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Hmmm…

April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

Jesus not only said He was the Messiah. He proved it. As mighty men of God we must do likewise- not only say we are a Christian but be one!

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2187

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 14.61b,62

“Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Are we willing to declare who we are at the risk of scornful death? Jesus knew who He was. What He desires is for us to know who we are in His Name. We are God’s people. That means God is in control and is the ultimate authority. The Messiah serves God first and foremost. When Jesus answered the high priest it was not with a simple “I am.” He went further by giving him the full picture of the Messiah who sits at the right hand of God and who will come in the clouds for the final judgment. The high priest, the temple leadership, the Roman authority and all the people of the world past, present and future will be under His discerning eye. The high priest and the temple leadership was there to judge Jesus but in actuality they were and would be the ones judge.

Jesus taught “Judge not lest you be judged.” He also said “In the measure by which you judge others so you will be judged.” The question of the ownership of decisions and the actions resulting from them is in full bloom. By the actions of the high priest, judgment is actually coming to its fruition. And truth be told, the question of ownership is fully in God’s Hands. He has owned the process of salvation by sending His Son. Because of the heaping on His Son of all the sins that ever have been and will ever be, God will have to judge His own Son and condemn Him to death “once” and “for all…people.” But, God is also owning the power of love to save even His own Son from the ultimate penalty eternal separation from His presence. Because of Jesus we are spared this penalty as well and given what we do not deserve- eternal life. All we have to do is to own up to Jesus as the Messiah and our Savior.

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For those leading God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For a spiritual awakening to happen in North Korea that will impact for good the decisions of leadership there and around the world
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others instead of man’s agenda leading to the Abomination of Desolation
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, the JSMC coalition and the people of Reunion
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition including MF

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation is being met and only by the power of God is it being achieved and is a testimony to others to trust in Him
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing me for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, thank You for loving us so much that You made it possible for us to receive the gift of life in the name of Jesus by whom we live, serve and pray; confessing Him as Messiah and Savior of the world. AMEN.

Hmmm…

April 27, 2016

April 27, 2016

Jesus knows us and understands us better than we do ourselves. The more we trust Him with us the more we can learn about who we are as strong people of faith whom God loves and believes in. We will fall in this world but we are not meant for failure. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

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2186

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 14.31,70b-72

“But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.’ And all the others said the same. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’ He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’ Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

In the midst of our best intentions to be mighty men of God, we are still weak men. This is why we need God in our heart, mind, body, soul and spirit. This is why we need Jesus in our lives. Without this intimate and engaged relationship with Jesus then our lives are just that- good intentions. Only God can work through our messes and failures to bring out what is good and purposeful for His people. We can make small fixes on our own, little course adjustments, but they amount to putting tape on a leaky hose. Once we stop one leak we are bound to find another and another. With Jesus, we are not getting fixes but renewal and improvement. Just as when we break a bone, properly mended the bone actually becomes stronger. When we bring our brokenness to Christ He will heal us and make us stronger.

Sadly, our understanding and confession of brokenness comes when the awful truth is revealed and we are at the point of feeling utter failure and despair. We don’t want to see the worst in ourselves. But, we do. No one, apart from God, sees it better than ourselves. But, we do a pretty good job of insulating ourselves to the truth. In actuality, we are not insulating ourselves against the truth. We are trying to keep it under wraps so that no one else will see it. But, God sees right to the heart of the matter. This is why He owned the process of saving us from ourselves and our enemy, Satan. Peter had to go through this journey as well. His boldness for Christ and the understanding he had of their joint mission in the world was revealed in “I will never disown You. I will die with You and for You. You can count on me to be there to the very end if needed.” But, Jesus knew differently. He gave Him every opportunity to simply say “Lord, I am not as strong as I think I am or want to be. I want to be the man who will not disown You no matter the circumstance. But, I fear You are right and what You say will be the truth. Help me!” If Peter had been like the man with the demon-possessed son at the foot of the Mount of Transfiguration who cried out “I believe but help me in my unbelief” then there would certainly be a different story in our gospel. It doesn’t mean Jesus wouldn’t have been crucified, that truth was unchangeable. But, it would have been different. Regardless, Jesus needed Peter to accept who he was before Christ so that he could be who Jesus knew he could be after.
It took that utter failure to break Peter in order for Jesus to heal him with mercy, grace and strength.

He is waiting to do the same for you and me if we will own up to ourselves and own Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For a spiritual awakening to happen in North Korea that will impact for good the decisions of leadership there and around the world
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others instead of man’s agenda leading to the Abomination of Desolation
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, the JSMC coalition and the people of Qatar
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition including MF

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation is being met and only by the power of God is it being achieved and is a testimony to others to trust in Him
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing me for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, just as we are we offer ourselves to You in the name of Jesus by whom we live, serve and pray. Pour out Your Spirit on us and let it flow through us to mend our brokenness and make us strong for the gospel. AMEN.

Hmmm…

April 26, 2016

April 26, 2016

The truth is that only one person was destined to betray Jesus and his name was Judas. The course for everyone else’s life was to portray and convey the gospel of Christ before all the world so they would know the truth and accept Him as the personal Lord and Savior. What you are meant to do- go and do so quickly!

