Tag Archive | Encouraging

Looking Up When Life Gets You Down

Looking Up When Life Gets You Down by Warren W. Wiersbe

When life falls apart, where is God? Does he care? Can he fix things? Does he really love us? In an uncertain world, people need to know that God is still in control, that he still cares for us and even suffers with us, and that he has a plan that cannot be defeated.In his compassionate and caring style, Warren W. Wiersbe offers beaten-down readers a positive treatment of suffering that reveals the Bible’s authoritative and comforting answers to their big questions. His faith-bolstering insight will show readers that, with God as their source of comfort, strength, and hope, they can weather the storms of life–and come out on top.

Free kindle book.


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Send me what thou wilt …

Can you say this with Spurgeon?

“Send me what thou wilt, my God,

so long as it comes from thee;

never came there an ill portion from thy table to any of thy children.”

“Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my care?’

Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.

His method is sublime, his heart profoundly kind,

God never is before his time, and never is behind.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, August 5th



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How Is It With Your Soul?

Do you have someone to ask you the tough questions like:

How is it with your soul?

What are your views of God and Christ and heaven?

Or do you ever ask the hard questions yourself?

I have been in churches all my life and I can only remember once a lady sitting down and asking me similar questions.

During a fellowship meal she asked me about my Bible study time. Not the general what are you studying question, but the what are you really learning and grappling with questions. It wasn’t done to be nosy or to check me out but she was genuinely interested in encouraging me in my Bible Study time.

Do you step out of your comfort zone and encourage another in their Bible Study?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. ESV

1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. ESV

Do you see a brother or sister seeming to fade away from church and not ask?

Hebrews 3:12-13
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
ESV

How is it with your soul?


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Glorious Morning

The Morning Glories are blooming!

Psalms 90:5-6
5 … like grass that is renewed in the morning:
6 in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
ESV

It is a beautiful morning here.

After weeks of rain and lots of it (over 14 inches one weekend!) we have had a couple of sunny days. It is beginning to dry out some. This morning is bright blue sky with not a cloud in sight.

Last night was cool enough that I got up and closed the bedroom windows.

This morning it was so cool that I had a cup of hot tea for breakfast.

Psalms 143:8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. ESV


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Lord of Even Our Food

Wow, I just happened to be pondering how the Lord has cared for His people through the years by providing food for them. I think I must be hungry. 🙂

Ever since the Fall of Man food has been an issue in one way or another. However, the Lord spends much time in the Bible pointing out how He was the Lord over everything, even the food we eat. Think of the times in Scripture that feeding of the Lord’s people is mentioned.

JosephSaved grain in the seven good years for the seven lean years, all due to God’s warning.

Genesis 41:35-36
35 And let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh for food in the cities, and let them keep it.
36 That food shall be a reserve for the land against the seven years of famine that are to occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish through the famine.”
ESV

Israelites in the desert were fed manna, quail, and water, for forty years no less!

Exodus 16:31 Now the house of Israel called its name manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. ESV

Exodus 16:35 The people of Israel ate the manna forty years, till they came to a habitable land. They ate the manna till they came to the border of the land of Canaan. ESV

Exodus 16:12-13
12 “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'”
13 In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp.
ESV

Exodus 15:23-25
23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter; therefore it was named Marah.
24 And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?”
25 And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
ESV

Elisha

Made a whole city’s water healthy.

2 Kings 2:19-22
19 Now the men of the city said to Elisha, “Behold, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees, but the water is bad, and the land is unfruitful.”
20 He said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him.
21 Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have healed this water; from now on neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.”
22 So the water has been healed to this day, according to the word that Elisha spoke.
ESV

Purified the pot of poisonous stew

2 Kings 4:38-41
38 And Elisha came again to Gilgal when there was a famine in the land. And as the sons of the prophets were sitting before him, he said to his servant, “Set on the large pot, and boil stew for the sons of the prophets.”
39 One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were.
40 And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, “O man of God, there is death in the pot!” And they could not eat it.
41 He said, “Then bring flour.” And he threw it into the pot and said, “Pour some out for the men, that they may eat.” And there was no harm in the pot.
ESV

Fed 100 men from a small knapsack.

