Tuesday, 21 August 2018

A Good Name

Today's Scripture: Ecclesiastes 7 (KJV)


Ecclesiastes 7 (KJV)
1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one's birth.

2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

6 For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

7 Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart.

8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

12 For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it.

13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.

16 Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?

17 Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?

18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth God shall come forth of them all.

19 Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.

20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:

22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

24 That which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?

25 I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness:

26 And I find more bitter than death the woman, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands: whoso pleaseth God shall escape from her; but the sinner shall be taken by her.

27 Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:

28 Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.

29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.

Scripture Meaning


The benefit of a good name; of death above life; of sorrow above vain mirth. (1-6) Concerning oppression, anger, and discontent. (7-10) Advantages of wisdom. (11-22) Experience of the evil of sin. (23-29)

Verses 1-6
Reputation for piety and honesty is more desirable than all the wealth and pleasure in this world. It will do more good to go to a funeral than to a feast. We may lawfully go to both, as there is occasion; our Saviour both feasted at the wedding of his friend in Cana, and wept at the grave of his friend in Bethany. But, considering how apt we are to be vain and indulge the flesh, it is best to go to the house of mourning, to learn the end of man as to this world.
Seriousness is better than mirth and jollity. That is best for us which is best for our souls, though it be unpleasing to sense. It is better to have our corruptions mortified by the rebuke of the wise, than to have them gratified by the song of fools. The laughter of a fool is soon gone, the end of his mirth is heaviness.

Verses 7-10
The event of our trials and difficulties is often better than at first we thought. Surely it is better to be patient in spirit, than to be proud and hasty. Be not soon angry, nor quick in resenting an affront. Be not long angry; though anger may come into the bosom of a wise man, it passes through it as a way-faring man; it dwells only in the bosom of fools.
It is folly to cry out upon the badness of our times, when we have more reason to cry out for the badness of our own hearts; and even in these times we enjoy many mercies. It is folly to cry up the goodness of former times; as if former ages had not the like things to complain of that we have: this arises from discontent, and aptness to quarrel with God himself.

Verses 11-22
Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea better. It shelters from the storms and scorching heat of trouble. Wealth will not lengthen out the natural life; but true wisdom will give spiritual life, and strengthen men for services under their sufferings.
Let us look upon the disposal of our condition as the work of God, and at last all will appear to have been for the best. In acts of righteousness, be not carried into heats or passions, no, not by a zeal for God. Be not conceited of thine own abilities; nor find fault with every thing, nor busy thyself in other men's matters.

Many who will not be wrought upon by the fear of God, and the dread of hell, will avoid sins which ruin their health and estate, and expose to public justice. But those that truly fear God, have but one end to serve, therefore act steadily. If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. Every true believer is ready to say, God be merciful to me a sinner. Forget not at the same time, that personal righteousness, walking in newness of life, is the only real evidence of an interest by faith in the righteousness of the Redeemer.
Wisdom teaches us not to be quick in resenting affronts. Be not desirous to know what people say; if they speak well of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir up thy passion. See that thou approve thyself to God and thine own conscience, and then heed not what men say of thee; it is easier to pass by twenty affronts than to avenge one. When any harm is done to us, examine whether we have not done as bad to others.

Verses 23-29
Solomon, in his search into the nature and reason of things, had been miserably deluded. But he here speaks with godly sorrow. He alone who constantly aims to please God, can expect to escape; the careless sinner probably will fall to rise no more. He now discovered more than ever the evil of the great sin of which he had been guilty, the loving many strange women, A woman thoroughly upright and godly, he had not found.

How was he likely to find such a one among those he had collected? If any of them had been well disposed, their situation would tend to render them all nearly of the same character. He here warns others against the sins into which he had been betrayed. Many a godly man can with thankfulness acknowledge that he has found a prudent, virtuous woman in the wife of his bosom; but those men who have gone in Solomon's track, cannot expect to find one.
He traces up all the streams of actual transgression to the fountain. It is clear that man is corrupted and revolted, and not as he was made. It is lamentable that man, whom God made upright, has found out so many ways to render himself wicked and miserable. Let us bless Him for Jesus Christ, and seek his grace, that we may be numbered with his chosen people.

Scripture Application


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Ecclesiastes with Chapter 7. In our text today we look at wise advice for living as in Proverbs we see many wise sayings that give us instruction for Godly living.

What catches my eye is verse 1 that speaks of a good name. In making application we see the importance of making Godly decisions is a reputation of being a Godly person. This gives honor to the one to which we serve as we witness to His greatness. How about you? Do you have a good name? Let us learn from out text today to remember that a good name brings honor and gives Glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus-Christ.





