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2402

August 20, 2017

Let us be the BEST we have ever been as 2017 mighty men!

HIS WORD for TODAY

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.'”  (Philippians 1. 21)

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

I was brought back around to this passage of God’s Word from a different angle.  In truth, I was surprised as this scripture spoke in my head.  I am not sure why I should be surprised.  God knew it was needed for today’s conversation after worship.  He knew I needed to be prepared for it so that a further connection could be made.  Indeed, God is fully aware of what we need.  He doesn’t respond to our need reactively.  He responds proactively.  We are the ones who spend more time reacting to the events we experience in the world.  As mighty men of God we need to spend more time preparing ourselves and to be prepared by God through His Holy Spirit given to us.  This is what helps to identify us as God’s mighty men.  Instead of living in the past or living in spite of our past, we should spend each day with the eye to “our” future.  Remember that while God calls us as individuals, He sees us as a body of believers empowered by faith and motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, let me take this moment to share that “wow, that is what it means, too?” experience I had today.  During the lesson today the Holy Spirit prompted me to think upon Jesus’ teaching to the disciples in the upper room before His arrest, conviction and crucifixion.  In that teaching, Jesus declared His oneness with God and man.  He spoke boldly that He and the Father were one just as He and the disciples were one.  The logical and spiritual extension of this declaration is that we and the Father are one.  We do not stand alone before God.  Christ stands with us and so, too, does our band of brothers.  It doesn’t mean that we become invisible to God in light of the many.  It does mean that we each are accountable before God for our part serving as a member of the Body of Christ.

Mighty men, if we live apart from Christ then we are sure to experience the everlasting death.  Even though Christ died for all our sins so that we may experience eternal life as a promised reality, it still depends on each person to accept that truth, that gift and that opportunity to share love with both the gift and the truth.  Jesus did that expressly in His ministry which lead up to and through His arrest, conviction and crucifixion.  Think about it.  We are called to be one in the Body of Christ with Christ as our head.  The Christ is Messiah.  The Church is the messianic expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.  When we become a part of the Church, the body of Christ, we are participating in the messianic community.  Step away from that picture for a moment and see a different facet of what Paul declared as Jesus had lived out.

John reminds us of Jesus’ words “I did not come into the world to condemn the world but that through me all the world can be saved.”  We also know that Jesus did not invite the disciples and followers to become one in the body of Jesus.  That would be an impossibility (as perhaps Nicodemus was to learn about being reborn.)  We are not born into the old body.  We are in a new body.  It is not the body of Jesus but rather the body of Christ.  So, then Jesus was the body of God (fully man and fully God) with God as His head.  He could be Messiah in no other way.  He could do it because He had no sin.  He was, in a manner of speaking, the epitome of the Temple.  Those who worshipped God served the Temple and the God who was the head of it.  But, Jewish followers had a difficult time keeping this concept a reality.  Why?  Because they were sinners fallen short of the glory of God.  The temple was not supposed to be reflection of God but a projection.  They failed miserably as do we if we do not have Jesus as the Christ.

It was there that the Spirit brought to mind Paul’s admonition to the mighty men of Philippi “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”  We may not be able to choose the way in which we will die.  However, we can certainly choose the way in which we will live.  Choosing to live in Christ transforms death from a loss to a gain, a liability to an asset, from a defeat to a win.  How would we characterize our lives so far?  Do we measure by what we haven’t done or by what we have done.  Do we dwell on what could have been or what has been and is yet to be?  Do we define ourselves by the standards of the world corrupted by sin or by the kingdom empowered by righteousness?

Mighty men, let us keep our perspective on Jesus (the man of God) Christ (the righteousness of God).  It is as a man born in the world that we exist but not as man alone.  It is as one in Christ born into the Kingdom of God that we exist.  The two are as one because that is the resurrected reality for all believers.  And, I suppose now with a smile, that it is not just the “two are one” but “three in one”- the trinity of a mighty man in the world just as Christ is “three in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit”- the Holy Trinity.

* Let’s review the story of our lives and strengthen it with the witness of our faith in Christ and God’s love for us through Christ.