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2185

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 14.17-20

“When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, He said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray Me — one who is eating with Me.’ They were saddened, and one by one they said to Him, ‘Surely You don’t mean me?’ ‘It is one of the Twelve,” He replied, ‘one who dips bread into the bowl with Me.'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

It is a more dramatic portrayal if we had a picture of Judas dipping his bread into a cup of wine at the same time with Jesus as these words were spoken. All eyes would have been focused on Jesus and put two and two together. We would assume that to be true. The truth is that Judas had already conspired to make Jesus’ arrest and trial happen. We know that from his response to Jesus’ teaching concerning the woman who anointed Him with expensive perfume. Judas had taken ownership of his course of action. We do not know his intent or purpose- disappointment in Jesus or the hope of forcing Jesus’ hand to assume the role Judas and others wanted from their Messiah. Regardless of Judas’ purpose, his actions put in motion the fulfillment of prophecy. The snowball was rolling downhill and it would end up in an avalanche of grace. What others may have intended for harm became God’s opportunity to offer salvation to the history of the world once and for all. All the pieces were coming together like pavers in a sidewalk. The road to destiny was paved with good intentions and a singularity only God could see. The gate of opportunity was small and the road still had some twists and turns yet to experience. But, there was no turning back. Prophecy would be fulfilled and God’s Word would have its final say.

So what will we hear in this gospel story of the Last Supper? Will we embrace the call of urgency “to do what we are called to do?” Will we still find it easier to not search out God’s purpose for our lives so that we do not have to answer to that call in our heart, mind and spirit to “go and do quickly”? I am not talking about betraying Jesus as Judas did. I am talking about missing out on the opportunity to proclaim the truth of God’s love. If we do not share the gospel and live it out in our lives then who may, or will, miss out on meeting Jesus and calling Him “Lord and Savior”? In a way that is betraying Jesus. Jesus would not allow Judas to do anything else but own his course of action. Jesus knew the measure of his heart, mind and spirit. Jesus also knew the course that had been set for Him. These things had to happen. But, there was a choice still. Was there a moment of hesitation in Judas’ mind? He had the thirty pieces of silver in his pocket. The weight of it was a reminder. He could have already given it to the poor and made good on his call of accountability to others such as the woman in Bethany. Maybe it was to be an opportunity to confront Jesus with “see this?” But, Jesus would not give him that opportunity. Jesus knew Judas. He knew him from the first. Now it was time for Judas to truly own his course of discipleship and “put his money where his heart was.”

Our question has to be “What will we do with this Jesus?” Will we put it all on the line for what we believe? Right or wrong, we will have to make a decision about our relationship with Jesus. The moment will come in our lives when our true intention will be revealed undeniably. Each of us will be given the opportunity to betray or portray Christ. It happens daily. And because Jesus has already given His life for us then we do not have to worry about getting Him to prove who He is as I believe Judas intended. All we have to do is to bear witness to who we are in Christ. Let His light shine in and through you into all the world! Do not hid it under a bushel or a table. Be a city set on a hill gleaming with the glory of God. Own who you are in Christ and be the man of God you are meant to be.

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For a spiritual awakening to happen in North Korea that will impact for good the decisions of leadership there and around the world
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others instead of man’s agenda leading to the Abomination of Desolation
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, the JSMC coalition and the people of Puerto Rico
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition including MF

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation is being met and only by the power of God is it being achieved and is a testimony to others to trust in Him
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing me for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, we know the truth because You have shown it to us time and again. Help us to be Your witnesses in all the world sharing the joy and the authority of the gospel in the name of Jesus by whom we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

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Hmmm…

April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

In our giving and in our living, we must remember to honor God graciously and love one another sacrificially just as He has extended both grace and love to us in Jesus Christ.

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2184

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 14.3

“While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Jesus would say “Wherever the gospel will be preached what she has done for me will be told as well in her memory.” Interesting to note that only in the Gospel of Matthew and Mark will we find this story. But, thankfully for their decision to include it in their gospels we are blessed with a lesson of enduring ownership of Jesus as the Christ. Jesus spoke to those who condemned the woman for “wasting” such an expensive perfume saying “She is anointing me for my burial.” Her gift was one of thanksgiving and honor. We do not know who the woman was or what her connection was to Jesus. We do know the cost of the perfume was 300 denarii, or nearly a year’s wages. We remember the woman in the temple who was praised for giving the last of her few coins to the poor. Now, we see praise for a woman who has bestowed lavishly an honor on Jesus. Each gift stands in contrast to those in vicinity. The poor woman in comparison to the outlandish Pharisee who makes a show of his wealth as if it were a sign of true righteousness. This woman in comparison to the uninspired disciples who still haven’t fully comprehended what was about to happen to Jesus in this Passover season. The poor woman owned up to the needs of the poor and considered them far greater than her own. She was acting in faith trusting that God would take care of her as she was caring for others. This woman owned up to the need to bless Jesus as none had yet done because she may never have another chance to do so.