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Becoming All Things to All Men

Day 15 (21 August 2018, Tuesday)


1 Corinthians 9:22 – 23…  I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel…

The best thing that we can do for anyone is to introduce them to Jesus.  If they come to the saving faith in Christ, they will have everything they need to live this life and even beyond.  In order to develop these friendships, we have to volunteer to give up our personal rights.  We befriend them by meting their needs.  We treat their needs as more important than our own needs.  We are willing to become a servant to others.  The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have become all things to all men …”

Jesus commanded the Church to go to the world and not for the world to come to the Church.  If Jesus’ followers love their Master, they would have to obey Him.  By “going”, Jesus’ followers demonstrate their obedience to Him.

Sharing our faith often comes with personal risks which may range from rejection, ridicule and perhaps even personal injury or death.  Jesus is asking us to do the hard and painful thing in order to demonstrate our obedience.  Jesus Himself learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).  We do not demonstrate obedience by doing things which we enjoy.

In the one task or sharing our faith, the world gets to hear the message of salvation and the followers of Jesus learn obedience.  Both are being transformed!

List the names of seven people to witness to.  Pray for them, pray for open doors to befriend them and to share your faith.


Pray for the Church of Kelantan & Terengganu

Assuming the Role of Royal Priesthood

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his
marvellous light.

Be Prepared to Share the Reason of Our Hope

1 Peter 3:15 – 16 but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame.



Bible Reading:        
Luke 11 - 15                    
Jeremiah 17 – 21



Monday, 20 August 2018

Every True Worshipper Shares His Faith

Day 14 (20 August 2018, Monday)


Read Luke 2:36 – 38
Luke 2:38:  She spoke of Him to all…

Old Aunt Anna was a godly lady.  She was a picture of a praying woman, one who knew God.  She was elderly, spending most of her life faithfully serving the Lord and even staying in the church, often fasting and praying day and night.  You will probably not find a better example of a spiritual woman of God than her.

However, the other side of Anna is less known.  The Scripture records that she “spoke of Him to all…”  She was adept and willing to share her faith with others.

As Anna spent time in prayer and fasting, she somehow touched the heart of God.  She discovered the heart of the Shepherd that leaves behind the fold to seek for the lost sheep.  Anna discovered that God’s heart was broken with sadness because mankind is lost in sinfulness, in bondage to the chains of idolatry, oppression and materialism.  Anna’s own heart became broken too as she cried and prayed for those around her who needed deliverance.

How dare we say that our ministry is only in prayer and not in evangelism?  Where may I ask is your prayer leading you, if not to the heart of God?

My friends, you need to pray and then you need to go and share your faith.  Then only will we know for sure that you, like Anna, have touched the heart of God.


Pray for the Families of Kelantan & Terengganu

Restoration of the Family Order

Exodus 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

Restoration of the Family Love & Connection

1 Corinthians 13:4 – 8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.


Bible Reading:        Luke 6 - 10                    Jeremiah 12 – 16

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Developing Beautiful Feet

Day 13 (19 August 2018, Sunday)


Romans 10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

The Apostle Paul asked rhetorically, “And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?”  (Romans 10:14 – 15) He then quoted Isaiah 52:7,” How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

God gave us feet to walk and move from one location to another.  We were meant to be on the move to extend the limits of our influence and to connect with others.  If we wish to love people, to care for them, we must move towards them.

God, Himself is a God who walks.  Adam and Eve heard the sound of the LORD God “walking” in the garden.  The Lord Jesus left His heavenly abode and “walked” among the seven churches.  In contrast, many idols are depicted as either sitting, standing or even sleeping.

God gave us feet to walk and bring the good news of salvation to a lost and dying world.  When we obey God this way, we have “beautiful feet”.

Many years ago, I shared the good news of Christ’s salvation with an elderly lady in our city.  In response to the gospel message of God’s grace, she wept tears of repentance and was filled with joy.  She then kissed my hands in appreciation.  Perhaps she should have kissed my feet!  Surely my feet were more responsible than my hands for bringing me there!

Friends, do you have beautiful feet?



Pray for the People Kelantan & Terengganu

Minority People Group: Semaq Beri & Bateq

John 3:16 – 17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send is Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

(Semaq Beri & Bateq:  Aboriginal tribes in Terengganu.  They are struggling to rise above their disadvantaged socio-economic status.)

Seek Sexual Purity and Flee from Immorality

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality.  Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.


