Before the day was, I am He!

“Yea, before the day was I am he . . .” Isaiah 43:13

There is a time and a place for all things, that is what they say.  Some will argue their disbelief in God because they have trouble with not being able to pinpoint His beginning.  This life, this walk of faith demands that we believe God for who He says He is: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8), meaning there was never a time God was not.  He was before all and will continue to be, forever and ever.  The psalmist celebrated this by saying, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2), a truth repeatedly recognized throughout Scripture (Job 36:23; Psalm 93:2; Isaiah 41:4).  

The Bible begins with the very words, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).  God is responsible for all of the Creation events.  He “laid the foundations of the earth” (Psalm 104:5).  When “the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” (Genesis 1:2a), God was already there moving: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b).  Before light (Genesis 1:3-4), and even before there was a day or a night (Genesis 1:5), there was God.  He has always been and will always be.

“To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.  Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things” (Isaiah 40:25-26a).  God is the Creator of all things.  Knowing who laid the foundations.  Knowing He who was before all things, solidifies our faith in the one and only true living God.

There is no one like our God.  He testified of Himself before Moses and said, ““I AM THAT I AM,” (Exodus 3:14), meaning just that.  He has always existed before anything else, and He has always been before even one day was ever noted in history.  He is God all by Himself: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).

God has no equal!  There is nobody that can be measured up to Him!  There is no comparison, no rival, no match, and no substitutes – none that can be even remotely like God!  There is only one God, and from before the foundations of the earth, God has been, and He has been in control.  All we need to do is simply put our trust in Him, believe in Him, wait on Him, and watch Him work: “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (Psalm 27:14).

The eternal nature of God cannot be understood by pinpointing days, only by believing in faith: “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.  They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end” (Psalm 102:25-27).

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Weeping and Washing

“And one of the Pharisees desired him that he could eat with him.  And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:36-38

Regardless of how they looked at her or what they thought of her, she came.

They scowled, they scorned, they didn’t like her – but she still came.

They counted her unworthy, undeserving, and disqualified.  Even then, she came.

Her sin met her Savior.  And though they said she shouldn’t be there, Jesus did not deny her access.  So, she came.

The atmosphere hung heavy with her guilt and shame, but His forgiveness erased all that blame.  She couldn’t help it.  She had to come to Him without delay.

With weeping and washing, her gratitude and love, He did not turn away.  She came with a gift so precious, more than what she poured that day.

A heart surrendered.  A heart that had been freed.  A heart delivered and determined to show how much He meant indeed.

A year’s wages was the cost, nothing compared to the weight of sin she gladly lost.  She lovingly poured upon His feet, weeping and washing with her hair.  Of their opinions, she did not care.

This repentant heart that was humbled and healed.  She would not let the judgment of others, her joy to steal.

She came to Jesus, and poured out her best.  With weeping and washing, she blessed, and was blessed.

Weeping and washing, humbled hearts so true.  If you come, Jesus will welcome you too.

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15:7

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While We Were Yet Sinners . . .

Forgiveness is something none will make it to heaven without.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what one has done in life, from the highest to the lowest, without accepting the life Christ offers through His salvation and forgiveness, we will not make it in.  The Bible records, “If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?  But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).

Who could stand?  Absolutely no one! (See Romans 3:10). Without His covering and remission of sins, the pathway to heaven will be blocked; access denied!  It doesn’t matter if one’s walk of life is a Pharisee or a prostitute, there is no an individual who is worthy enough to enter the gates of glory without Jesus’ forgiveness.

Question: What would happen if today God sat down and took account of all the wrongs we have done?  What would it be like if we stood before Him unable to pay what we owe?  We were there!  Jesus knew the predicament that humanity was in.  He knew that mankind could never get himself out of the debt of sin, so through Him, we obtain that freedom along with grace, mercy, and compassion as people who don’t deserve it.

The Bible reminds us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).  I guarantee if we were to look at ourselves, we could not fathom how many times our accounts would have gone unpaid had it not been for the blood of Christ. But thank God, He acted in love to save us!  Not just us – but everyone who comes to Him in faith regardless of the background of sin.

The price has already been paid.  You are free to turn to Jesus today and accept Him for yourself:

“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.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” John 14:6.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” Ephesians 1:7.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” Colossians 1:14.

“While we were yet sinners,” Jesus fulfilled the requirements the cross demanded on our behalf.  He paid the price we could never pay.  He didn’t wait for us to “get our act together,” for without Him, without the power of His Holy Spirit, we were never able to do this on our own.

So, with the preciousness of His life, He laid it down, so that we can experience what it is like to unload the heavy burden of sin from us and live joyfully in grace knowing how much we are loved by Him.