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 today
* For the victims and the families of the victims of this latest rash of killings across the world that they may have peace and comfort in their time of grief
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill, NECC (and their service to the education community of 31 campuses)  and the people of Nicaragua
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom- especially for Tom Jensen; for needs of my family mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually; wisdom to know the truth and relate it adequately; for guidance in a difficult financial situation and wise counsel in seeking the proper doctor to diagnose my condition

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

* We have a loving God who speaks to us in all seasons of life reminding us we should do the same to Him
* God continues to provide prosperity at 5226 as I trust Him in so doing and give thanks praying for sufficient and proficient employees and the wisdom to meld a team spirit by staying humble before God and co-workers
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions to learn to walk more humbly and in peace; has given us relief in my health
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, Your love is so amazing.  By Your love we are changed from a loss to a gain, from a defeat to a glory.   With Your love we go now into the world to share the truth that can set all men free.  Let this witness be powerful and transforming, affirming and empowering in the name of Jesus by whom we pray, live and worship here on earth as it is in Heaven. AMEN.

2255

July 21, 2016

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Galatians 3.28

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

It may be a matter of semantics to be in Christ and with Christ. In all actuality it should be one and the same in the kingdom perspective. But, so much is made of our differences in the world today that I can’t help but consider such focus is rooted in sin. There is, of course, nothing wrong with differences. We are fearfully, wonderfully and uniquely made. We each have a purpose and place in the plan of God and in the body of Christ. Equally, we are created in the image of the Godhead- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are recreated by the blood of the Lamb to be one in Christ so that we can be one with God.

The Spirit caused me to reflect on the root of differences beginning in the Garden of Eden. We were created in God’s image as the crowning glory of that first creation. But, we were not created to be God. We were created to be a man or a woman. We were different from God but not separated from God. The lie of the Enemy wanted us to believe that being different from God was wrong. The Enemy wanted man to believe they could be the same as God and that God was in error because there was a difference. The Enemy wanted to promote the idea that we should all be the same. It probably was the root of Satan’s problem. He was the Angel of Light and Leader of Worship. He sang praises to God all the time. But, apparently that wasn’t enough or good enough for Satan. He probably desired praise and sameness. He wanted to be equal. Heaven doesn’t work that way.

So what happened on earth in the Garden was the introduction to sin and sameness. But, the sameness became a conviction because the sameness was sin. Sin makes us different from God and makes man all alike for all have sinned and fallen short. This is why God sent His Son into the world. While we were yet sinners, Christ died on the cross so that we may again become one with God. It doesn’t change the fact that we are different. It celebrates the fact we are different. But, in Christ we can become the same because He gives us forgiveness and the opportunity to receive God’s mercy, love and grace. If we are to focus on our difference it should be in the awareness that we are not God and that we need Him in order to get the most out of our lives for His sake. To live in any other manner will separate us eternally from the love of God and make us the same as all unrepentant sinners lost in a torment of sameness that will never end.

“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 wisdom in the Republican National Convention currently being conducted and in the Democratic National Convention yet to be convened
* For the rise of the body of Christ in the world through prayer to be the voice that is heard sounding out against terrorism with faith, hope and love
* For those whose burden in life creates such desperation that taking the life of another as a means of escape and problem-solving seems reasonable and for their victims that they may have peace; as seen in the sex-trafficking slavery business of young girls
* For the end of the ISIS regime and replacing it with the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, especially now as summer heat and drought bring searing temperatures
* 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, NECC and the people of Andorra
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for a new job placement that aligns with God’s purpose intended for me; for needs of my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are committed to their new realities; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; for guidance in a difficult financial situation

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

* God continues to provide prosperity at 5226 as I trust Him in so doing and give thanks praying for sufficient and proficient employees; but a new job is coming as I seek His will and not my own being humbled in what I still need to learn as I wait for His unveiling
* 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 to learn to walk more humbly
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, we do not strive to be equals with You. We live in the knowledge that through Jesus we will get to spend an eternity with You in peace, love and joy. Empower our celebration of this new life as we share it with others in Jesus, in whose name we pray, live and serve. AMEN.

2254

July 20, 2016

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Galatians 3.28

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

It is not that there are no Jews in Christ, Gentiles for Christ, slaves of Christ, free by Christ, male or female with Christ. What there is is Christ. And we are not Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free, males or females first and then Christians. We are Christians first and always if we are Christians at all. Our perspective, our lens, our identity, our definition, our place is supposed to be Christ. He is the singularity of life that speaks of what living with God is like. This verse given to the mighty men of Galatia speaks of the community of faith in which there is no difference in the flesh. By the flesh of Jesus which bore the marks of death we have been saved. By the blood of Jesus which was poured out on the world from the cross we are sealed for the greatness and goodness of Heaven. When we are made new creatures it is in Christ’ image we are made. He became man to dwell among men. We because Christ that we might dwell with God. In Christ we are made as one people and it would be nice if we would begin to see it that way.

