Tag Archives: blogging

Good News, Bad News


I Love to Write

Greetings, my friends. Maybe you’ve noticed, but my writing here on the blog has been becoming more and more infrequent. I hate it, but it was bound to happen.

Unfortunately, I love to write, and because I have not been writing much lately, my soul feels like a wet sponge that hasn’t been wrung in a long time – a little sour. Honestly, that’s the whole reason I am writing at this moment. I need to wring some stuff out. 

That just sounded gross. 

I Love to Paint

But there is something else in my life, not to mention watches, that has taken up my free time: it’s painting. Not only do I love to write, but I also love to create things on paper with paint. And when people find joy in what I paint, like when they comment on how something I’ve written helped them, I feel a sense of accomplishment that few other things offer.

I say all that because one of the reasons I’ve not been writing much is my painting. When I get focused on my art (and writing is similar), I forget about other things and time tends to get away from me. 

May be art of nature and tree

The Time Has Come

But speaking of time getting away, I’ve been putting off something for a long, long time, and it’s way past time to finish what I started.

For several years I have been chipping away at a doctoral degree. As a matter of fact, for the last 3 years, I have been so close to finishing it’s not even funny. But everything from surgery, moving a couple of times, deaths in the family, the daily work of ministry, two pastorates in four years, an empty nest, a mother with cancer, and not to mention all that had to be done to pastor a church through COVID-19… all of these things took precedent and my degree was placed on the back burner.

But now the time has come – I must finish my D.Min. requirements in order to graduate in July.

One reason the time has come is that the “time is up” for my mother. Hospice is now in charge of her health care and she has been given, at the most, 6 months to live. If the truth be known, she wasn’t expected to live this long with stage-4 pancreatic cancer. 

I want to get my doctorate while my mother is still alive to see it. I told her, “OK, Mom, you’ve got to live until July.” She said, “OK.” 

Because of this, I cannot guarantee that I’ll be around very much. Just think about me now and then when you haven’t heard from me and I’ll keep you updated on the progress – and my mother.

God bless, 
Anthony

P.S. I would always love it if you’d buy a painting or a print 🙂 Look me up at @AnthonyCBakerArt on Facebook!

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Filed under art, blogging, hobbies, writing

A Response, or Not a Response: That Is the Question

Not long ago I was involved in a back-and-forth comment thread with a subscriber named Stephen. Maybe you’ve read the comments. If not, they are still there and available for your viewing.

At one point I decided to end the back-and-forth commenting and commit to a post in which I would address the plethora of accusations and mischaracterizations Stephen was making. I even backed off from writing a great deal in order to focus on this piece. To be specific, 2 weeks ago I wrote:

“… I am going to take very seriously my responses to your questions, including your – let’s be honest – angry and mean-spirited attacks on my character and intelligence. Also, in order to achieve maximum transparency and allow for others to judge our arguments against the Word of God (our only source of authority), I will be copying and pasting the most pertinent of your previous remarks into a series of new blog posts.”

However, after reviewing eleven (11) pages of comments, and after being advised by several friends and relatives to stand down, I think it wise to keep my response “limited.”

The reason for keeping things confined to maybe just one blog post is that spreading out the discussion would risk the potential of getting off track. It would also potentially fuel a long-running debate that would prove worthless.

The Sermon

On Sunday morning, January 10, 2021, I preached a sermon from the seventh chapter of Matthew. Jesus said in the 24th verse: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:” Note, the wise man whose house will stand through the strongest storm is one who not only hears the words of Jesus, but does them.

And what were the “sayings” to which Jesus was referring? They go all the way back to Matthew 7:1. From verses 1-21 there are seven (7) main points, the “sayings” of Jesus. You can find them in verses 1,5,6,7,13,15, and 21.

However, it was verse 6 that the Holy Spirit used to speak to my heart (and other social media users in the congregation). It was also this verse that was often quoted by those advising me to stand down:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. – Matthew 7:6 KJV

Now, before anyone – including Stephen – gets offended, I am NOT calling anyone a dog or pig! Neither was Jesus.

The meaning of this verse has to do with giving things of great value to those who by nature will see no use for them and in turn, instead of thanking you, will continue with their attacks.

You see, swine cannot deduce the value of a shiny, costly, and rare pearl; all they see is something to munch on like a nut. It is not in their nature to appreciate rarity and beauty. Likewise, the one who is hostile to the Word of God, who refers to it as a “dead book” written by “fallible and evil men” is hardly going to appreciate any explanation he’s already deemed valueless and tasteless.

Therefore, I’m torn. Do I respond or not? Do I defend the Bible, the organized Church, pastors, paid ministers, even myself? Do I respond to Stephen’s over-generalized accusations?

