Our Thoughts Control Our Life

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, VOICE)

 

The thoughts we hold in our heart determine the direction that we take in life. If we hold onto negativity or fear or frustration, each step that we take is weighed down by the heaviness we are holding. However, if we guard our hearts and listen and trust in His word of truth, our burdens lessen and we are better able to stay the course to which we have been called. Obstacles will always stand before us, yet if we move forward with our eyes open and our hearts fixed on He who is greater, the challenges will not determine our direction; the path that has already been presented will continue to propel us to progress in the life to which we are being led. May we ever guard our hearts and minds, fixing all securely on our Savior; for in Him, we find safe harbor and a course that has been set for us to successfully navigate with Him.

 

Let us guard our hearts,

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photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Above other things;

For the thoughts we think,

Impact our blessings.

As we are weighed down,

Fixed on weight we bear;

We miss so much good,

That God has to share.

Protect heart and mind,

For good things shall come;

Our path is made plain,

When we seek the Son.

The blessings in life,

All good things that flow;

Are from God to us,

As we seek to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we guard our hearts and place our trust in You, You lead us on a course that is far greater than we could have hoped or imagined. Thank You that though trials and difficulties will come, as we fix our eyes on You, rather than the challenge, You lead us on and carry us through. Forgive us for not guarding our hearts from the heaviness that life can bring. Teach us to trust You more, so that we do not get weighed down by the difficulties and instead rise up in Your strength to press on. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend Your goodness, strength and grace to help others navigate the course to which You are calling them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and fix our eyes on You; for with You, good and noble things light the path to which we are called to walk.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

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Pardon Brings Peace

God blesses those who are merciful, for they are shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NLT)

Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, CEB)

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourself cared for. – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

 

Mercy is an incredible gift that is given to us from God. The very definition of mercy, is compassionate kindness, favor and forgiveness that is undeserved; pardon when punishment is warranted. As recipients of God’s tender mercy, we ought to be quick to extend the same to those who “offend” us. Sadly, in our broken humanity, often our first thought is retaliation or revenge. It takes an intentional act of our will to choose to seek the Lord and His help, to extend mercy to those whom we feel deserve punishment. A great example of Jesus demonstrating mercy, was to the woman who was caught in an adulterous act, and an entire squad of Pharisees were ready to stone her for her crime. Jesus, spoke to the men, and told them that whomever was without sin, should go ahead and throw the first stone. One by one, they all eventually walked away. Soon, it was just she and Jesus standing there. Rather than casting stones, as He was indeed without sin, He extended mercy and told her to “go and sin no more.” Can you imagine the impact that His act of mercy had on the woman who was likely prepared to die that day? Though public stoning is not such a concern in society today, our sins, mistakes and missteps can weigh just as heavily on our hearts. When someone extends mercy when we deserve otherwise, the impact is powerful and long lasting. May we go forth with hearts full of grace, ready to extend mercy to those who need it most.

 

Those who give mercy, Pardon Brings Peace

Are given the same;

God grants full pardon,

And removes all shame.

For He forgives us,

As we choose forgive;

So hold not a grudge,

Be free, in peace live.

Merciful are blessed,

With hearts full of joy;

True pardon is known,

And peace is employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first show Your mercy to us while we are yet sinners. Thank You that You forgive, though we do not deserve forgiveness. Thank You that mercy is a choice that we can decide to extend with Your help, regardless of what we feel. Forgive us for the times that we should have been merciful and were not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give mercy to others, just as mercy has been given to us. Show us how to love in a way that is compassionate and kind, with favor and forgiveness, even to those who do not “deserve” it. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we show mercy to others, just as we are shown mercy by You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Write Upon My Heart

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – (Psalm 40:8, NIV)

I want to do Your will, my God. Your instruction is deep within me. – (Psalm 40:8, CEB)

I am pleased to live how You want, my God. Your law is etched into my heart and soul. – (Psalm 40:8, VOICE)

 