Adapted from the previous article: Sunday School Lesson – “Saved by Faith” Luke 7:36-50 

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A Song in Us!

I sit and I hear the birds calling out to one another.  One sings his melody, and another responds.  The beauty of this conversation puts a smile on my face as I hear the rhythms of nature in their song.

In the heavens, where our eyes cannot yet see, there is a song more glorious being called out: “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts . . .” (Isaiah 6:3) as the seraphim cry out to one another.  The adoration and praises of God fill the atmosphere of that heavenly realm.  There, all give Him the glory.  All recognize His splendor and majesty.

What are our hearts crying out for today?  Is it more of what the world offers, or do we have something within us to offer Him?

Do we feel a calling out within us, stretching us to give Him praise?  Are we welcoming Him in our lives and days, laying things down that we might raise a shout of “Hosanna” (Mark 11:10) in our hearts?  Are we making room for Him, lauding Him as Lord over everything?

Or, have we allowed silence to be louder?

Redemption has instilled a song in us.  Our salvation has enlightened us to be quicker with a heavenly melody of our own.  Our own words of adoration come alive, wake up, take a stand, and shout of His unrecoiling love.

A love that has spared no expense to save me.  A love that has looked hurt and pain in the face that one day I can hear those songs of heaven for myself and let my heart be joined with them when my feet stand before Him.

Yes, in that future we will praise in a beautiful way we have never experienced before.  Until that day, I open my mouth and my heart today and praise the God of my salvation.  I will let the glory of who He is roll from my lips, and let my heart sing her song with rejoicing.

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Standing on the Edge

Sometimes you may come to a place that seems impossible to pass.  This is a place that edges the border of what we have been delivered from to where we are being brought to.  It is in situations like these, when God shows up, there is no doubt that His hands have been working something extraordinary through it all.  The waters may crash on the shores before and the enemy’s army may be rolling behind, but God sees you, standing there on the fringe, in a world where these two impossibilities meet, yet in Him, there is nothing impossible.  In Him, there is always a way.  In Him, you are not in a helpless position.  In Him, the victory is already won.  Before you ever came to this place, He already knew what He would do.  So rest, weary one, in His sovereignty.  Rest in His plan.  You may not understand it, but He does.  You may not know how it will work out, but He does.  This will be performed by His strength, His wisdom, and His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), not by anything we say or do.  In getting past this place, all glory, honor, praise, and credit go to God.  He is the one who will get you to the other side in peace and wholeness, with singing and rejoicing (Exodus 15:1-21).  To you who are standing on the edge, in Him, you are not standing alone.

 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.” Exodus 14:13-18

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Don’t Wait, Pray Now!

“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.”  Jonah 2:7

There is a glorious truth that is woven through the pages of Scripture.  That truth is that God wants to hear from you now.  Alas, many put off the intimacy of regular time in prayer with the Father until they are in desperate situations and they use Him as a last resort to the problems and conditions they are facing.

God is always present.  God is always listening.  All He needs is that heart surrendered to Him in faith, one who will seek His face, bow the knee before Him, and humbly pray.

Jonah, that famous prophet swallowed whole by a great fish, found himself in desperate need of prayer.  With Jonah, as with many, the situation didn’t have to get this bad.  He didn’t have to end up in this nasty position.  He didn’t have to wait to seek God’s heart on the matter of prophesying to Ninevah.  At any given time before this episode, he could have gone to the Lord in prayer.  Perhaps then, his own heart for the people would have changed.

Yet, we will never know, because the story before us tells us the choice he made.  He chose to run from God and as a result, he found himself in a place nobody would want to be.

It was in this place, where he finally prayed, and said, “I remembered the LORD.”  The very God he tried so desperately to run away from, now in his darkest of times, he is seeking and he remembers.  When he felt overwhelmed by his choices, overwhelmed by the sin those choices led to, and overwhelmed by the experience of his sinking plight, it was as if a spiritual light clicked on deep within him and he remembered the LORD.  He remembered His Word.  He remembered His promises.  He remembered His love for His people.  He remembered His faithfulness.  He remembered His covenant.  He remembered just how great a God he served!  When he ran from God he forgot about all the wonders of God in his selfish pursuit, but now he remembers.

That remembering led to a heart that was ready to seek God in prayer.  He wrote, “My prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.”  When he cried out to God, his very cry reached the presence of God.  God was listening.  Sincere prayer reaches the ears of God.  Although he had many opportunities to pray prior to being in the fish, the sincerity of his heart is now more real than ever as he reaches out to God in prayer.