Another question: Will it matter? When it is unlikely that Stephen will (if he’s still reading at this point) take the time to respond in a calm, respectful, rational, non-hateful, non-smart alec, humble way, what’s the point of investing hours of my valuable time into writing the likes of multiple research papers?

If the 11 pages of comments tell us anything, Stephen’s likely response will be to belittle my hard work and say as many atheists do when offered evidence of Intelligent Design: “That’s not evidence.”

It’s a tough, tough decision to make.

Who Is Stephen?

So, who is this Stephen person? Why take all this time to address his comments? What makes his arguments and accusations worthy of rebuttal? Why not simply say “whatever” and ignore or block him? After all, I normally block comments from people who are so disrespectful that they call me a “POS.”

I guess it’s because I know that others are reading the comments, too. I know that there are those who will never write anything but read what we write when we go back and forth. I know this because several have told me through email and in person.

It’s also a fact that Stephen is a real human being with real emotions, feelings, and a soul. Stephen also lives in a world where his actions and beliefs will ultimately affect others and possibly generations to come. And it would also be good to remember that Stephen is not alone in his beliefs; there are many, many others who think and feel the way he does.

Where there is one Stephen, there are others. Therefore, by taking the time to rebut false assumptions and dangerous theologies, we may or may not be able to affect a change in Stephen, but others may come to know the Truth.

My Observations

I guess it would be good at this point to offer some observations that I’ve made as I have reviewed Stephen’s comments from last year. Since you may have not read them all, the following summary will give you a better understanding of the tone and substance of Stephen’s comments, along with a better understanding as to why I feel addressing all his arguments might be fruitless.

Again, the following bullet points contain Stephen’s actual comments and are contextually accurate. In no way have I cut and pasted his words in order to frame him in a negative light. His comments can speak for themselves.

  • Derogatory Ad Hominem Attacks are Common – I counted at least 22 personal swipes at my character or the character of others who joined conversations. With only assumptions and obvious bias as his foundation, Stephen was quick to use the following derogatory descriptors, to mention a few…
    • Hireling
    • “…the honest [pastors] have left the world of religion.”
    • legitimate” pastors don’t “carry the labels, nor were they employed in religion.”
    • “The cognitive dissonance required to sit through a sermon and not puke is astronomical. But then as we all know, the psychopath target the weak.
      Perhaps your time would be better spent pontificating to your flock Mel. I don’t have much patience for manipulators.”
    • “…you chauvinistic POS.”
    • “…2 bit evangelical religious leaders such as yourself.”
    • “A couple of 2 bit religious business owners about their own agenda is what the both of you are.”
    • “As for your religious business, Baptists are no different than any other denomination or non denomination, it’s all a business, whether you manage it or own it, it’s all witchcraft.”
    • “…why don’t you mind your own family instead of perpetuating religious business that abuses children and those who are weak minded?”
  • Does Not Believe the Bible is the Inerrant, Inspired Word of God
    • “…not bound to a book…”
    • “My authority is Jesus Christ, not a dead book.”
    • “I do like the bible as it contains many truths and reliable testimonies.”
    • “As for Where to fine Jesus” words, they’re everywhere but mostly I find them within.”
    • “I know you disagree all those who belive the infallible, final authority or the word of God must. Their whole faith lies in their belief in the bible. Almost as if, God ceases to exist if the bible has errors.”
    • “The Jesus of the bible can be many different images to many different people and yet you seem to think a unique revelation is wrong?”
    • “…but God is not confined to a book written and compiled by man.”
    • “God has not stopped revealing Himself to men, He doesn’t need a bible to reveal Himself.”
    • “The bible is subjective…”
  • Stephen has a strong dislike for Pastors and Preaching.
    • “I’ve had my fill of men who claim to have the truth.”
    • “God’s people are everywhere, there’s absolutely no need to pay or put up with pontificating just to hang out with them.”
    • “Instead of preaching about ‘leading by example,’ it’s time to start doing it.”
    • “You must assume your position … [use] a couple of bible verses to justify your authority and put me into submission … You must maintain dominance so as to not look weak before your flock.”
    • “Jesus never spoke of giving pastors or to His people.”
    • “Any religious leader would have a hard time justifying their position without Paul’s writings so I understand your desire to bind people to the bible.”
    • “The standards you perceive from the bible are for you, they’re not meant to be legislated and forced onto other, especially if they don’t affect you.”
    • “And there’s no way preaching the Gospel should be a paid position. Jesus is the model of what the Church should be, not Paul.”
  • Stephen has a strong dislike for organized religion.
    • “There is absolutely no difference between the world and those who attend and adhere to organized religion.”
    • “I’ve tasted the paint religion paints with, and will not be painted with that brush. So I’ll continue to paint with my broad brush.”
    • “Though most of my mentors never spoke His name or had any part in religion, they lived Christ.”
    • “…I don’t do religion.”
    • “No bibles, no church, just faith in God.”
    • “As for the church model you justify, this model is found no where in the bible.”
    • “…I’m not a believer that acts is the model for the Church. The Church are those who belong to Christ. We are a living organism and not an organization.”
  • Stephen has made some potentially dangerous ontological and theological statements about Jesus.
    • “When we stand before Jesus Christ, we will then know the Truth.”
    • “I don’t profess Jesus as the only way to God, people can figure that out for themselves. I profess Jesus IS God.”
    • “My authority is in Jesus Christ, not a dead book.”
    • “…Jesus Chris revealed Himself to me and taught me that in fact, my conscience was Him speaking to me.”
    • “After reading the bible 5 times cover to cover, I still wasn’t sure who Jesus was, but He had mercy on me and revealed to me, the scriptures are accurate in their testimony of who He IS. Much like Peter, flesh and blood did not reveal it to me, but my Father in Heaven.”
    • “The Jesus of the bible can be many different images to many different people and yet you seem to think a unique revelation is wrong?”
    • “I don’t recall Christ condemning either the woman caught in adultery or the woman at the well. Nor did He defy from doing what they were doing.”
    • “I hope I’ve made my profession for Jesus Christ alone loud and clear as I learned this from Jesus Christ Himself. This Truth was learned by many and some recorded it. And some of those testimonies were compiled and put in a book that we now call the bible. Fallible men to who’m God revealed Himself to. Go has not stopped revealing Himself to men, He doesn’t need a bible to reveal Himself.”