But, sin wants us to celebrate the differences that exist between us as if it means superiority. Paul spoke to the mighty men of Corinth about superior things: faith, hope and love. The greatest and most superior of these is love. Yes, in the body of Christ there are differences represented by the gifts of the fruit of the Spirit. And these differences are merely functions, vital functions. Each function is vital to the life of the body in its service to God’s people and to manifesting the glory of God in this world just as the angels do in Heaven. But, these differences are not meant to separate the body from itself. As Paul declared, “We cannot say I have no need of you.” I must repent, as should all mighty men of God, when we look upon another person and see something other than Christ living in them. Yes, it may be difficult to see at times. But, in those times it may be difficult to see Him in us because of our judgmental position and condescending or fearful attitude. This is why we have the scriptural accountability statement “For all have sinned and fallen short.”

The greatest difference that exists in the world, and the only one that matters, is the difference that creates distance between man and God. This is Satan’s falling point and it shall be ours as well if we do not humble ourselves before God and one another and confess this single difference. We are not called to live in sin. We are called to live in righteousness. We can only do this when we embrace our oneness in Christ. It is that oneness alone that opens the door to the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven. And if that becomes our perspective then the face of the Church and the community of faith on earth will change into glory as well.

“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 wisdom in the Republican National Convention currently being conducted and in the Democratic National Convention yet to be convened
* For the rise of the body of Christ in the world through prayer to be the voice that is heard sounding out against terrorism with faith, hope and love
* For those whose burden in life creates such desperation that taking the life of another as a means of escape and problem-solving seems reasonable and for their victims that they may have peace; as seen in the sex-trafficking slavery business of young girls
* For the end of the ISIS regime and replacing it with the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, especially now as summer heat and drought bring searing temperatures
* 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, NECC and the people of American Samoa
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for a new job placement that aligns with God’s purpose intended for me; for needs of my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are committed to their new realities; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; for guidance in a difficult financial situation

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

* God continues to provide prosperity at 5226 as I trust Him in so doing and give thanks praying for sufficient and proficient employees; but a new job is coming as I seek His will and not my own being humbled in what I still need to learn as I wait for His unveiling
* 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 to learn to walk more humbly
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, may we be so filled with Your Spirit today that others cannot help but see in us- Jesus, in whose name we pray, live and serve. AMEN.

2155

March 23, 2016

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 9.36-37

“He took a little child whom He placed among them. Taking the child in His arms, He said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the One who sent Me.'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Welcome to the “trickle up” theory- “Whoever welcomes one like a child welcomes Me and whoever welcomes Me welcomes My Father.” How easy is it to overlook the world around us when we say we are a Christ follower. In fact, if there is a theme throughout chapter 9 it is “Christ = others.” Jesus was never about Himself. He was all about getting man closer to God by being God close to them. In the gospel of John we hear “just as God and I are one so you and I are one.” The extension of this thinking is “so you and the Father are one.” This doesn’t mean we are equal with God which is the lie Satan, the Deceiver, wants us to buy into. Just because we are not equal with God doesn’t mean we are not in sync with God. Jesus speaks of oneness in His relationship with God, His Heavenly Father. Equality is not the goal of that proclamation. But, harmony and unity of heart, mind, soul and spirit is. That harmony and unity comes in living out God’s will. What is God’s will? Is it not to love God and others as we ourselves are loved by God? And Jesus is the epitome of that proclamation!

But, not to forget how this passage is brought to our attention let me unpack the second time Jesus announces the end of His earthly life. Mark specifically says “Jesus needed to be alone with the disciples whom He was teaching.” Even on the way toward Jerusalem the disciples were still students, leaders-in-process. In the way of rabbinical discipleship, the leader was seen as “father” and the followers as “children.” Other writings of the time often are scripted with this type of dialogue. Hopefully you see there is a definite connection being crafted by Mark who was once seen as a child in the eyes of the Apostle Paul. Now Mark, the child, is becoming the teacher as the generation of leadership following Peter and Paul rises up. And how many times have we heard our children, especially boys, argue about who is the “best.” Perhaps lines of power and authority were at work behind the scene (Satan certainly loves to sow seeds of discontent through pride.) We will hear this problem again in chapter 10 with a twist. For the moment, focus on a possible genesis of this debate between the disciples.