The more we choose to invest our hearts, minds and time into God and His word, the more it takes root, deep within us. Each time His love is made evident through a decision I make, I am in awe of who He is and how He loves. Recently, I received a message that initially irritated and frustrated me. I began to respond in sarcasm, rather than in love. My spirit stirred within me, and I slowed down, and thought about what might have motivated the original message that I received, and I was filled with compassion and changed my response to one that was motivated by love, rather than selfish reacting. How I replied may or may not have had an impact on the recipient, but it had a significant impact on me. No matter what I “think” the intent might be, I must slow down, listen to the Lord, and respond in love. Even if my response is clarifying questions or silence until I am able to respond according to that which He has etched upon my heart, it is my intent to do so, regardless of how things appear in my own eyes. May we desire to do the will of our loving Heavenly Father, and allow Him to continue to etch His instruction into our hearts.

 

O Lord, I desire, Write Upon My Heart

To do well, Your will;

Follow Your leading,

Love as my heart’s filled.

For deep in my heart,

You’ve written Your ways;

To lead and guide me,

For all of my days.

Lord, above all things,

May Your great love lead;

So my life’s pleasing,

In word, thought and deed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we desire to do Your will, and choose to invest time with You and in Your word, You refine us and write Your instruction upon our hearts. Forgive us for ignoring Your still small voice within us, that shows us what to do and say that abides by Your way. Teach us to listen to Your leading in all things and at all times, so that we would extend the same love and grace to others that You give to us. Show us how to love those around us, even when we think that they do not deserve it, as that is usually when it is needed the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek after You and Your will, and allow You to etch Your instruction deep within us so that we will walk in Your way for all of our days. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

 

 

The Kiss of Honesty

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship. – (Proverbs 24:26, NLT)

An honest answer is as pleasing as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, ERV)

An honest answer is like a warm hug. – (Proverbs 24:26, MSG)

A straight answer is as precious as a kiss on the lips. – (Proverbs 24:26, VOICE)

 

My daily reading that was listed for today, was actually a few chapters earlier in Proverbs. As I unpacked the list of thirty wise things to remember, I could not help but continue reading. The analogy of honesty being compared to something tender and intimate, is one that I appreciate, for as I thought about those with whom I interact the most, I realize that I am surrounded by people who are honest with love. They do not hesitate to tell me the truth, yet it is done in love, rather than spoken harshly or with accusation when I am in the wrong. My heart is handled with care, so I know that I can trust the intentions of those who are speaking, even if at times, it is difficult to hear. As I speak to others, I try to do the same. If I am not able to speak the truth in love, with a heart that is for the one to whom I am speaking, I wait until I am ready to do so. This is necessary everywhere, but especially in the classroom. I am seeing the fruit of my honest investment beginning to payoff, as a few of the students with whom I struggled the most at the beginning of the year, are now coming around. Consistent care and kindness, speaking truth that reminds them of their purpose and responsibility, is making an impact. May we ever seek to give honest answers in love, so that the recipients may receive the words we bring like a warm hug.

 

An honest answer, God Delights to Give

Is greater indeed;

When given in love,

Like a kiss, received.

To hear the truth told,

With a heart for us;

Is a gift given,

Such trust is precious.

Let us all choose well,

In love, speak what’s true;

For words can warm hearts,

Bring hope and make new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that honest answers are as precious as hugs and kisses. Thank You that You place people in our lives who will be honest in love and speak truth in kindness. Forgive us for the times that we chose to withhold an honest answer, or lacked love in our response to someone in need of the truth in love. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would seek You and Your heart in all things, as You are faithful to give us the words that demonstrate Your heart through honesty in love. Show us how to love those around us well, as we speak the truth in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are made aware of the kindness and care that You provide. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the grace and courage to give straight answers that are given in love and received as precious proof of trust. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Loving the Next Generation

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

This verse is a powerful reminder of my purpose; not only with my own children, but in my classroom each day. My role as a classroom teacher goes beyond the curriculum that I am asked to deliver. If I can meet kids where they are, and help them know that they matter, the learning that takes place is far more significant than the reading and writing that is required. I know in my own life, there were people, teachers, youth leaders, my mom, my grandmother, and various other family and friends, who greatly impacted the path on which I chose to travel. Their words often echoed in my mind as I reached crossroads, and aided me in choosing wisely, when I could have decided differently. Each of the voices that spoke to my heart had met me in a way that fit my own need, individually, and made an impact that has lasted a lifetime. We are able and called to do the same. May we love the next generation by meeting them where they are, and pointing them in the direction that they are meant to go.