The truth of the Bible is, God hears, but don’t wait until your situation is so desperate that you are at the point where you have no other choice than to pray.  God is available with a listening ear at all times.

Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Why is that? Because as breath is with the body, with each inhale and exhale, one’s life is sustained, so is the prayer line that fosters that interpersonal relationship between God and man. It is not only life-sustaining, but it is soul-sustaining, keeping that glorious love connection between the two open and flowing.  And, as Jonah felt the time of his last breath drawing nearer, he then sought to reconnect with God once more through prayer, and he believed his prayer was heard.  When we call out to God we too can believe that our prayers are heard, if we also have a sincere heart.

Prayer should never be our last go-to, get-out-of-whatever situation-free card.  Prayer keeps us in holy connection with our holy Father.  Open the lines of prayer in your life today.  Do not wait for a more opportune time, or for an event that makes you fall to your knees.

Make no mistake, the Bible repeatedly tells us that God hears those desperate, urgent cries (Psalm 34:6; 39:7-8; 50:15), and I for one am so thankful He does.  But our heavenly Father wants to hear from you now, in a consistent, daily walk of fellowship through prayer.

Keep God before your face and your heart in prayer.  Foster that love line in your life and it may keep you out of some nasty situations.

“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8

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“We Cannot Bless Your Name Enough!”

Image by Ondřej Šponiar from Pixabay

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1-5)

Bless the LORD, O my soul, for He has done this for you.  O soul, you that find mercy in His saving grace, in Him you are benefited.  In Him, is found love and renewal.  In Him, forgiveness resides and lives are made whole.  In Him, there is healing for mind, body, and soul.  In Him, your life is redeemed from the destruction it would have known without Him.

It is God, our heavenly Father, who has crowned your life so beautifully with these undeserving gifts.  It was His faithfulness toward you that bestowed such lovingkindness in your life.

Tender are His mercies toward you.  Let us never forget where our help comes from (Psalm 121:1-2).  Let us always be reminded where our hope is found (Psalm 147:11), and that it is God alone who can be attributed to pouring “good things” into our lives (Psalm 103:5).

In Him, we are renewed, as with the strength of an eagle with our wings spread, gliding upon the winds of His Spirit, soaring high in this day, and in the days to come.  You, O God, are our constant help through anything we face (Psalm 46:1), and we cannot bless Your name enough.

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Rebuilding Ruins


Image by Robert Alvarado from Pixabay 

“And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.

Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it.” Ezekiel 36:35-36

Archaic and ancient, yet there is beauty within.  Rubbled and ruined, but potential peeks through with the willingness to start again, to be reborn with purpose once more.

I must say, I am drawn to history and design in this manner.  I love to learn about places of old.  I am drawn to those shows and documentaries that feature taking these older places and structures, revitalizing them, restoring their ancient beauty, and making them livable and valuable once more.

If you are inclined to watch such programming, you will see that meticulous care is taken in the restoration process.  And the older a place is, with more original features, the chances are the work that needs to be done cannot be done by just any rebuilder. Instead, those who are trained to deal with period pieces and materials are called in to work with their expertise on the structure to remake it to be as close to the original as possible.

God has always been in the rebuilding business.  From the time of the Fall, and the Flood, and many points in between and beyond, though His people went through adversity, it was done with the intent of a new and fresh start from their sins and mistakes.

In ancient captivity, the children of Israel lived in bondage to the Babylonians due to their own sins and wayward ways.  But God, in this chapter, looked forward to a time of restoration; a time of renewal for His people.  A time and a moving that will bring glory to His name and not the dishonor that had been promoted by His people’s unholy living (36:21).

God was going to gather His people from where they had been dispersed and bring them back home (36:24), and the great rebuilding process would begin.  Beginning with Cyrus (Ezra 1), followed by the help of other kings, God’s people would return home physically and spiritually, and the ruins would be rebuilt and lives would be restored in their relationship with God.

To accomplish this, God was going to give them a new heart and a new spirit (36:26-27).  God was not just satisfied with cities becoming occupied again, but He wanted inner transformation.  He wanted hearts that would make Him feel welcomed once more.  A heart that would be in love with the Father and His ways once more.  Those were the ruins God was most interested in rebuilding.  The outward buildings were nice, but the new inner man who was being transformed, this is the real beauty God wants to see.  To Him, this matters the most.

When David sought to be restored, he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).  He wanted to be restored to the Father because his own sins caused a separation.  He wanted to be rebuilt from the inside out.

Today, our heavenly Father is still rebuilding ruins.  Much like David, when a heart turns to Him in true humility and repentance, they can be restored.  Jesus Christ became the way for this to happen: “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.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17); “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  

When we come to Him and accept Him as Savior (Acts 2:38-39; John 3:5; Romans 6:4), He takes the old us and makes us something new: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we are ruins no more.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) – this is where the rebuilding begins.