In the storyline, these events follow Peter, James and John privileged to the Transfiguration while the disciples are struggling at the foot of the mountain. We already have seen just before that Peter stepping forward with the Great Confession while the disciples stumbled with stock answers that sound good but reflect a depth of understanding. Lines may have been drawn between them all and one of the battles would be “Who is going to take the lead when Jesus is gone?” Another way of stating that question is “Who does He love best and leave His power and authority to?” Jesus catches them in this “private” talk and humbles them for the moment by introducing a child into their midst. We are in Capernaum. It is the home of several of the disciples including Peter whom we know has a wife and mother-in-law there. It is possible that this child could be his or a niece or nephew. I would dare say it is a boy and in light of the disciples challenge which would include persecution the heir to their father’s inheritance. So, why would any one of them count the child as less worthy of the presence of Jesus because he is a son and not the father? Do the disciples consider Jesus less than God because He is the Son and not the Father? And what of the rest of the children around them? Are we not all children? If so and we accept them in our presence as we would Jesus doesn’t that make them all worthy to receive their portion of the Kingdom of God? Who then would be left out of the scope of God’s mercy, grace and love?

Of course, what makes this come to its truest fruition is the gospel of Christ which includes the blessing of the Holy Spirit following His resurrection on earth and ascension into Heaven. Deciding now to be a true follower of Christ and a blessed child of God does mean “we are joint heirs of the kingdom and thus equals with one another and in harmony with God our Heavenly Father.”

“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 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 and the people of Moldova
* 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 has been lifted for a time; I am believing for a new work assignment for my wife and I that will serve God’s people well; what others mean for harm God is turning to good
* 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, our Father, how we enjoy being loved by you and being able to love one another in the name of Jesus by whom we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

1967

July 24, 2015

HIS WORD for TODAY!

Colossians 3.12-14

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

A final note, for the moment mighty men, spoken out of this passage for me. If there is a perfect unity then there are other unities which are less than perfect. This means there is only one perfect unity and it comes only through Jesus Christ who is the epitome of God’s expression of love. No where but in Jesus as the Christ can we see, begin to understand and embrace the love of a mighty God. It would take the love of a mighty God to surrender His Only Son to the cross for the sake of forgiving sins. We know the story of Abraham who was challenged by God to put his faith to the test and sacrifice his son to God.

We call it a test of faith but it was a test of love. “How much do you love me?” God was saying. “How much do you love me? Is it more than you love yourself? Is it more than you love your wife? Is it more than you love your abandoned son? Is it more than you love your son born of Sarah?”

We can also put in the word “believe” and see God challenging Abraham in every corner of his life. Love is about our faith. Love is about our trust. It is alive in the vignette of Peter by the seaside following the resurrection of Jesus. Love is about believing. What do we believe about ourselves and what do we believe about God? Peter’s faith and love were tested in what he believed about Jesus. On the mountaintop gathered with all the disciples alone with Jesus in the midst of other religious venues it was easy for Peter to declare “You are the Christ, the One of God.” It was what he believed. His love for Jesus was manifested in his belief. The question of “Who do people say I AM?” is a question of what do you believe. But, by the seaside, Peter was wrestling outwardly in the presence of Jesus with what his fear to believe had led him to do- deny he knew Christ, was a follower of Christ and would be willing to die for what he believed. In the moment of challenge, Peter loved his life more than he loved the life of Jesus. He didn’t excuse his actions with “Oh, it is Jesus Christ and they can’t really kill Him. He will be okay.” No, Peter was afraid to die for what he believed regardless of what he said before. His love for his life denied what he said he believed. Now, Jesus was offering him reconciliation, a covering of love, to bring him perfectly back into the circle of life. Jesus asked him, “Do you love Me?” He was saying “Do you believe in Me? What do you believe about Me? What do you believe about yourself?”