2 Kings 4:42-44
42 A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. And Elisha said, “Give to the men, that they may eat.”
43 But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred men?” So he repeated, “Give them to the men, that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.'”
44 So he set it before them. And they ate and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.
ESV

Jesus

Turned the water into wine.

John 2:1-8
1 On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.
3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.
ESV

Fed the 5,000 with the 5 loaves and 2 fish.

Luke 9:16-17
16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd.
17 And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.
ESV

Fed the 4,000 with 7 loaves and few fish.

Mark 8:6-8
6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd.
7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.
8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.
ESV

Those are just some samples of how the Lord will care for those whom He has called. Sometimes just having food to eat is more important than what we are eating. But the Lord is in control of it all. So thank Him and enjoy. 🙂


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The Lord Promises to Provide For All Our Needs

Here is a closer look at the subject of why we fear to obey the Lord and make excuses for our disobedience. This post covers the beginning principles of how we think wrong, faulty thinking, I Can’t Be a “Keeper At Home” Because ….

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. ESV

Notice this does not say every want but every need. Not everything we think we “need” is really a need. Have you ever written out every expense and divided them into the wants and needs categories?

Needs

Food
Shelter
Clothing

Wants

Cable TV
iPhones
New Car
Four Bedroom House

Divide every single thing you spend money on and just honestly see what category it truly should be in.

Also remember that just because we need shelter from the weather that does not mean that we have to have a particular type. God will provide but that does not always mean that we will have a large home with each child having their own bedroom. That is a want not a need.

Read this post for better insight into housing I Have a Confession to Make.

Are your housing choices made in order to meet others expectations?

Matthew 6:5-15

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
ESV

Notice “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” and “Give us this day our daily bread.

Our Heavenly Father knows what we need. He is not like some parents today who would rather have their alcohol or drugs than to feed “His” children. Our Father is perfect and holy He will do what is right at all times.

We in the US think that if our cabinets, pantry, freezer and refrigerator are not full we are suffering. While much of the world starves for food, we throw out more food than they will ever eat.

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?
32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
ESV

But it is not all just needs our Lord provides. When we trust in Him, He will also grant us the desires of our heart.

Psalms 37:4-5

4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act
.
ESV

There are so many verses that show that the Lord will meet our needs if we just trust in Him and seek His will.


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Neglect Doesn’t Take Work

What are you neglecting by just not doing anything about it?

God’s Word?

Proverbs 8:33 Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. ESV

God’s Justice and Love?

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. ESV

Luke 11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. ESV

Hospitality to strangers?

Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ESV

Doing good and sharing?

Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. ESV

 
Serving the widows?

Acts 6:1 Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. ESV

Salvation or the punishment for sins?

Hebrews 2:1-3
1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution,
3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
ESV

Oh, how easy it is to just ignore what we should be doing, looking for a better time, more energy, enthusiasm, etc.

Remember it takes no work to drift away or neglect something. Just like being in a boat, it takes no effort to drift down stream or to get stuck on a rock or to run ashore. Yet it takes intentional effort and work to move upstream.

What are you drifting away from?

What are you neglecting?


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What About a Single Woman?

With the discussion about wives and mothers a question was asked about single women and their place in Scripture.

That is a good question and below are several women that the Lord used to further His purposes. There are many more this is just a sampling. Some where later married and some were not.

~ The first that comes to mind is Miriam, Moses sister, evidence seems to be that she was unmarried. It would make sense because just think all the male children were being killed by Pharaoh. Miriam served the Lord and praised the Lord. Exodus 2, Exodus 15:20

~ Rahab, was a harlot in Jericho, whom the Lord used to aid the Israelites. She later was blessed to marry and have a child who was in the linage of Christ. Joshua 2, Joshua 6

~ Next I think of Ruth, who although a widow and childless, served the Lord by serving and caring for her widowed and depressed MIL Naomi, but the Lord blessed Ruth to later be married and to have a child who was in the linage of Jesus. Book of Ruth

Let’s jump to the NT.