 

Help us to teach kids, 1506783915220

The ways they’re to go;

Meet each in their need,

So Your path’s made known.

When we’re shown what’s right,

Through love on our way;

We’re drawn to follow,

On the right path stay.

Let us show our kids,

The right way to go;

So when they’re older,

They will always know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when children are started off in the right direction, You are faithful to continue to call them to remain close to You. Thank You that though educators are not in a role to spiritually lead students, we have the ability to meet kids where they are in a way that fits their need, and help them know that they are valued, loved, and capable of great things. Forgive us for not investing enough into pointing kids in the right direction, as each future has eternal value. Teach us to turn to You for wisdom as to how we can love best, each young person that You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we point kids in the right direction, trusting You to keep them close as they grow older. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Send Your Rain

Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! – (Psalm 72:3, ESV) 

May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful. – (Psalm 72:3, NLT) 

Under His reign, may this land of mountains and hills know peace and experience justice for all the people. – (Psalm 72:3, VOICE) 

 

Though I am only beginning to process all that I saw and experienced during my time in Belize, this particular verse stood out to me this morning, as it is my prayer for the people whom I had the joy to meet. During my stay in beautiful Belize, I was up north in the jungle. Our purpose was to hold health education outreaches, to check blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and to help educate people about risks and prevention, as well as some other basic health awareness issues. The thing that left the greatest impact on me, was that in the neighboring village to where we were staying, the greatest need was to have year-round clean water. Each year, during the dry season (May – June), many people from the village of 2,500+ fall ill, especially school children, and have no cure for something that should be entirely preventable. The kind principal of the K-8 school has to be the nurse, custodian, cafeteria provider, and run the school. She informed us that during the dry season, it is common to have to send five students a day to the hospital. Each student sent costs the school $100 out of the operating budget, and the hospital does not hydrate the children, but rather gives a cortisone shot and sends them home, often more ill than when they arrived. Clean running water year-round would eliminate much of the illness, and having a nearby nurse who could administer fluids rather than a useless shot, would likely alleviate much of the remaining ruin that occurs during the despairing time each year. The lack of resources and man-power are the obstacles that stand between the village and the solution. Awareness is certainly a step in the right direction. My prayer is that with the known need, that the floodgates of heaven would open, and He would supply all that is needed. No, there is no simple solution that will transpire overnight, but there are now twelve more people who have been touched by the lives of those living in the village, and who cannot unsee the faces of the sweet children who attend school where we stood. May our hearts be ever open to hear what we are meant to do to touch lives and transform communities as You call us to do. 

 

O Lord, send Your rain, Send Your Rain

Pour out on this place; 

Grant what is needed, 

By Your sovereign grace. 

O Lord, break our hearts, 

For that which breaks Yours; 

Then lead us in love, 

As You open doors. 

Help us to see, Lord, 

As You want us to; 

Give strength and equip, 

So we may go do. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know every need. Thank You that You lead us where You want us to go, and You show us Your heart for people. Thank You that You make us aware of those beyond our borders. Forgive us for neglecting to look for need outside of our own four walls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk through our days with eyes to see as You see, and open hands and hearts, ready to give, love and serve as You ask us to do. Show us how to love well, those within our own reach, as well as those beyond our borders. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be the Provider for those near and far, and to show us what we can do to be Your hands to those in need. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Transformational Times

When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshipped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” – (Luke 23:47, NLT)

 