But, there is more to this story than this. We see some of the disciples and those who were dining at Simon’s house rebuking her for not taking care of the poor by selling the perfume and making an offering of it. Their ownership of the moment was judgment instead of discernment, condemnation instead of worship. And that ownership goes further as we see Judas’ indignation becoming the straw which broke the camel’s back. His lack of understanding was the final motivation to sell Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver. His ownership of what the Messiah should be and should be doing was far different than that Jesus was portraying. Instead of following Jesus, Judas was directing Him. Instead of learning from Jesus, Judas was moving on in his own direction. Instead of humbling himself before Jesus, Judas lifted himself above Jesus by deciding for Him his own purpose.

How shall we honor Jesus? Our lives of faith ought to stand in contrast to the world. We are to be motivated by spirit and truth. We are to honor and glorify God in our words and actions. We are to seize the opportunities to declare to others the call to serve God and man in undying love. Whether we give out of our poverty or out of our riches, it is the spirit of the gift that defines its purpose and its power. But, when we expect payment ourselves for doing what we think is right then we begin to walk down a path which becomes a slippery slope. We are receiving grace that we do not deserve. How shall we respond to that gift? Begging for chances to share grace or bemoaning the fact that God isn’t doing what what want Him to do for us?

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For a spiritual awakening to happen in North Korea that will impact for good the decisions of leadership there
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others instead of man’s agenda leading to the Abomination of Desolation
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, the JSMC coalition and the people of Portugal
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation is being met and only by the power of God is it being achieved and is a testimony to others to trust in Him
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing me for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, may the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts and works of our hands bring glory and honor to You in the name of Jesus by whom we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

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Hmmm…

April 24, 2016

April 24, 2016

Before Jesus could accept God’s complete will for His life scripture says He had to “go a little farther.” He went farther. He fell down. He prayed. He got up and went the whole way! Just when you think you have gone as far as you can go follow the pattern set by Christ and experience the blessing of eternal hope, peace, love and joy. It isn’t easy but it isn’t impossible.

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2183

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 14.35-36

“Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. ‘Abba, Father, He said, ‘everything is possible for You. Take this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Jesus was already feeling the burden of responsibility. It was one thing to know the cross was before Him. He knew this all too well as His Heavenly Father sent Him into the world. He knew it because the Word of God spoken in the prophets shared His same spirit. But, knowing it and living it are two different things. Jesus was living with the burden of mens’ sin and its consequence which was death. Jesus was going to experience something in His eternal life no heavenly being would ever experience. I think we tend for forget that humanity of Jesus which makes Him uniquely our Savior. Other religion leaders and founders were men who were touched by God. Jesus was the Son of God touched by men. This was a truth Jesus had to own for Himself. It was His Father’s will for Him to die. Do not think that was an easy reality for God to bear either. The grief of the Father was visited on the Temple in earthquake, wind and fire. Its foundations shook, the storm winds blew, the veil was torn, the ornamental and sacrificial pyres were scattered. I wonder if one of them did not happen to fall on the veil and cause it to burn as well. Ownership of a decision is a commitment to experience the passion of others as if it were your own. Jesus felt it burning in Him in the Garden. His body ached for deliverance from what was going to happen because He was torn asunder just as the Temple veil would be. In His flesh He pleaded “NO!.” In His Spirit He confessed “YES!”

Mighty men, we must take into our heart, mind, soul and spirit this truth- we are men of God and thus God’s men. We are flesh and spirit, too. We were made in the image of the Godhead- Three in One. In Christ, we are remade in that same image. We could not and cannot do this on our own. We cannot survive life by our own volition. The result of such efforts is eternal death and dying partnered with Satan whose sole desire was to be apart from God instead of a part with God. Instead, we must confess to God with Christ our Savior- “Not my will but Thine be done.” We must do more than say it as if we know it. We must live it because we believe it. To make this confession is our confession of faith. It is not enough to say “I accept Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God and declare He is my Lord and Savior.” That confession is only the beginning of the end of death’s reign in our life and rule over our life. What we must do is live to become so much a part of God that we would be willing to lay down our lives for others. We must walk the path of selfless concern with the authority and passion of God’s love for our fellow man. Owning this truth is only validated by our actions. This is where Jesus’ teaching and command “Take up your cross and follow me” meets the road that stretches out before us.

For Jesus it would be a journey of less than two miles by foot. But, by His Spirit and Heart it would be a journey that will last forever. How shall we measure the ownership of our life’s journey? (Chapter 14 provides case studies to help us understand our answer better.)

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For those leading God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For a spiritual awakening to happen in North Korea that will impact for good the decisions of leadership there
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others instead of man’s agenda leading to the Abomination of Desolation
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, the JSMC coalition and the people of Poland
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation is being met and only by the power of God is it being achieved and is a testimony to others to trust in Him
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, as the road stretches out before us we are grateful for Your company and Your leadership as we go in the name of Jesus by whom we live, serve and pray. Strengthen our resolve to seek out and abide by Your Will be done. AMEN.

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