by using whatever gift we have received to serve others. Everyone has been given some gifts. Find yours and use them to serve God & others. We should invest our time, talents, and treasures where they will make an eternal difference. We are saved to serve! The believers' gifts are not to be laid up for selves but laid out in service. And there's always a gift of grace. Do you minister to others with the grace God has given you? Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Try this test and see if you agree: :).
Whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. This is a warning for those who are anxious and eager to get rich....who may stop at nothing to gain wealth, including being unfaithful and unjust (such as cheating, cutting corners, stealing, taking unfair advantage of others, plotting evil schemes, doing illegal activities, etc.). They will be punished. "Do not wear yourself out to get rich." (Proverbs 23:4a) It's a waste of time and energy. Beware of gambling addiction. Covetousness will bring corruption, destruction, and miseries. Moreover, those who eager to get rich can easily become victims of scams and/or foolish investments due to lack of prudence and good judgment.

Major Danger Alert: "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9-10) Paul admonished us against striving to be rich lest the love of money and the eagerness to get rich (and richer and richer...) become our idolatry, get us into all sorts of troubles, lead us away from our faith, and stab ourselves with sorrows. "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" ~Jesus (Matthew 16:26a)  I love what Paul said next, "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses...To put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." (1 Timothy 6:11-12, 17b-19)  Instead of trying to get rich, we should be eager to do good (be rich in good deeds), to be kind & generous, and to share with those in need. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

The Boomerang Effect

"Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them." (Proverbs 26:27)

Usually evil destroys itself. When people set a trap/dig a pit for others or roll a boulder down on others, they unknowingly prepare mischief/ruin for themselves. "Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads." (Psalm 7:15-16) Often violent people become victims of violence. The wicked unintentionally get caught in their own trap and get crushed by their own boulder. "Evildoers are snared by their own sin." (Proverbs 29:6a)

What goes around, comes around! You reap what you sow! "Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken." (Proverbs 22:8) "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (Galatians 6:7) When people mistreat us, try to trap us or crush us, conspire against us, we should never seek revenge. We are to love our enemies. God is our Defender and Avenger. By the righteous judgment of God, He often turns their crafty devices on their own lives (ex: Haman was impaled on the pole he had set up for Mordecai). "Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap." (Proverbs 28:10a) "The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden." (Psalm 9:15)

"Let us not plot against others, lest we injure ourselves. When we supplant the reputation of others, let us consider that we injure ourselves, it is against ourselves that we plot. For perchance with men we do him harm, if we have power, but ourselves in the sight of God, by provoking Him against us. Let us not, then, injure ourselves. For as we injure ourselves when we injure our neighbours, so by benefiting them we benefit ourselves." (St. Chrysostom)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Live by Faith, Not by Fear

In Numbers 13:26-14:11, God told Moses to send 12 spies into the Promised Land, one from each tribe, to check what the land was like, whether people there were few or many, whether they were strong or weak, and to bring back samples of fruit. After 40 days, 10 of them came back and gave a bad report out of fear. Only Caleb and Joshua brought back a favorable report and encouraged Israel to enter into the Promised Land for God was with them and would surely give it to them. Caleb and Joshua had faith. Because Israel made a decision out of fear, rather than faith, they had to wander in wilderness for 40 years and missed out on the promises God had for them. Whenever I have to make a decision, I hope and pray that I will make a wise and right decision based on/motivated by faith and not fear. "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) 

Faith comes from taking God's Word and holding onto it in our heart. Fear will keep us from taking hold of God's promises. How do we assess each challenging situation? Through lens of faith or lens of fear? Both faith and fear can have great impact/effect on our perspectives (as seen in the 2 spies vs. 10 spies mentioned above). Faith gives us the courage to move, to rise up, and to press onward. On the contrary, fear cripples and paralyzes us.

May our faith in our Almighty God and in His sovereignty be always greater than our fear!


Saturday, October 19, 2019


Today is National Sweetest Day. Let's spread sweetness around in the world (not just today but everyday )! Do something sweet for someone. Hugs. Kind words. Encouragement. A treat. A card. A gift (for no special occasion). Show of support and/or appreciation. Small acts of kindness do wonders.

