The Lord’s Mind Boggling Blend Of Grace And The Law

Our Daily Bread

 

Grace

Perfect Grace

 

“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. John 8:11

Jesus’s teaching about absolute ideals and absolute grace seem contradictory.

Jesus never lowered God’s perfect ideal. In His response to the rich young ruler, He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). He told an expert in the law who inquired as to the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (22:37). No one has completely fulfilled those commands.

Yet the same Jesus tenderly offered absolute grace. He forgave an adulteress, a thief on the cross, a disciple who had denied ever knowing Him, and a man named Saul, who had made his mark persecuting Christians. Grace is absolute and all-encompassing, extending even to those who nailed Jesus to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” were among the last words He spoke on earth (Luke 23:34).

For years I felt so unworthy when considering Jesus’s absolute ideals that I missed any notion of His grace. Once I understood this dual message, however, I went back and found that the message of grace gusts through Jesus’s life and teachings.

Grace is for the desperate, the needy, the broken, those who cannot make it on their own. Grace is for all of us.

Father, Your all-encompassing grace washes over us and astonishes us. May we live today as people who enjoy Your complete forgiveness and a restored relationship with You.

Jesus fulfilled the perfect requirements of the law so that we may enjoy the perfect peace of His grace.

 

INSIGHT: The life of the apostle Paul is another example of God’s grace. Because of Paul’s past, he considered himself the most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and grace (1 Tim. 1:13–14). Although he was chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul also gave another reason he was chosen: “God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (v. 16 nlt). God had you and me in mind when He saved Paul—an awesome thought. If Paul, the worst of sinners, could be saved, then there is hope for everyone else. No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace.

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Suffering / Part 4 Of 8

Suffering is a doctrine that is found throughout the Word of God.  The Emerging Church totally ignores this teaching.  What would Job say if Joel Osteen said to him:  “Have your best life now?”  God builds us up through trials and tribulations, not through creature comforts and living on easy street.  Following are ten reasons why Christians suffer.  The list is not conclusive.  A couple of them will be mentioned in this posting with more to come.

Why Christians Suffer –

1)Suffering Silences Satan

The best example is the story of the patriarch Job.  When God pointed out to Satan what a good man Job was, the devil accused Job of doing it only for gain and profit which came to him materially because he feared the Lord.  In order to prove his point, God allowed Satan to take his possessions, health and family.  The result was that Satan was silenced.  Instead of murmuring, complaining, and becoming bitter, Job praised God and said:  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

How wonderful it is to see people love the Lord and smile while suffering.  The next time you feel like complaining, read the diary of Ann Frank.

2)Suffering Enables Us To Glorify God

The eleventh chapter of John tells us about the death of Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus.  Jesus could have healed Lazarus, but allowed him to die in order to teach a lesson to Lazarus and his two sisters.  Jesus said in John 11:4:  “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified by it.”

….to be continued

“Go Ye.”

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”     Mark 16:15

We construct beautiful buildings for worship, then struggle to get people in.  We have eloquent preachers but often no unsaved are there to hear them!  We seem to have things back to front.  The Lord’s final message before He ascended was “Go ye.”  Use your feet to go into all the world to preach the gospel.  He is saying to the church today, “Go ye into the high street and market; go to the homes and playgrounds; go to your friends and neighbors.  Whatever else you do please go.  I am waiting to make you a blessing if only you will go.”  A conference held some years ago was entitled, “Go Out or Die Out.”  How true.  Is yours a dying assembly?   -David Croudace

Go then and tell them of Jesus, it was for them He was slain

Give them, O give them the Gospel, let not their cry be in vain!  -O. Smith

Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip ~ Synopsis

This trip is now in the rear view mirror, yielding memories and a spiritual impact that will be revealed in eternity.  Only God knows all that was accomplished.  There were sixty one total professions of faith, as seven American pastors spoke in eight Romanian Baptist Churches in the vicinity of Oradea.  A wonderful pastor’s conference followed in Satu Mare, Romania.