But, let’s take this one step further. We can also put in the word “trust” and see how the challenge to walk in God’s love makes His love far different from all others. In “trust” we must see the concept of investment. Investment means to put something of ours into something else so that it becomes greater. If it is our money in a bank then it is to make more money for ourselves. But, if it is into the life of another it should never be about getting a gain for ourselves but for growing the life of another. Mighty men are called to build up one another until we attain the full measure and stature of Christ. God invested His gifts of the Spirit, the Life of His Son, the fullness of His grace into each of us not to get anything for Himself but that we might get everything that rightfully belonged to us. That is what Satan wants to stop from happening. He wants us to not trust in God. It means he does not want us to believe in God. Ultimately it means he does not want us to love God. He would love nothing more than for us to only trust, believe and love ourselves. That is the way it was in the beginning and has been every day since that fatal error in judgment in the Garden.

As people of this world we can trust, believe and love all on our own. It is temporarily satisfying and effective within limits. But it is not perfect, powerful or saving. What does it mean to save a life if the soul remains lost. We save a life with the hope that it gives an opportunity for the soul to be won to Christ. Many have laid down their lives to protect the lives of others. But, if they did so only to protect life in this world without regard for the true future of each person then does it truly make a difference for that person? It is a good work but only God’s love can make it a perfect work. Look at the balance, mighty men, when we consider the question ourselves: What do we trust in, believe in and love so much that we would give ourselves to it totally so that the lives of others can be saved from damnation and brought into the reconciling love of God which dwells in the Kingdom of His presence on earth as it is in Heaven. Only perfect love, God’s love, can create perfect unity. There are other unities- lesser beliefs, compromised trusts and conditional loves. But, there is only one perfect unity: one singular belief (Jesus is the Christ); one trust (I surrender my life in totality to believing in Jesus and by faith declaring He is my Christ) and one love (for God so loved me that He spared nothing of great value to bring me home to be with Him now and forever.)

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

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

* For those who will lead God’s people in worship, service and praise this weekend
* For the silencing of internal voices in unhappy people leading them to murder themselves and others
* 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 the end of Boko Haram and for the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, as they have joined forces in bringing death and terror to the innocent
* 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 and the people of Saudi Arabia
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends; especially the breaking of addiction chains binding them; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own- we need God’s intervention and His wisdom as we seek to please and honor Him in the next step of our journey of faith for jobs, housing and transportation in order to accomplish His purposes for us in the nations

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

* Lisa had a good interview yesterday
* We are being prepared for God’s provision as we seek His purpose for our lives with jobs, housing and transportation in a new venue and are under attack so we know we must be moving closer in our trust in God
* 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 we have a life that is true, free, abundant, peace-filled, empowered by love and eternal. We know it comes with a cost. May our investment of ourselves into Your call over our lives bring life to others. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN.

1934

June 10, 2015

HIS WORD for Today:

Romans 5.20,21

“The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

In actuality, sin (trespass or transgression) didn’t increase but our awareness of it did. As we are more infused with the age of technology the happenings in the world are at our ready touch. Within seconds we are receiving news from around the globe as if we were there ourselves. We have become a revelatory world that is transfixed on the negative and evil. And sadly, the more we focus on it the more it seems to be revealed to us. Going further, too many people believe “the more I see it, the more I believe it.” Their belief turns into validation of a force that cannot be defeated or one that is more right because it is so visible. This was the role of the Law as it was given to Moses to share with the Hebrew exiles. They had been influenced by the Egyptian culture for four hundred years. It had become accommodated into their own lifestyle. They had not given up their faith but it was not as visible as the Egyptian way of life. It certainly had been written into their social DNA as the cycle of slavery had been repeated many times over. This is evident as we hear their complaints to Moses in the wilderness when they faced hardships. They begged Moses to lead them back to Egypt because the bread of slavery was more dependable than the bread of faith (believing what they could not see.) Yes, God gave them manna as a sign of His providence and provision. But, they did not handle this revelation well and often went hungry. So, the purpose of the Law did not make sin increase but increase their awareness of the difference between living in the world and living in the kingdom. The Spirit asks me to describe it as “the difference between living in the lie and living in the promise.”

What is the promise, mighty men? Is it not that where there is sin it pales in comparison to the presence of grace? Of course it is! Understand the gate to perdition is wide and the road of lies is so broad it seems to be straight. But, Jesus declared “Small is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to [righteous] living.” How true it is that by faith “less is more.” The history of Israel is bound by the concept of “one.” One seems to be small and ineffective except when the One is God.