Today I shared a s'more chocolate bar with my hubby and youngest son. I also enjoyed a bowl of huckleberry cheesecake ice cream with fresh blueberries and dark chocolate nuggets (with coconut and super seeds) with sprinkled peanuts (pictured above). I put together three baskets of yummy goodies for our three pastors at our church. October is Pastor Appreciation Month. We want to let our pastors know that they are loved and appreciated.

Jesus is the Sweetest Name of all! It is so sweet to trust in Jesus, to follow Jesus, to rest in Jesus, and to live for Jesus! It is indeed sweet to be loved, redeemed, forgiven, freed, treasured, healed, delivered, and heard by Almighty God. It is incredibly sweet to be able to approach God's throne of grace with confidence (in prayer), to feast upon His Word (Psalm 119:103, "How sweet are Your Words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"), to serve the King of kings, to do His kingdom's work alongside brothers and sisters in Christ, to have incorruptible inheritance, and to enjoy eternal life with Christ in Heaven. 

I love the hymn, "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" by Louisa M.R. Stead.
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er,
Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more.

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
Just in simple faith to plunge me,

'Neath the healing, cleansing flood.

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest and joy and peace.

I'm so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Sovereignty of God

"The Lord works out everything to its proper end--even the wicked for a day of disaster." (Proverbs 16:4)

The Lord works out everything for His purpose (according to His plan). All things are made by Him and for Him. "For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." (Romans 11:36) 

Even the destruction of the wicked is according to His will (He is God of Justice). "The wicked are as much in the hands of God to be punished by Him as the good are in His hands to receive undeserved kindness." (James Maclean)  

Everything in God's design has its own purpose and reason. Everything (including the day of trouble/disaster for the wicked) serves His purposes. If the wicked don't repent, they will fall under the wrath of God. Everything demonstrates God's goodness, power, wisdom, justice,...all for His glory. The will and the works of God will prevail. The plans and the purposes of God will prevail. God is sovereign over all. God governs the world. The free choices of people do not surprise God and do not thwart God's plan. I love the story of Joseph. Genesis 50:20 sums it up, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Knowing that God is in total control of my life humbles me and comforts me. Why should I fear? Why should I worry? God's got my back. I just need to trust Him and obey Him.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Lord Loves the Just and the Faithful

"For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed; the offspring of the wicked will perish." (Psalm 37:28)

The Lord loves justice and those who act justly. "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8) God loves what is good, right & just and He only does what is good, right, and just. "For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice; the upright will see His face." (Psalm 11:7) 

The Lord never forsakes His faithful children (sinners turned into saints) no matter what. This demonstrates God's unfailing, unchanging love for us. We (those who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) are preserved forever in Christ from the power and punishment of sin. By the grace and power of God, we are safe and secure eternally. There will be perpetual blessings for the just & the faithful and there will be perpetual misery for the wicked. Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed and their children who follow their wicked ways will be cut off (like withered branches and be cast into everlasting fire). 

I consider Psalm 37 "Envy Buster" :). David was puzzled by the prevalence of wickedness and said in the first verse of Psalm 37, "Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong." We may look at the people who hate and reject God live prosperously/successfully (in the world's eyes) or those who do evil things seem to get away with their crimes and we wonder why. Be assured that nothing escapes the watchful eyes of God. His judgments on the wicked may not be immediately carried out but we know their final destiny. How shall we live in the midst of wicked people? Trust God; do good; don't worry (Psalm 37:7). God always takes care of those who are devoted to Him and faithful to Him.

Many people fail to understand God's nature as both a loving Father (God is Love) and a Lover of justice. God of Love (1 John 4:8) is the same God as God of Justice (Isaiah 30:18). "The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love." (Psalm 33:5) "The Lord is known by His acts of justice." (Psalm 9:16a) 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Do Not Be Anxious about Anything

Paul was writing this letter to the church in Philippi from a prison. He certainly had a reason to be anxious but he discovered a secret that takes anxiety away and replaces with peace and joy. Essentially, Paul was saying...worry about nothing; pray about everything :).