The trip ended on an extremely high note for me.  Once again, I had challenges at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW).  [The first DFW adventure is on this blog site under 2012 Mission Trip To England/Uganda, Part 5].  We left Budapest early in the morning as we commenced our thirty hour journey home.  The officials in Budapest would not check my luggage all the way to Florida, which meant I had to retrieve it in Dallas, and check it in once again.  I already had little time between flights, and now had luggage to deal with.  Add to this- going through Customs, entering security once again, and traveling to another terminal to catch the final flight home.  Humanly speaking, I thought I may miss the flight, and prayed about this concern for several weeks.  There was a bit of good news in our flight from Heathrow Airport /London to Dallas, Texas.  Our flight came in twenty minutes early, which is common with flights that come from “across the pond,” since picking up a tailwind can take time off of the flight.  But still, there was too much to do in very little time.  I was wondering where my God was at my first check point – Customs.  This station was a royal mess in Dallas, with several options that served only to confuse the passengers.  I asked a fellow passenger which method would be fastest for an American citizen.  He suggested simply having my passport scanned.  I went to that station and saw hundreds of people who were “deer in the headlights,” not knowing how to place their passport in the scanner, and of course no one was there to explain how it is done because this was a government operation.  I placed my passport in the scanner what seemed like twelve times without success.  I was beginning to envision a night in the terminal and catching a morning flight.  Then God entered the picture:  An airport employee was right next to me and he correctly read my frustration.  It was a miracle just to see him, as moments prior to this, absolutely no airport worker was anywhere in sight.  He seemed to just materialize.  He said:  “He would help me.”  I had NO IDEA how much he would help me.  He scanned my passport in a heartbeat, and I thought that would be the end of it.  Then he said:  “Just stay with me, and I will put you on your flight, but you must stay with me.”  He was helping a handicapped gentleman at the same time that he was assisting me.  He then helped a lady with a small child, giving them a place in the line in front of us, as a true gentleman would do.  He expedited my obligations, through escorting me past existing lines that I would have been in if I were alone.  He explained to me that God gives preference to some, and since I was with him, I was able to receive it.  I wholly agreed with him with a grateful heart.  By now, I realized he was the answer to my many prayers and I told him so.  As it turned out, his name was James Smith, and he was a fellow pastor from a nondenominational church.  This is what we call a “God thing.”  As we progressed from one check point to another, I was still a bit nervous, with the boarding time rapidly approaching.  James said:  “Do not worry, I am use to this, and I will get you there on time.”  If I were alone, I would have been running, but James Smith’s mere presence cooled my jets and I walked with him.  I never met a man like James, and I told him so.  [The Texans I travelled with saw the one helping me as they retrieved their luggage.  One of them previously offered to drive me to the terminal of my departure, but realized that I was in very good hands.  They were amazed.]  We came to my departure gate while the passengers were boarding, and James escorted me to the front, and then took me all the way through the tunnel, and unto the airplane.  I had no idea that when James said:  “I will help you,” to what extent he would do so.  No, you cannot make this stuff up.  I ask you, what are the odds for circumstances like this to happen to anyone?  I will tell you – zero, zilch, nada, forget it.

  What is the moral of the story?  God told me that if you take care of your mission assignment, then I will assist you with the details over which you have no control.  Thank you Jesus.  This was a blessing to me because it was also a Divine revelation that I was in the center of His perfect will.

The future entries for this Hungary/Romania 2017 Mission Trip will consist of several parts and give a detailed day by day account of the entire mission trip.

Maranatha and Forever Thankful, Pastor Steve

Hungary/Romania 2017 …on the fly

As mentioned, a detailed synopsis of this trip will be provided after the conclusion, giving my thoughts time to settle in.  Right now, we are in the midst of the mission trip, and I will share a few of the highlights up until this point.  The evidence of intercessary prayer is with us, as things are progressing beautifully.  The travel has been fine and without incident, our team is of one accord and one spirit, no one has been ill, and the logistics and accomodations are all great.  We attribute this to the prayers of the saints.  We covet your continual prayers.  There have been peaceful demonstrations throughout Romania, related to the populace’s rightful grievances against their government.  After preaching last night, the host pastor and translater had dinner with me and we observed protests in Oradea right next to our restaurant.  They were peaceful protests.  The Romanian people are anything except violent.  More importantly, in the service prior to our fellowship, we were blessed with a packed church with absolutely no extra seats available, and we were also blessed with four professions of faith.  Because of the Lord’s blessings and your faithful prayers, the Holy Spirit is working and convicting hearts.  It does not get any better than this, this side of heaven.  The Romanians who we have met in the many churches are red hot for the Lord and just waiting for leadership, teaching and preaching.  In other words, the pump is already primed.  We have an open window of opportunity in this wonderful nation and would be foolish to not take advantage of it.  Last night is why I feel led to be a part of this dynamic ministry! 