1) God called one people to be His prophets, priests and ministers in the world. They were promised to Abraham to be as numerous as the stars in the heaven and the grains of sand by the sea. But, they were to be One.

2) The godhead is One but Three Person: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In Christ, the believers become a part of the godhead as well because they are in Christ who is in God just as He is in them. It is one Lord, one faith, one birth, one hope and one love. Yet, its expression is voluminous.

3) The Church is One in Christ. He is the Head of the Church as the priesthood of all believers are equal members in it and make up the body of Christ. He was wounded for their transgressions, sacrificed for their sins and committed to the grave so that all who believe in Him would have eternal and abundant life. And the sin He died for was not the one sin because He was without sin. Instead, it was the sin of many in the past, present and future. He took us all to the cross and to the grave so that we will be taken to Paradise, Heaven, our eternal Home.

But, the lie shows us many things and creates options that allure but consume and steal hope, love, life and promise. The lie is empty and filled only with false hopes and dreams and cures. The lie anesthetizes. But, the promise is of oneness. The Law is not sin but shows us that sin is an option that is far from what God is and intends. The Law shows us life in the Kingdom as God intends and He makes it possible for us to have that life more and more. But, only if we focus on the One. Jesus offered it to His disciples and through them to us when He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one can draw near to the Father except by this ONE- me.” So, as we see sin raging and enraging know that grace is even more abundant as it encourages and engages the believer with the truth of God’s love. Hear, O mighty men of God, the Lord our God is One for all and we are called to be all for One.

“Let HIS TRUTH be seen (and heard) in the mighty men of 2015.”

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

* For the end of Boko Haram and for the defeat of the terrorist rebels, ISIS, as they have joined forces in bringing death and terror to the innocent
* 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 protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede on behalf of God’s people and plant the seed of faith, hope and love for a harvest of new life
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land,” Marlin High School and the people of New Caledonia
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends; especially the breaking of addiction chains binding them; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own- we need God’s intervention and His wisdom as we seek to please and honor Him in the next step of our journey of faith

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

* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!
* God’s Word declares press into my rest and live as you have never lived before; we press into His finished work for our healing- may it be manifested Lord!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, You are the Only One for us and we come to You with one hope, one faith, one birth and one purpose in the name of the One for whom we live, serve and pray- Jesus our Lord and the Holy Spirit that makes us one. AMEN.

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1468

November 5, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

HIS WORD for Today:

Ephesians 5.28-30

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

You see, mighty men, we must use the same logic previously argued concerning human relationships with others being the image of Christ relating to the Church and apply it to the relationship we must have with ourselves. Yes, if you are out of relationship with yourself then how can you be in right relationship with others? Didn’t Jesus declare that the greatest commands were about this love, that perfect love, which casts out fear? Remember what He taught to the teachers of the Law who questioned Him as to the greatest commandment- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. Then, also, love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Isn’t it sad that the overwhelming evidence seems to prove the latter and ignores the first? Think in context of the world. It has gone off the track of righteousness because sin also says “Love yourself.” But, sin’s concept of loving self and God’s concept of loving self as diametrically opposed. Sin promotes “love yourself to your glory and credit.” Righteousness teachers “love yourself to the glory of God and give Him all the praise.” So, if you are loving yourself, serving the needs of your flesh and declaring that is the condition of your spirit, then there is nothing left to love others except to demand that they love you on your terms. But, if you love yourself by living in the understanding of God’s love for you and how He placed the greatest value on your life by equating you with His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, then there is no need for approval only dispersal. Sharing the love of God and the joy of your salvation is of greatest benefit to others beginning with those who are closest to you and ringing outward into all the world.

On that basis, or as Paul writes “in this same way,” we must understand why Jesus loves us. In His commitment before the cross, He loved us as His brothers in faith. His desire for us was that we share in the same identification with God’s relationship. As He is God’s son so, too, are we! The benefits of that relationship remain intact and available. When He restores our vision and cures us of our infirmities, He is reestablishing us in the presence of God that we would enjoy if the Garden Fall had never happened. Yes, the world has changed but our God has not nor has His relationship to us. But, what a glorious transformation has been offered after the cross. In His resurrection, and in our faith in that resurrection, Jesus is no longer Emmanuel, “God with us,” only. Instead, He is One. He is the connection between God and man. We no longer stand alongside of Him, we are invited to share in Him as He shares in us. He does not give to us our freedom in spirit and in truth alone. No, He gives to us through Himself as the Head of the Body of Faith. And we are the Body! Just as He is One with God so, then, are we One with Him. At the cross, Jesus took on our body tainted with sin and despair and put it to rest forever. When He died in the flesh, our flesh died with Him and all of its problems and disabilities. But, when God raised Him from the grave and the pit, He raised us as well in a new body of faith, hope and love. We are not our own.