So, what do I do?

Does Stephen sound like a guy who’s going to respond with grace to someone who gets paid to preach and pastor a church which is linked to an organized religious organization?

If Stephen doesn’t care for the writings of Paul, what good is it to discuss the revelations Jesus made to him as described in the book of Acts and elsewhere in Paul’s letters?

If God has not stopped revealing Himself to men, and if the Bible (I capitalize it because it is a proper noun) is just a compilation of individual and subjective experiences, then to what Authority do I appeal?

If Stephen has already determined that all pastors aside from the “Good Pastor” are hirelings, manipulators, abusers, controllers, practicians of “witchcraft,” and “POS,” what makes me think anything I say, especially if I appeal to a “dead book” written by “fallible and evil men,” will have any affect? Will I only be casting my pearls before someone who cannot appreciate the value?

Personally, I don’t think anything thing I write, whether it be based solidly on the words of Jesus or not, would have any effect on Stephen. After re-reading his comments, it’s hard to imagine he will ever yield the possibility that anything I say could be correct.

HOWEVER, if you would like for me to offer a reasoned response to any of Stephen’s accusations or assumptions, please let me know in the comment section.

In Conclusion

I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t leave you (and Stephen) with something positive. I’ve talked a lot about Stephen and his beliefs but let me close with a few things I believe.

  • There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ (“I am the way, the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me” – John 14:6).
  • I believe that Jesus was and is 100% man and 100% God (hypostatic union).
  • The Bible is our sole source of authority regarding faith and practice, and especially when it comes to understanding who God is.
  • The Bible is not a “dead book,” but “…[is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12 KJV
  • Scripture is not subjective and open to individual interpretation (Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. – 2 Peter 1:20 KJV).
  • There must be a point in one’s life when he goes from death to life, from lost to found, from dead to alive, from estranged to reconciled, from being a foreigner to a member of the Family, from being born in the flesh to being born again, from being the enemy of God to being called His friend. In order to be “saved,” there must be a time in one’s life when he recognizes his need of a Savior.
  • Pastors are gifts to the Church (Ephesians 4:11) and are allowed to be paid for their work (1 Timothy 5:18).

Anything specific I missed? Anything specific you’d like me to address?

If not, I guess I’m done with this project.

Stephen, I do pray that you will grow in a sincere and biblical relationship with Jesus Christ and grow deeper in your understanding and appreciation for the Bible, for it was Jesus Himself who said: “‘O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?‘ And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” – Luke 24:25-27

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Filed under Bible, Bible Study, Church, God

Seeds and Harvest: the Hope of Christian Blogging

“High Cotton” by Anthony Baker

(Speaking to a friend about blogging, I said) We plant and water seeds of hope and love and joy and grace. We sow these seeds all over the world!