Oradea, an ancient city, is filled with archaeology from both Roman and medieval times.  It was formerly called Dacia, the northern most outpost in the Roman Empire, after Romania was conquered by the Emperor Trajan.  Dacia was the last province to fall to the Romans.  As mentioned, this is a presentation of a few highlights with much more to follow.

In His Service, Pastor Steve  <><

Obedience

Obedience to the commandments of God, is the pathway to happiness, joy and peace…

John 14:21  King James Version (KJV)

21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

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Suffering / Part 3

Our trials, tribulations and suffering build us up.  Who has not heard of the common story of the overly protected child who later has trouble functioning in school and everyday life?  The devotional below reveals how trees placed in a protective space, collapsed under their own weight.  Why?  Because they were never exposed to the winds of adversity.  They never had a chance to develop strong roots and a solid trunk!  God grows us, and in order to grow us, He allows us to suffer and be tested.  Without a Goliath in his life, the strength of David’s character would have been dormant and not seen by man.  Goliath did not make David a heroic man of faith.  Goliath simply revealed what was already in David.  Trials do NOT make or break us, they reveal what is in us.

Following the devotionals from Our Daily Bread, the topic of suffering will be further expounded upon.  In Christ, Pastor Steve 

 

 Growing in the Wind

Growing in the Wind

Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him! Mark 4:41

Imagine a world without wind. Lakes would be calm. Falling leaves wouldn’t blow in the streets. But in still air, who would expect trees to suddenly fall over? That’s what happened in a three-acre glass dome built in the Arizona desert. Trees growing inside a huge windless bubble called Biosphere 2 grew faster than normal until suddenly collapsing under their own weight. Project researchers eventually came up with an explanation. These trees needed wind stress to grow strong.

Jesus let His disciples experience gale-force winds to strengthen their faith (Mark 4:36–41). During a night crossing of familiar waters, a sudden storm proved too much even for these seasoned fishermen. Wind and waves were swamping their boat while an exhausted Jesus slept in the stern. In a panic they woke Him. Didn’t it bother their Teacher that they were about to die? What was He thinking? Then they began to find out. Jesus told the wind and waves to be quiet—and asked His friends why they still had no faith in Him.

If the wind had not blown, these disciples would never have asked, “Who is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).

Today, life in a protective bubble might sound good. But how strong would our faith be if we couldn’t discover for ourselves His reassuring “be still” when the winds of circumstance howl?

Father in heaven, please help us to remember that anything that frightens us comes with an invitation to find the strength of knowing and trusting You.

God never sleeps.

INSIGHT:In Mark 4:35–5:43 the gospel writer tells of four miracles to prove that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God” and therefore has absolute authority over the forces of this physical world (4:35–41), over the powers of the spiritual world (5:1–20), over physical illnesses (5:24–34), and over death (5:35–43). These miracles were designed to answer the question, “Who is this?” (4:41). The first miracle was Jesus calming the storm on Galilee. Because the Sea of Galilee is in a basin about 700 feet below sea level and is surrounded by mountains, sudden and violent storms are common (v. 37). That Jesus was tired and soundly asleep showed that He was fully human (v. 38); that the storm instantly obeyed Him showed He was divine (v. 39).

By Mart DeHaan | See Other Authors

 

  1. valedwards

    Because I live near Biosphere 2, I began a wonderful discussion with my husband about stress in our life and how God is asking us why we are so afraid which then led to prayer. Thank you Mart for your inspirational message. It was very timely in my l

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  2. Charlie

    It is such an honor to lift up in prayer the requests on this forum. Thank you for sharing, and to hear God say I am with you, causes our heart to know His strength and presence.

  3. bofosu

    Oh, what a Mighty God we serve. Hmmm, this a timely word for me. Confirmation of what God is doing behind the scenes. Greater is HE that is I’m me that whatever is opposing me that is in World. Thank you Lord that you WILL calm every storm that rise

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  4. Rocky

    Thank you Mart DeHaan, I’ve always been intrigued by this passage, I agree with what you point out that Jesus was fully human and divine.

    But when he was awaken by his disciples, and he questions their faith. Now this is before we read that they ask “who is this?”. With all that Jesus had taught them already, should they have had enough faith to have commanded the wind and the sea to calm down?