This statement by the Roman officer was extremely significant, as it was his response after overseeing the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. He had observed each nail driven into His hands and feet, each insult hurled at Jesus as He hung in pain, and ultimately, he heard the words of Jesus as the world went dark for several hours that day, as Christ called out, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NIV)  Firsthand, this soldier who had carried out the orders to crucify Christ, could see for himself, that there had been no justifiable reason to take the life of the innocent man hanging on the cross before him. Something about what he had observed through the process, helped open his eyes to the glory of God, as the Roman officer responded by worshipping the Lord and declaring the innocence of Christ. When they say there is power in the cross, it is incredible how soon it began. First with the criminal that hung beside Jesus who recognized that He did not deserve to die and asked to be remembered, and then one of the leaders of the Roman regime. The power present to move those two men from death to life on that very day, is still alive and active now. Jesus rose and ascended to the right hand of the Father, so that His Spirit could dwell among us. The very same power that brought life from death, is available and able to save us now. If we come to the Lord, call on His Name, and place our trust in Him, His presence is ours, and we have the hope of life everlasting in Him. May we allow the power of the presence of the living God to transform us from the inside out.

 

The power of God,Transformational Times

Is mighty to save;

For this is the One,

Who conquered the grave.

He brings us to life,

When we choose to come;

Place our heart in Him,

Where freedom is won.

Free from all our chains,

Of past sin and scorn;

Where hope and new life,

In Him, we’re reborn.

New start without stains,

All grace is now ours;

Made new by His love,

His hope empowers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to live and love and sacrifice, so that we could have life everlasting in You. Thank You for the incredible things that Jesus did, even as He hung on the cross to impact the lives of those around Him. Forgive us for thinking that we cannot do anything in the midst of our circumstances when things are difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be receptive to all that You have for us – both for and through us as we walk out our days in faith. Show us how to love others as You love us, regardless of what is going on in our own lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to work in and through us at all times to touch those around us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Grow Not Weary in Doing Good

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. – (Galatians 6:9, NLT)

May we never tire of doing what is good and right before our Lord because in His season we shall bring in a great harvest if we can just persist. – (Galatians 6:9, VOICE)

 

Choosing to do the right thing can be exhausting. When everyone around us seems to be taking an easy way out, or going and doing things that He has made clear are not acceptable for us, individually, it takes His strength to keep walking the way in which we have been called. Fortunately, God does not call us to good for naught. He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us, and each time that we choose to do good, our decision can impact those around us in a way that points hearts to Him. It is so often through faithfulness over time, that people come to know the goodness of God through the loving kindness of those who choose to keep doing good. May we rise up and rely on the Lord and His lasting love to never tire of doing what is good and right before Him. In the end, the reward will far outweigh the sacrifice.

 

Let’s not grow weary,The Look of Love 2

Of doing what’s good;

For we have been called,

Make love understood.

Each time that we choose,

To do what is right;

We make God’s grace known,

Harvest of delight.

Our greatest blessing,

Awaits at the end;

So let us press on,

Choose good, love extend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it means to not grow tired of doing good. Thank You Jesus, for loving with Your life, all whom You encountered. Forgive us for growing tired of choosing to do what is right, as we rely on our own strength instead of Yours. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your strength in every circumstance so that we will not grow weary of doing what is good. Show us how to love and bless those around us in a way that points hearts to You, our Provider. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we grow not weary in doing good. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Obey Without Delay

Immediate obedience is what the Lord asks of us, but so often, it takes a bit of time to either wrap our heads around what exactly it is that He is asking, or to find the faith to step out and do that which we are being called to do.

 

After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and His mother,” the angel said…”because Herod is going to search for the child to kill Him.” That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, His mother. (Matthew 2:13-14, NLT)

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel…” So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and His mother. (Matthew 2:19-21, NLT)

Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for a region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth… (Matthew 2:22b-23a, NLT)

 

Joseph is acknowledged for his obedience to marry Mary, despite what was perceived. He listened to the angel of the Lord, and did what was right in the eyes of God. That being said, I’ve never given much thought to the steps of obedience that he carefully took after the birth of Jesus. I wonder if he had been so eternally changed by his initial visit by an angel, that he was on constant standby to hear the instructions of the Lord, as he was well aware of the significance of his role in raising the Son of God? Joseph was human and he had a free will. He did not have to obey what was asked of him, but he did – and he did so immediately. His decisions had an impact on all of history. God guided him, but Joseph chose to obey.