~ Anna, at the temple, she was a long time widow that served the God in the Temple. She was quite revered by God by being allowed to see the Baby Jesus and know Him for who He truly was. Luke 2:36

~ Mary Magdalene was saved from a sinful life and she devoted herself to serving the Lord during His life here on earth. We do not know beyond that if she ever married or not. Matthew 27:55

~ Lydia, the seller of purple cloth, has no mention of a husband but she used her wealth in her business for aiding the missionaries and serving the Lord. Acts 16:14

~ There was also Mary and Martha that since they lived with their brother Lazarus would indicate at least then, they were not married yet they served the Lord and provide a place of peace and rest for Him. Luke 10: 38

~ Tabitha was raised from the dead so that she could continue to serve the Lord by caring for the widows. Acts 9:36

~ Many, many times there is the mention of a woman’s name in the Apostles’ letters to the church. Read through them and see. Some may have had unbelieving husbands but probably only a few because an unbelieving husband would have hindered the wife’s serving of the Lord. The only husband and wife team I can think of is Aquila and Priscilla who are mentioned many times. Acts 18:2

So be encouraged that because you are not married does not make you a second-class citizen in God’s Book. He may or may not decide to bring you a husband but no matter what, serve the Lord with all your heart and He will direct your paths. You are in a sense freer than a wife is or mother would be to serve the Lord.

1 Corinthians 7:34 And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. ESV

Proverbs 29:13 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. ESV

So serve the Lord with all your heart undivided by a husband or children until the Lord shows you His will in this area.

Whether or not you should marry or even have children is dependant on the Lord’s will. All He does is in order to bring Glory to Himself and to conform you to His image. If He has not blessed you with a husband or children you can be sure that it is in your own best interest for the time being.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. ESV


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Titus 2 – Parenting & Homeschooling

~Bren~ At Pieces from Me has written a very wise and thoughtful look at her second chance at parenting, this time her adopted children.

Parenting…The Advanced Course

Another change in this round of parenting, is the social scene for our children. We spend time as a family more than when we were raising the boys. Bud was always too busy with baseball, friends, activities, and we encouraged that. This time around those activities are very limited.

Many of us will never have a second round of children to parent like ~Bren~ does. Although some us may have children that stretch out our parenting such that we can learn from our parenting with our oldest and apply that to our youngest children.

Nevertheless, it is so important for us to be willing to learn from our own mistakes and successes. But the Lord has also instructed us to learn from the older women in Titus 2, women such as ~Bren~.

Titus 2:3-5

3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,
4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children
,
5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled
. ESV

However, we seem to be short on Titus 2 women in today’s society. Although I think there are many, many more women willing and qualified to teach the younger women than when I was young. I found very few willing and able to guide and lead a young mom. Even fewer that would base their instructions on the Bible. 🙁 Most of the women then were busy with their careers and most gave the impression, if not actually said, “I’ve served my time, I’m free, I’ll leave it all to the younger women.”

But today there is a resurgence of women staying home and caring for their families by giving up the supposed “glamour and fulfillment” of working away from home. There are even many women who have homeschooled their children for years and garnered much experience both good and bad. When I began my homeschooling journey I knew no homeschooled children or families. I would have loved to have a mom to guide me or let me ask questions.

Since we have graduated our oldest from homeschool I have become that older woman whether I want to or not. However, since we also have a four year old, it isn’t like I will be leaving the homeschool ranks anytime soon.

Older Women Wanted By Mary Pride

The younger women who responded to this call in 1985 found to their distress that few older women were available to serve as mentors and role models. Our parents’ generation had followed the model of a planned family of just a few kids, who were sent to public school. Our own mothers knew nothing about homeschooling; in fact, they were likely to be hostile to the notion. Far from supporting large families, older women in the church were more likely to treat any woman pregnant with her third or fourth child like she was mildly demented. Any women who wanted to stay at home and raise her own kids was automatically treated as a second-class citizen.

But I’m finding a different problem occurring today.