Here lies the great controversy. Until we confess that Jesus is the Christ and the Head of our body, as a person and as a people, we are the body of Christ fighting a battle against evil and sin as if it were a welcome cancer. We accept it, the body rejects it. Christ hates the infection of sin and its myriad dispositions in the flesh of the world. When we confess that He is the Christ and the Head of our body, we join in the battle for truth and accept the battleground as a place of victory where evil cannot triumph. If we truly love ourselves then we would want to be loved as a whole person. Only in Christ Jesus are we truly whole. That is directly opposed to the rule of the enemy that is invited in to the body as if Jesus was not there or as if they can be welcome guests in the same house. The enemy wants a division of the house and the fall of it will be great.
Do you see this application now? In the same way, we are the body of Christ, our wives are our body and we are the head. Do not get caught up in the fleshly appearance. Christ is speaking of our spiritual body from which we cannot be separate. That is why we say in our pledge to be a marriage body, “the two shall be as one.” Mighty men, if we love ourselves then we want Christ as our Head. If we love our wives, then we want them to be a part of who we are in Christ and they as Christ in us.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For the end of copycat mall and school shootings
* For those rain-soaked communities and lands to be safeguarded as more rain and cool weather pass across this nation over the next several days
* For all of those impacted by the storm system spanning the US from north to south facing severe flooding
* For our government and budget to become balanced before the Lord; I pray for Jubilee!
* For divine sealing of the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan
* 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 the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Nicaragua
* My 57/57 challenge; purity of heart, mind, body and soul
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; healing for JoAnn and Linda; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide healing of body, mind and soul which leads him to full-time employment and/or a sale of his car; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for the chains to be unbroken for my good friends Tom and Rosalee; for Dr. Weaver’s release from recurring cancer
PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* God remains in control and still speaks into our chaos to make sense of our world
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, we thank You for the divine relationship mathematics where an infinite number of twos added together still equals only One, Jesus Christ. May our lives be fixed on seeking that oneness in our own lives and in the life we have pledged ourselves to in faith, hope and love. AMEN.

1414

August 23, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

HIS WORD for today:

Romans 12.1

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

As Paul was writing this letter of affirmation and instruction to those who were citizens of Rome and of the Kingdom of God, he knew of the challenges which faced them culturally. Being mighty men of God meant that lives and lifestyles were changing to meet the expectations of the Kingdom. The early church was faced with any number of cultural challenges across the spectrum of faith systems from Judaizers to Zoroastrians to all parts in between. One particularly challenging life choice was bound in the belief that the mind and the body were two separate entities. Those who held to that belief, and shades of it, determined that in the mind as the seat of the soul they could be “pure” but that the body could be defiled and have no impact on their view of salvation and future life. So, debauchery and fornication and gluttonies of all kinds could be participated in, to them, and yet they would proclaim that they were a virtuous person. The expressions of these lifestyles is not the purpose of this study but its fallacy is.