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Wanderer, Come Home

Wanderer, come home.  Find what you went looking for in the heart of the Father once again.  As with the prodigal, His arms are opened wide waiting to receive you to Himself.  Your return puts gladness in His heart.  Today is not too late for your feet to rejoin the path of those who walk the road of righteousness.  This path will bring calm to your spirit and peace to your soul once again.  In the refuge of His wings, you will again experience true safety, comfort, and love.

Wanderer, come home and fall into the embrace of the One whose love for you is as fresh today as it was on the day you were born.  He has not waned in His feelings about you.  His greatest desire is to have you where He is for all eternity.  Turn not away from that embrace.  Turn inward to Him.  Let His love wash over you.  Let His healing balm restore you.  Today is not too late.  Turn to the shining Son and walk in His light.  Feel the warmth of His radiant countenance smiling upon you once again.

Wanderer, refuse not His call.  Refuse not Him who loves you so.  While all people matter to God, you matter too. Experience His compassion of salvation offered through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Please, come home and make the great return today.  The Shepherd of your soul awaits (1 Peter 2:25).

“How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 

And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14)

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save  a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20, NKJV)

More Inspirational Reads:

“Return to Me!”

“You Make a Difference to God!”

“Restored!”

“Regrowth!”

“Wash Me Jesus!”

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“What Would Jesus Say?” – part 2

“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

Purpose.  Purpose.  Purpose.  This is how Jesus spoke.

Continuing to cover this verse in Isaiah, we see that Jesus never used words in a flyaway fashion.  With everything He spoke, it was either with a purpose, for a purpose, or to fulfill a purpose – or all three in one.

When we think of “with a purpose”, we can think along the lines of healing, miracles, and deliverances.  Jesus, in those instances, spoke with the intent to deliver an individual from some illness, or spiritual oppression, or to perform a miracle such as the feeding of the five thousand.

When we think in terms of “for a purpose”, we can think along the lines of the parables He taught.  In those instances, He spoke for His audience to gain a greater understanding of something, particularly Kingdom principles.

And, when we think in terms of Jesus speaking to “fulfill a purpose”, we can easily associate this with prophecies such as the one He spoke from the cross: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  Those exact words open the Messianic psalm found in Psalm 22:1.

Jesus used His words with exactness and preciseness.  In this chosen verse in Isaiah, we see His words were carefully chosen “that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.”  The right words at the right time, especially for the weary worn, are a special kind of sweetness to a soul that dreadfully needs it.  Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones,” and nobody could do this better than the Lord Jesus Christ.  He said, “…the word that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” (John 6:63).

Becoming more aware of the intentionality of our words can help us to use our speech in a way that mimics that of our Savior.  Words without aim tend to get us in trouble.  The Bible encourages us that “He that hath knowledge spareth his words. . .” (Proverbs 17:27), while opposite that it warns, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin. . .” (Proverbs 10:19a).

A wise person, Proverbs continues to teach, is one that “that refraineth his lips” (Proverbs 10:19b).  Not only does this one refrain speech from being unnecessary and unprofitable but a person who acts with this sort of discipline can also be seen as one who will train their words.

Previously, I wrote,

“James gives us the best possible illustrations of the power of the tongue by referencing it to two things we can easily understand.  In James 3:3-4 he writes, “Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths,  that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.”  Through these two examples using a horse and a ship, James shows that mankind has down through the years discovered ways to bring these powerful objects under control.

Both of these instruments are used for control.  They both direct the course of which way the operator wants each to go, be it a rider or the governor.Both are great examples of how these large and strong objects can be made to comply with the will of him who is controlling that little, vital piece.  If these little things under proper control can move great objects into obeisance at its master’s will, what more of the little tongue?” (Word for Life Says/ Don’t Speak Against the Destiny God Has For You!)

We may sometimes struggle with guiding our tongue in which way to go, but Jesus’ tongue was always controlled with purpose and aim, and just as His Father, those words were spoken with the intention to see them fulfilled (Isaiah 55:11).

We have the power to discipline our speech, to train our words in which way they should go.  The Holy Spirit is our guide and if we are actively applying the fruit of the Spirit principles found in Galatians 5:22-23, the whole of our lives, including the way we speak, will have a good aim and be filled with good purposes.

How we direct our mouths is up to us.  When our lips part to speak, may they speak the same way Jesus would.

This three-part mini-series is adapted from a Sunday School Lesson I previously published titled 4 Ways to Use Words Better.  You can click on that link if you are looking for a deeper study on this topic.

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