What is that problem?

Young women aren’t interested in having older Titus 2 women to guide and lead them.

Younger women seem to “know” everything and aren’t open to learning from the older Titus 2 women.

Why is that?

Is it an age issue, a cultural issue or just a maturity issue?

I think it is a maturity issue. Why? Because there are some young women who are desiring Titus 2 women to come alongside them, just not the majority of them.

Most of us have noticed the adult 20 – 30’s men who seem to be perpetual adolescents (Adultescents). They are characterized by their toys and video games even when they have a family and children to care for.

Many of today’s young women seem to be in a similar boat. They know everything and nothing can change their minds. Typical of the teenage years when many teens think they know everything and they are invincible to harm.

What happens when your peers are your biggest advisers?

1 Kings 12:6-11

6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?”
7 And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”
8 But he abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.
9 And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?”
10 And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you lighten it for us,’ thus shall you say to them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s thighs.
11 And now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.'”
ESV

Read the rest of the passage to see what happened by following his peers advice.

Apollos exhibited a teachable spirit:

Acts 18:26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately. ESV

Wisdom is learning from others.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. ESV

Proverbs 9:7-9
7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
ESV

Treasure wisdom and instruction everywhere you can but always remember to be Berean and compare it to the Scriptures.

Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” NIV

It just might save you alot of heartache later on.

So if you are the older Titus 2 woman be willing to teach the younger women to love their husbands and children and to serve the Lord so that the Word of God will not be blasphemed. Even in the face of rejection and scorn we should be obedient to God’s Word and His instructions. There is always someone younger than you that can benefit from Godly wisdom. Just make sure it is Godly wisdom and not worldly wisdom.

If you are the younger women (which we usually are younger than some) be willing to be taught by those older and wiser than yourself. You may save yourself much heartache in the long haul but most importantly you will be obedient to the Lord. Check all advice according to Scripture, you will learn no matter how bad the advice might could be, if you will go to God’s Word to see if the advice is true or not.


See also:

“Immature” Believers

What Is Your Response to a Rebuke?

Silly, Weak Willed Women Swayed by Strangers

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Taking A Stand In the Small Things


400 Students Defy ACLU and Stand to Recite Lord’s Prayer at Graduation

Leading up to the graduation ceremony, the ACLU demanded that Pace High School censor students from offering prayers or saying anything religious. In the end, members of the student body were not permitted to speak at the graduation.

The graduating class at the school, however, decided to react against the ACLU bullying by taking a stand at graduation. As soon as Principal Lay asked everyone to be seated at the ceremony, the graduating class remained standing and recited the Lord’s Prayer.

ACLU attorney Benjamin Stevenson told ABC Channel Three after the event: “Our feeling is that it’s regrettable that the students took over the ceremony to impose their religious views on the audience who may not have shared the same religious views.

“School officials have a responsibility to protect the silently held religious views of others.”

What true Christian would not have supported the students by even joining in?

Most of us would gladly defy the ACLU in a similar way.

But that is where the problem lies.

We would have no trouble standing for our faith with 400 other believers at such an event.

But what about standing for our faith daily? Alone?

That I’m afraid is much harder to do.

~ We will fight for the right to have our own Bibles to read, yet we don’t read the Bibles that we do have.

~ We will fight for the right to worship with others, yet we don’t attend worship if something better comes along.

~ We will fight for our freedom of speech, yet when given an opportunity to share the gospel we decline.

~ We will fight for the right to raise our children in the Lord, yet we do nothing differently than the average parent in the US.

~ We fight against the trash on TV, radio and in the media (foul language, sexuality, etc.), yet we watch the same shows everyone else does.

~ We will complain about the media’s use of the Lord’s name in vain, yet we will not correct the teen sitting near us in a restaurant.

~ We complain about how immodestly women are dressed, yet we allow our daughters to dress immodestly because that is all we can find at the stores.

Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ ESV

Luke 16:10-11
10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?
ESV

Are you unfaithful in the little things and yet think you will stand in the big things?

It is the little things that will destroy much fruit.

Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” ESV

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