    I know personally, my faith has grown and I have learned through my personal trials and losses, but the bible teaches us to seek understanding like we’re seeking fine jewels, I must tell you, that since I have been seeking to understand what God requires of me, my knowledge and understanding of our relationship has caused my faith to grow more than any trial or loss has ever made it grow.

    Although, I do believe that my trials, losses, & understanding of who God is and what He requires of me all work together.

    1. bofosu

      Rocky, I noticed that the Disciples questioned who Jesus is after all the miracles that He has performed with them , around them and before their very eyes. This is the revelation I got when I read this….. God does wondrous things in our Lives. H

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  5. servant50

    God is still in control and I thank him for all his grace and mercy, because I would not be here without them, Amen!

    1. holypat2014

      Amen and Amen!

    2. Rocky

      servant50, I have to respectfully disagree when you say “God is still in control” the bible teaches us that God is in control of the atmosphere, but we are to be of self control.

      If God was in control of everything, we would be like robots, we would not even have to worry about combing our hair, because He would be in control.

      The bible teaches, the day will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine, but only what their itchy ears want to hear.

      If the word of God is so powerful, why aren’t our little one liners actual bible quotes? Instead they are cute little sayings that man has made up. I’m reminded of the one little almost chant that I often hear when I walk into many churches. When the person behind the pulpit says “God is good all the time” and the audience response with “all the time, God is good” yes it’s true, and it sounds good, but it’s not scripture. I believe that if we’re going to chant something it should be scripture and sound something like “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

      Just my personal thoughts.

      1. servant50

        Rocky, thank you for your thoughts! And my saying of God is still in control meaning is that he’s in controls of the atmosphere (wind, waves, healing, saving and peace that surpasses all understanding). Therefore, however you word your saying or I wo

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        1. bofosu

          yes, He is in control. God is the one who can turn every situation around when we seek him, when we take our petitions to him in prayer and supplication. God is the one in control when we pray for salvation for us and our families. He is the one in c

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  6. seeker1944

    A great message. Please join me in praying for our son in law as he is battling cancer for the third time. His faith is strong. We pray for healing, but I pray that he gets close to God in this and has a peace that passes all understanding. Thank

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    1. dakwil

      Praying for you! Thankful that he has faith that has been strengthened through the battles with cancer.

    2. ynothis

      In JESUS name Amen! I’m in agreement with you.

    3. canadian angels

      I have prayed a prayer of healing for your son in law. I have witnessed miracles of healing for those who were given no hope by their doctors but had prayer warriors on their side. Visualize his healing as you pray every day & keep the faith

    4. bofosu

      I stand in agreement with you and our fellow brethren. That he is healed by the blood of the Lamb. He will come and testify and overcome the enemy of cancer by the word of his testimony. In Jesus Name. It seems today is a timely word for him. Ame

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    5. servant50

      seeker1944, I am praying for your son-in-law that he will keep the faith and in trust in God and have peace that surpasses all understanding. And I am praying the same for the family too. I too have been battling stage IV cancer since diagnosed f

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  7. a servant

    Esther’s Child, please go to YouTube and search for James Cleveland “Peace Be Still.” You should be able to enjoy the tune. God Bless You.

    1. hbee

      Thanks, a servant! James Cleveland’s rendition of “Peace Be Still” is usually the first song that comes to mind when I read or hear any part of the miracle.

  8. poohpity

    I have often thought that Jesus knew the strong winds were going to blow and still fell asleep. He forewarned us that we would come across several trials, troubles, suffering during this life in this physical body but offered us comfort in knowing th

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    1. poohpity

      The Biosphere 2 has run into several problems trying to emulate nature so it failed. It is about a 2 hour drive from where I live. I hope the one thing they learned is God created something wonderful that all works together and everything has purpose

      See More

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ead: Matthew 10:37–42
Bible in a Year: Genesis 36–38; Matthew 10:21–42

Whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.—Matthew 10:39

When I married my English fiancé and moved to the United Kingdom, I thought it would be a five-year adventure in a foreign land. I never dreamed I’d still be living here nearly twenty years later, or that at times I’d feel like I was losing my life as I said goodbye to family and friends, work, and all that was familiar. But in losing my old way of life, I’ve found a better one.

The upside-down gift of finding life when we lose it is what Jesus promised to His apostles. When He sent out the twelve disciples to share His good news, He asked them to love Him more than their mothers or fathers, sons or daughters (Matt. 10:37). His words came in a culture where families were the cornerstone of the society and highly valued. But He promised that if they would lose their life for His sake, they would find it (v. 39).