Bible Reading:     
Luke 1 - 5                     
Jeremiah 7 – 11



SOURCES



Saturday, 18 August 2018

Commanding People to Repent

Day 12 (18 August 2018, Saturday)


Read Jonah 3:4 – 10 “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

Many believers shy away from speaking about the judgment of a holy God on all who refuse to repent of their wicked ways.  What is promoted is usually the benefits of salvation like peace, joy and in some cases, even of financial freedom or prosperity.

In the book of Acts, Paul preached that “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).  God commands … He does not merely invite!  People can and must be commanded to repent.

Repentance involves a change of heart.  But it is not enough just to “repent in the heart”.  Jesus says, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8).  When Jonah warned the people of impending judgment, they repented.  They expressed their repentance by serious fasting.  They repented in the hope that God may relent from destroying them.

In respect of the king and people of Nineveh, Scripture tells us that, “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).  God saw their works.  People aren’t saved by works but by the grace of God.  Yet it says that God saw their works.  God saw their works of repentance.  The people of Nineveh bore fruits in keeping with repentance.

My friends, command your hearers to repent and avoid God’s judgement!


Pray for the Land of Kelantan & Terengganu


Light of Christ to Remove the Darkness

Matthew 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

Restoration of the Social Order

Isaiah 32:15 – 17 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.  Then justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.  And the effect or righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.


Bible Reading:       
Matthew 25 - 28           
Jeremiah 1 – 6


SOURCES





Friday, 17 August 2018

Share Your Faith Everywhere

Day 11 (17 August 2018, Friday)



Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages… proclaiming the good news of the kingdom…

Jesus led and exemplary life.  He never sinned and He did the will of God throughout His life.  He preached to multitudes but He also witnessed to individuals, e.g. the Samaritan woman, Zacchaeus, Nicodemus, etc.  Not everyone is called to preach to multitudes but every believer is empowered to be a witness to the gospel of Christ (Acts 1:8).

Jesus came in love and as an expression of God’s love for mankind.  He is the living word of God communicated to us.  Jesus witnessed to the love and power of God wherever he went.  Jesus asked His followers to do the same.

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  “(Mark 16:15) We meet people every day whom we can share our faith with.  Our family members, our friends, our relatives, our colleagues at work or our mates in school, our clients or our customers, the people we buy things from, our neighbours, even people we don’t like.  After you have shared your faith to every person you know in your area, go to another place and get to know even more people so that you can share with them.  One day Jesus will definitely come back to this world… but not before our task of sharing His Good News is completed! (Matthew 4:14)

When was the last time you share about the Lord to someone who did not have a personal
relationship with Jesus?


Pray for the Heads & Governments of Kelantan & Terengganu


Govern their People with Love

Romans 13:8, 10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law… Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Look after the Welfare & Interest of their States

Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.


Bible Reading:         Matthew 19 - 24            Ruth 1 – 4


Feet that Go (with the Shoe of Gospel)

Preface for Day 11-15:  Harvest & The Gospel



The Lord of the harvest is building His Bride who will continue to share and reach out in all towns and villages.


Focusing on North-East States (Kelantan & Terengganu)

Kelantan: 1,507,129 (Malay: 95%; Chinese: 3.4%; Indian:0.3%; Other: 1.3%).  The “Land of Lightning”, located in the northernmost state on the East coast of Peninsula Malaysia.  Kota Bharu, the capital of the state reflects an ‘old world’ of the Malay traditions and the predominantly Islamic city in the country.  Muslim’s prayer times are rigorously observed, during which all other activities come to a standstill, especially on Fridays.  Pantai Dasar Sabak in Kota Bharu has great historical significance.  On Dec. 8, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy troops landed here in one of Japan’s first acts of aggression during World War II.


Terengganu: 1,017,210 (Malay: 97%; Chinese: 2.6%; Indian: 0.2%; Other: 0.2%).  Islam is the major religion in the state.  Kuala Terengganu, the state capital, and where the seat of sultans of Terengganu is located.  Most Chinese and Indians in Terengganu live in this district.  The population of Christians, mainly the Chinese and the Indian is only 0.2%.  Kuala Terengganu was declared as Bandaraya Warisan Pesisir Air (Coastal Heritage City) in 2008.  Batu Bersurat, a 700-year-old inscribed stone proclaims Islam as the state religion in Terengganu and also is the earliest evidence of Jawi writing in the Malay Muslim world of Southeast Asia.



Walk worthy of His Calling (Ephesians 4:1)


Have you been walking faithfully in His calling in the harvest field?  Where is your harvest field?


Feet of the Good News




SOURCES




Thursday, 16 August 2018

Comfort & Affliction

Day 10 (16 August 2018, Thursday)



2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.