Rarely will we see a harvest, but the Holy Spirit knows how to take that divinely inspired “click” and turn it into new life.

It will be interesting, and wonderful, to one day see what God was able to do with the crazy medium of Christian blogging.

To HIM be the glory!

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Filed under blogging, Christianity, hobbies, ministry, Uncategorized

I Hate Blocks

Dear friends, I want to copy a post so that I can republish it. I want the original to stay where it is, but a new one to be published. Does that make sense?

That is what I have been doing with the posts at ProverbialThought.com.

But now, because of this new and “wonderful” block editor, I cannot figure out how to do what I need. And when I try to go back to the traditional editor (the one that worked well for me for 10 years), all I do is click on the option, but nothing happens.

I hate block. I don’t care how many more features this system offers! I never asked for it. I was happy with what I was using. It worked. It allowed me to become the blogger I am… I was.

One of the reasons I have not been blogging of late – even though I have a lot I could be writing about, especially my daughter’s wedding last week – is this new editor! Did I mention that I hate it?

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Your Suggestion Could Save Millions of Lives

Dear Readers and Subscribers,

First things first, I want to thank a fellow blogger for sending the funds to pay for a year’s worth of ad-free blog posts. I won’t name him on here, but it was a serious blessing. May the Lord bless in return!

Next, to the point of this short post,

I want your help in determining the posts/articles/papers I will write over the next few weeks. It’s not that I have writer’s block; I want to write what you want to read.

You see, there are things I would like to address, including why it is understandable for a Christian to vote for Donald Trump – in response to all the other articles from the Left and left-leaning Republicans who pontificate otherwise.

But some of the things I think are important may not be important to you, or at least most of you. There may even be some subjects about which you would really like to hear my opinion.

And since I don’t have a lot of time to write in the first place, I’d like to make my time count.

Here’s your opportunity to fill the calendar.

Starting this Tuesday, August 17th, and all the way through Tuesday, the 29th of September, I will only write about what YOU suggest. And, if you get it in early enough, I WILL write about it (the best I can, depending on the subject matter).

I’m looking forward to seeing what you suggest. Just leave your suggestions in the comment section.

And who knows? Your suggestion could lead to something groundbreaking, an inspiration that could change the world, even save lives! Millions of them! 

You just never know 😉

God bless, stay well, and thanks for reading!

Anthony

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It’s Just Been Busy and Writing Is Draining

Dear friends,

I just wanted to send out a quick update, just in case you were out there wondering why in the world I hadn’t been writing much as of late.

Well, honestly, it all boils down to two simple reasons: I have been more busy than ever because of the virus, and writing, especially about anything going on these days, is simply too tiring.

I can’t do everything. At least not as much as I want to.

So, when things slow down a little and I can afford the luxury to write more, my posts might go back to more in-depth, thoughtful commentary on life, reality, marriage, crime, politics, pets, legalism, watercolor painting, theology, people-watching, watches, zoology, substance abuse, and irrational fears.

Until then, follow Jesus.

Oh, and I’ll include a few videos to show you what I’ve been up to 😉

– Anthony

Image may contain: Anthony C. Baker, text and outdoor

Click on the Facebook link to watch Pastor Kenneth Ware and I talk racism and Jesus 🙂 The discussion will be on Facebook Live at 2pm eastern.

https://www.facebook.com/events/556523215236606/

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and text

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Thursday Thoughts: 4/16/2020

Random Thoughts

Every once in a while I have to write what’s on my mind, even when it might be multi-layered, a little discombobulated, and look like well-worn rabbit trails.

Not every thought needs to develop into a full-blown, well-sourced article. Not every thought needs to be completely thought through before sharing. Sometimes we need to get our thoughts out of our heads and onto paper (or a screen) in order give our brains some stretching room.

Therefore, consider this more like a spring-time yard sale, only the random objects spread across tables and blankets on the driveway are free for the taking. If you like it, it’s yours!

Bibles

For the record, my mother is dying of cancer. I don’t want to talk about it. All I want to say is that she wanted a new Bible, one she could read without a magnifying glass, and I ordered her one. She was so excited she sounded like Christmas had come.

But aside from getting her Bible in Giant Print, I ordered it in the New Living Translation. That’s worth mentioning because my mother had always been more of a KJV-only type. However, she wanted a new Bible that she could more easily read through large portions in one sitting, as I had recently advised people in our congregation to do.

Even though she probably has no more than a year, at best, she still wanted a new Bible to read. Just think about that for a while.