 

How often are we in such circumstances? Though we are not raising the Son of God, what if we are raising the next leader of a church, a city, an organization or a nation? What we do matters. Our obedience has the capacity to shape not only our lives, but the lives of those around us. We never really know the significance of our decisions, until long after they have been made. May we listen well for His voice, and choose to step out in obedience as soon as we hear what He is asking. Let the Lord be our strength, courage and light, as we move in the direction that He calls us to go.

 

When God speaks to us,

do we choose obey?Break Camp and Move Out

Does our heart move now,

or wait one more day?

What is the impact,

of obedience?

It’s not about us,

nor our convenience.

Our one decision,

could open the way;

for His light to shine,

on the darkest day.

Our obedience,

matters a great deal;

for God uses us,

to show that He’s real.

Let hearts be open,

and ears set to hear;

may we choose obey,

without pause or fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples in Your word of those who boldly and without hesitation, obeyed that which You asked of them. Thank You too, that it is clear why it was necessary for obedience to be immediate. Thank You that You speak to our hearts, and we need simply to listen to know what we are to do and where we are to go. Forgive us for our hesitation and delay to those things that we know You are asking of us. Grow in us a faith that says “Yes and Amen” immediately, to whatever we hear You asking. Show us how to love others in a way that makes Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and then take steps of obedience as soon as we know what we have heard. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Give Thanks As We Proclaim

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

In my early twenties, I had the rare opportunity to be a part of Youth With A Mission, and saw firsthand, the carrying out of the great commission in action. We were able to go out to the ends of the earth and tell the world of what He has done. The teams that I was a part of traveled to Thailand, India, China, Bangladesh, Macau and Hong Kong (before it was turned back over to China). Trains, planes, boats, rickshaws, backpacks up mountains, and living among some of the world’s poorest, were part of our daily adventures. It was an exciting time, and as we gave thanks to the Lord and proclaimed His greatness, we could see, firsthand, how we were letting the world know what He had done.

After returning from such an adventurous lifestyle, it took quite a mind shift to recognize that I could still impact the world through giving thanks and proclaiming who God is. What I discovered as I began teaching in the city in which I was raised, is that the population had become very global. Though I was not going out into all of the world, all of the world was coming into my classroom on a daily basis. Seeds of kindness that I began to plant, were God’s to water and grow.

For years I have utilized writing as a personal outlet, rarely allowing anyone else to read what God had written on my heart. A few years ago, a dear friend who I did allow to read my writing from time to time, began to encourage me to consider sharing my writing with a larger circle. Though terrified, I ventured to spread the circle a bit wider. The few became a few more, and blogging was birthed in me. Today, the thrill of seeing the flag of another nation representing a person who has viewed what God is showing me, is overwhelming. God alone is worthy of all of our thanks and praise, for He is great and has done remarkable things! May we go forth this day and let the world know what He has done, as we live a life full of thanks.

All thanks be to God,Give Thanks As We Proclaim

and let us proclaim;

of the Lord’s greatness,

oh most Holy Name.

May all of the earth,

come know what He’s done;

through His love and grace,

He gave us His Son.

Merciful Father,

makes the way for us;

embrace eternal,

through the Lord Jesus.

Lord, You are so good,

You take what we bring;

and accept us each,

as pure offerings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so great and mighty. Thank You that You allow us to be a part of the great commission, wherever we are. Thank You that we can share Your love with the ends of the earth, whether we travel or stay at home. Forgive us for thinking that we cannot make a difference, or for staying silent when we ought to be proclaiming the greatness of who You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would use our words and deeds to appropriately express our gratitude unto You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others in a way that sows seeds of Your goodness and grace deep into their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and proclaim Your greatness wherever we may be. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19