Prayer with gratitude is the antidote to anxiety. Before we make any requests, we should thank God for Who He is and for what He has already done for us. Thank Him for His presence, protection, and provision. Thank Him for His faithfulness, wisdom, and grace. As we come to our Abba Father in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, we grow in our faith and in our relationship with Him. Prayer may not change our situations but it changes us.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) We can always bring everything to the Lord in prayer. Take your problems (every worry/every concern/every burden) to Jesus and leave them there. Let go. Don't pick them back up. Don't carry around weights of anxiety; they will keep you from being useful. Let go and walk in freedom, in faith, and in obedience. Instead of fretting or worrying, we are to pray. Trust in God's loving sovereignty. Trust God's answers (God's will and God's ways) and God's timing. My M.O. is this: I pray. I trust. I rest.

Anxiety is fear of the unknown. If we think long enough, we'll find something to be anxious about because so many things are unknown to us. We must remember that what is unknown to us is completely known to our Heavenly Father. God can be trusted in every anxious situation. He knows what we need even before we ask Him. Don't waste your energy on worries and stress. Don't let anxiety steal your joy. We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future. We know we can trust God's heart and God's Word. We become anxious when our focus is on the circumstances and/or the unknown, instead of the All-knowing, All-loving, All-powerful God. "To care is a virtue, but to foster cares is sin." (Muller)

Prayer: Father, thank You for being in control and for caring about me! Thank You for always loving me and listening to me! Whenever I have any anxious thoughts, please replace them with complete trust and calm confidence in You and with peace that only You can give. I want to let go of all my burdens and rest in You. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

God's Got Our Back

This is a promise God made to Abram (Abraham). God chose Abraham and his family (which later became known as Israel) through which God brings the beautiful blessing of salvation to all mankind. Jesus Christ the Messiah descended from Abraham's line. "And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' When God raised up His Servant (Jesus), He sent Him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways." (Acts 3:25-26)

God includes the Gentiles when He promises Abraham that "all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." This is a spiritual blessing. "There is neither Jew nor Gentile,...for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:28-29) We Christians are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26) and this makes us spiritual descendants of Abraham and co-heirs of the promised blessings. "Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the Gospel in advance to Abraham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.' So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith." (Galatians 3:7-9)

God will bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us. Enemies of God's children had better watch out. We don't have to worry or seek revenge when others treat us unjustly or with contempt. God is a loving, caring, and protective Father. He's got our back! We are very dear to His heart. Our part is to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, that we may be children of our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:44-45a) "His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him (Haman), 'Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him--you will surely come to ruin!" (Esther 6:13b) My Bible's commentary states, "Haman, the Agagite, was an Amalekite against whom stood a long tradition of biblical curses. At the beginning of the conflict between Israel and the Amalekites, the Lord swore that He would be at war with every generation of Amalekites (Ex. 17:16). Because Haman, an Amalekite, was warring against the Jews, as had his ancestors, he could expect nothing but defeat."

The lesson here is: Don't mess with God's people/children :)! 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Be Humble

"Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, 'Come up here,' than for him to humiliate you before his nobles." (Proverbs 25:6-7) These verses admonish us to avoid self-exaltation and presumption. It is better to be humble and be honored by others than to be humiliated. Those who exalt themselves and expect/claim places of honor for themselves will most likely be met with humiliation and disappointment. "When pride comes, then comes disgrace." (Proverbs 11:2a) Haman was a classic example. These verses reminded me of what Jesus says in Luke 14:8-11, "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, "Give this person your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." Motives matter! God looks at the heart. If your reason for taking the lowest place is: desiring/hoping to be moved up by the host to a better place, it is false humility and it's not what Jesus was talking about. Pretending to be humble is wrong; it's still pride which is sin and it's also deceit which is another sin. True humility is honoring others above selves (Romans 12:10) and putting others above selves (Philippians 2:3). In love and humility, we see others as worthy of preferential treatment and we want the best for them. True humility is about self-denial. "Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights." (John R. Wooden) Do not exalt yourselves in the presence of King Jesus, either. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time." (1 Peter 5:6) "Wisdom's instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor." (Proverbs 15:33) "Humility is the only certain defense against humiliation." (Unknown)

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