Government Overreach

I don’t subscribe to most conspiracy theories, at least the ones having to do with little green men, Area 51, and the Kennedy assassination.  However, if you were to ask me about Area 52, I could tell you about a secret military base (underground) in Arkansas that is powered off the grid by tectonic plates that create energy through the science of “crowd farming,” and that those plates are found in the tiles of 24-hour Walmarts spread around the state of Arkansas. Oh, and I could point out that there are 52 state parks under 52 million square miles, 52 Super Walmarts in Arkansas, and that Arkansas is the global headquarters of Walmart.

But I won’t. That would be craaaazy! You never heard anything from me. Understand?

On the other hand, it is foolhardy to assume the actions of our government are always in our best interests. Like Ronald Reagan once said, the scariest words in the English language are when the government says, “I only want to help you.” That’s why I think if the Bereans were “more noble” for searching the Scriptures instead of taking Paul’s teachings at face value, we should be noble and search the Constitution and Bill of Rights whenever government says they want to keep us safe.

Hopeful

Lastly, may I just say that I am hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that what we are seeing in the world is the beginning of another Great Awakening. The slumbering, comfortable Western Church has been slapped back into reality with the forced closures of it’s sanctuaries and parking lots. We have been forced to take “church” outside of the “four walls of normalcy” and out to where ministry can be done.

One thing is for sure, church will never go back to the way it was: it will be different.

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Filed under America, current events, General Observations

Kumusta, Philippines!

Image result for philippines flag

I’ve never been to the Philippines, but I know people who have. As a matter of fact, my daughter was planning on going there several years ago, but then there was a tsunami.

Just recently I saw in the news that the President of the Philippines was going to kick the U.S. military out of the country, because America is “rude.” I hate that. I hope it doesn’t happen. Think of all our nations have been through together! Our military and our people still think of the sacrifices you made during WW2. Thank you!

I don’t know who in the Philippines reads my blog. Maybe they just stumble upon it. But to whomever you are, thank you for stopping by. It’s an honor.

May God bless your country with peace!

Anthony Baker (The Recovering Legalist)

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For Bloggers, Internet Missionaries, and Those Who Use the Web

On the night of January 14 I was privileged to speak to a group of men, mostly older men, about social media and the ministry of Christian blogging. My first impression was that these guys had no clue what I was talking about.

I was correct about some of them.

But others got it. They knew how to use Facebook, understood the dangers of being online, and one had even thought about starting a blog.

Regardless, nearly every one was blown away by the world-wide impact that can be made from one’s laptop on the kitchen table, or even one’s smartphone.

However, as I pointed out, not everyone can write, especially for a blog. Nevertheless, God has placed us here for such a time as this, and whatever it is for which we have a talent or gift, God has a plan to reach the world, even if it’s only a small part of it.

Let me share four passages of Scripture with you, then I would encourage you to listen to the short message I gave to the 45 men here in Georgia.

  • Esther 4:14 – “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, [then] shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for [such] a time as this?
  • Philippians 1:27 – “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”
  • Colossians 4:2-4 – “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (3) Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: (4) That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”
  • Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Click the Picture

This photo is of my wife and me on our way to last week’s minister and wives retreat in Pigeon Forge, TN. The picture has nothing to do with the recording. I just wanted to use it 😉 If you click on it (or here) you can listen to the 21-minute sermon.

 

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Bună ziua, Romania!

Romania

I have a very special place in my heart for Romania. So many memories.

If I could take you to a box full of pictures, I could tell you story after story about the cities I visited, the people I met, the food I enjoyed, the time I came close to dying after drinking the water, the relationships, the church services, and the fish soup I just couldn’t eat.

If we had a while, I’d tell you why “Este o zi bună pentru a muri” became a repeated phrase every time we got in a car. What does it mean? It’s a good day to die.

I’d love to tell you about an overnight ride through the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps in a sleeper car straight out of an Agatha Christie novel.

You’d get a chuckle if I told you the story of me telling a Russian girl of the Romanian tree-dwelling vaca while walking through a park.

You’d laugh at the story of what led to recording a beautiful Romanian girl play her guitar and sing in a pink-tiled bathroom.

You might even tear up at the stories of sharing the gospel and Bibles with people who had been crushed under the foot of a communist dictator. And, how would you react if I showed you a picture of the approximately 80 people that accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior in one meeting I preached in village outside of Alexandria?

You’d be fascinated with the flag I was given, a flag with a hole in the center, a tattered piece of cloth that was actually drug through the streets of Timisoara during the revolution of 1989, just 2 years before (30 years ago, now).

But that was then – this is now.

And Romania has internet, internet users, and people who read my blog once in a while.

I’d love to find out whatever happened to the 80 in that village.

Maybe they’re the one’s who visit this site! Wouldn’t that be great?

Mulțumesc, Romania!

 

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