We don’t have to move abroad to find ourselves in Christ. Through service and commitment—such as the disciples going out to share the good news of the kingdom of God—we find ourselves receiving more than we give through the lavish love the Lord showers on us. Of course He loves us no matter how much we serve, but we find contentment, meaning, and fulfillment when we pour ourselves out for the well-being of others. —Amy Boucher Pye

When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Isaac Watts

Every loss leaves a space that can be filled with God’s presence.

INSIGHT: When we choose to follow Christ, we won’t necessarily be popular. Our highest calling is not self-promotion or self-preservation. A hero jumps into deep water to save someone who is drowning, but that same person could well lose his or her life (to quote Jesus) in the process of seeking to save someone else. Jesus indicated that even family members (normally our closest natural connection) may be squared off against us. While others may become our obstinate opponents because of Christ, we are obligated to show unselfishness because of Him (Phil. 2:3-5). “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). It’s a profound paradox. To lose our life for Him means to find it. Has there been a time when the choice to follow Christ has cost you? Jim Townsend

New episode from JD Farag “Mid-East Prophecy Update – January 15th, 2017” Fresh off the press! JD Farag just published a new podcast episode.

This is totally current end times prophecy happening as this message was given – yesterday, Sunday, 1/15/17.  It revolves around the decision of the United Nations to make Palestine a state, thus fulfilling the Two State Solution.  This is an excellent Biblical interpretation of current events.

 

Suffering / Part 2

In the next parts on this doctrine of suffering, we will use many illustrations from the book “Broken Things and Why We Suffer,” written by  the late Dr. M. R. DeHaan, the founder of the Radio Bible Class and its speaker for twenty-seven years.  He was a practicing physician before receiving his call to ministry, and subsequently he pastored several churches prior to founding the Radio Bible Class.  This book is a mere 95 pages, and by far the best book I have ever read on suffering beside the Bible itself.  You and I suffer because of God’s great love for us, as he chisels us into His image.  Trust Him.   In Christ, Pastor Steve

 

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People often do not care to discuss it, but it is suffering – A Natural Progression Of Christian Maturity

So many people do not like to even consider this topic because it is something the world does not like.  We like to look out for number one, satisfy the senses, and look and feel good.  Let us see what the Bible says about the Christian and suffering- 

 

2 Timothy 3:12 King James Version (KJV)

12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

The scripture tells us that NOT some or a few will suffer, but ALL, so we should expect and be ready for it.  If I do not suffer and experience persecution, the scripture tells me that I am not living godly in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10  King James Version (KJV)  Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

1 Peter 4:12-13  King James Version (KJV)

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

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On farmland, there can be no blessing without effort, and no harvest without plowing.  The ground must be broken up before anything can be planted.  Before a thing can be made, something must be broken.  Before a house is built, earth, rocks and trees must be removed.  Before there can be life, there must be death.  Before there can be joy, there must be weeping.  The pain of the birth precedes the joy of the newborn child.  THERE IS NO MAKING WITHOUT BREAKING.  Life is full of broken promises and broken hopes, shattered dreams, and unfulfilled ideals.  No one can escape them.

As followers of God though, we know that broken things are the assurance that God is making something.  Romans 8:28 says it all:   28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Our heartache, weakness, sickness, pain, tragedy and bereavement are for the glory of God.

Only broken things are useful to God.  In Judges, chapter 7 we have the familiar story of Gideon.  When Gideon’s men attacked the enemy, they had to break the pitchers to let the light within, shine forth in the darkness.  The visual effect scared the enemy and they fled in disorder throughout the night.  Instead of 300 men, they thought there were 300 companies.

Let us examine the broken pitchers.  The pitchers were earthen vessels, and hidden in them were flaming torches of light.  We who are saved are the earthen vessels to whom the Lord has trusted the blessing of the Holy Spirit.  Within us is our burning torch, the Holy Spirit, by whom we can do all things.  We need to be broken before our light can shine.  It is only then that we experience a life of victory and power.

I Corinthians 11:24  Paul quotes Jesus   “…this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.”  Without the broken body of the Lord Jesus Christ, we could not be made whole.  God knows how everything must be broken before it can be used fruitfully.  A wild horse must be broken and tamed before we can use it.

…to be continued in Part 3.

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