What is “comfort”?  The dictionary defines it as “consolation” or “a state of physical ease”, which is a kind of “gentle empathy” that strengthens the receivers.

People often base their feeling on their experiences.  Thus, it is not easy to possess such kind of “gentle empathy”.  It is an ability to comfort others when we have personally gone through the troubles ourselves with the comfort we received from the Holy Spirit.  It is more than feeling and sharing the pains, but strengthening and encouraging each other because of the common experiences we have encountered.  Therefore, there is a very positive element about the meaning of “affliction”.

Jesus is not spared from affliction.  “For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  It is indeed a source of strength helping us to overcome suffering, for there is hope amidst our affliction.


Who needs our comfort?


The dying:  Provide an environment of rest and spirit cultivation for patients with terminal illness as well as for their families.  Share the Gospel with them.

Migrant workers and refugees:  Provide them with meeting places, learning centers, health care and shelters for refugee children.  Teach their women at home to do craftwork, and ease them from feeling lost in a foreign land, so that they know God cares for them and He does not neglect them.

Disaster relief:  Distribute goods and materials.  Wash or rebuild houses.  Instruct people with the knowledge of disaster prevention.  Enter the interiors to assist with disaster relief (especially when the lives of Orang Asli are affected).  Assist in fundraising, etc.



Pray for the Church of Penang & Perak



Living in the Covenantal Love of God


Isaiah 58:9-12…If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 

And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall rise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.


Be the Channels of Comfort & Strength


2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.




Bible Reading:         
Matthew 11 - 18            Judges 20– 21



SOURCES


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The Creation of God Reveals His Compassion

Day 9 (15 August 2018, Wednesday)


Isaiah 63:7 I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

We enjoy daily the creation of God like the sun, the air, the water and the produce of the land.  But not necessarily everyone, even the highly educated, realize that fact and learn to appreciate the gifts of God.  Their lives become a pursuit of futility.

We have to tell people who do not understand, whether they are informed or ignorant.  The earliest Orang Asli did not do fish farming, they fished from the river.  They did not grow fruits but climbed trees for it.  They picked up fruits that fell to the ground.  They did not farm wild boars but hunted them.  They did not have bee-hives but obtained honey from the honeycomb on the tree.

All these bring to mind a verse from the bible.  “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate that he may bring forth food from the earth” (Psalm 104:14).  Food is a solid evidence of God’s presence and His provision.  It comes in all kind of flavours, and everyone is well fed and satisfied.

God sent his servants to show them there is a Creator who is almighty, good and awesome so that they learn to give thanks to the Father for His wonderful creation and ingenious design.  The Orang Asli is inseparable from their land, and God has not forgotten them.

Let men find no excuse, for God’s invisible attributes, namely.  His eternal power and divine nature, which are clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made, shall advance His Gospel.

Pray for the Families of Penang & Perak


Marital Faithfulness and Commitment

Hebrews 13:4 Let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

Mutual Love & Respect Between Husband & Wife

Ephesian 5:33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.


Bible Reading:       
Matthew 6 - 10                 Judges 15 – 19


Tuesday, 14 August 2018

More than Meeting our Basic Needs

Day 8 (14 August 2018, Tuesday)


Isaiah 49:10 they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.

Man has basic needs of food and shelter.  But some people are deprived of all these basic needs.  Some people are not properly clothed because of all kinds of unrighteous practices and unequal distribution of resources

All these things do happen in the main cities that are flourishing as well as subordinate cities or towns everywhere.

Ministries were established as God’s people witness these scarcities:
Helping the poor:  single-parent, families in dire needs, poor communities, and Orang Asli living below the poverty level.

Street ministers: 

Distribute food and daily necessities to the homeless.  Open centers for the homeless to take a bath and to do laundry.
Food bank: Provide families with food.
God has compassion for His people, and He allows them to live and to have lives.  God’s food is the One who comes from heaven, the One He gives to the world.  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Our prayer is that these recipients will come to know God, who has compassion for them and who lead them to the stream of living water.  They will understand that God’s desire for them is more than living on in this life.


Pray for the People of Penang & Perak

Minority People Group : 

Semai & Temiar

Jeremiah 31:34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD.  For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

(Semai & Temiar:  Aboriginal tribes in Perak.  Government development projects do improve their lives, yet many more community development projects still need to be done to alleviate their marginalized status.)

Forsake Idolatry and Seek the Truth

Acts 17:29-30 Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.  The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,….

Bible Reading:   
Matthew 1 - 5              Judges 10 - 14



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