As mighty men of God, we proclaim a unity of body, mind and spirit in the name of Jesus. Jesus taught that even considering a sinful action in our thoughts without acting upon them physically was still a sin and abomination. Jesus drew the wide circle and all men fall into it when He taught “All have sinned and fallen short” of the expectation of righteousness. Our thoughts influence our affections and our actions, how we treat our own lives and the lives of others. There is no disconnect between one and the other. Many would love to believe there is because it resolves the conflict of doing what is right and being right and still be “acceptable” in the world. Paul writes that we are to be pleasing to God. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins and was raised from the grave for our justification giving us hope in this world for the next, He became Lord of all. He was a man and a man of God. He did not see any difference between the two. They can be blended one into the same. They are not meant to stand diametrically opposed to each other. Nor can we think that our thoughts and actions have no bearing on each other. Is the conflict difficult to resolve? Of course it is and especially so with Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives and Savior of our bodies, mind and spirit. Shall we struggle in this world? Yes, we can, but by the power of the Holy Spirit we are given the power of body, mind and spirit to be victorious because we are not just a whole person. In Christ we are one with Him, the Father and all our brothers. We share a kindred mind, heart and spirit. If we struggle together then the burden is easier to bear and to overcome. Bearing that struggle to God is a part of our worship. It is a battle of the spirit which is won in Jesus Christ and is defined by our desire to share the same spirit with Christ who has sent the Holy Spirit to us as our comfort, guide and teacher. Do not be deceived by those who believe you can be partially righteous and be wholly His. The joy you seek in your life comes from seeking after the wholeness which comes from seeking Christ and making Him Lord of your life.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For those who will lead God’s people this weekend in worship, praise and service
* 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 the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom- especially in Egypt as riots are violating and destroying Christian churches and their members
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Jamaica
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother who is now facing heart problems as well; healing for Lisa’s body, mind and spirit; for Mack to receive direction for his life and a trust in God to provide; for all the concerns lifted up in LG; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for Mallory and Drew as they prepare for their wedding and wedded life; for Scott in his recovery from a heart attack and the strengthening of his life

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

* Happy Birthday blessing for my father and my step-daughter, Mallory- may the peace of God reign in your lives
* God is manifesting healing in my family and providing wisdom for a challenging decision for each of us (all vocationally-centered) daily

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, continue to pour out Your Spirit upon these mighty men and those who are desiring to become mighty men in Jesus’ name. By Your Spirit, Your mercy and grace, we celebrate our healing and our wholeness. We offer ourselves to you that our words, our thoughts, our actions, our whole lives shall be pleasing and acceptable to You and of great opportunity in this world to serve others in faith, hope and love. AMEN.

1366

June 17, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Hosea 1.10

“Yet, the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day Jezreel.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

It is said there is a fine line between genius and insanity. The gap between right actions and good intentions is equally narrow. The difference between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat can be measured in fractions of a second. We live in a world of almost but not yet. Our lives in Christ, mighty men of God, are all about fine lines of integrity and self-will; God’s will and our own; the joy of salvation and the frustration of worldliness; the reality of what was, what is, what will soon be and what will always be. Our spiritual lives are about the gaps which sin sought to trench out of our lives and the fulfillment which God determined to provide to smooth out these valleys. Hopefully you are with me and nodding your head in affirmation. We live on the precipice but one that is different from the world. The precipice of the world is like standing daily on the edge of a cliff with the backing of those who want to see us go over the edge- mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually and holistically. The precipice of the Kingdom of God is like standing daily next in line for seconds of God’s blessing saying “Thank You, Sir, for more.” One vision looks down to failure while the other looks up with a glad hope.

This was the world that Hosea lived in. He had watched the transformation of the Promised Land long divided between two entities of Judah to the south and Israel to the north. What every prophet longed for was unity of all God’s people. They wanted those lines drawn between two peoples who were of one descent to be erased. They wanted the gaps of misunderstanding to be filled with the wisdom of One God. But, they had one image that stood between them and the fulfillment of their desire. It was the Jezreel Valley. It was a wide and fertile plain that ran east and west across the country spanning from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. In the early days, it limited the expansion of the twelve tribes who had entered into the Promised Land because they did not possess the military resource of chariots to combat the kings and their armies to the north. Later it would be a lesson well learned by the forces of the northern tribes who were able to adapt and overcome. They became a people truly divided in heart, mind, soul and community. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus Christ Himself came from the northlands with the desire to bring the people of God together? He was born in Bethlehem but hailed from Nazareth. He was the one leader who could literally embody both the north and the south, the lost and the found, the saint and the sinner, the us and them. He filled the void and bridged the gap with the voice of God and the message of love.

What gaps exist in your lives, mighty men? What differences do you have between yourselves and others in your family, in your work, in your various spheres of influence and in your own life? You can use your best intentions to draw the two entities together in a loose confederation as did ancient Israel and Judah but it cannot keep them together. You can become one by declaring the One Leader which God declared to Hosea was a reality. We know the reality is Jesus Christ who preached and practiced unity in the body of believers by recognizing His Oneness with the One True God. Surrender your differences to God and take on the sameness of Christ. Believe it can be and it will always be. In fact, it will be difficult to maintain any separation when you experience the oneness of Christ who loves and forgives and restores you to wholeness as one in the Body of Christ.

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, may all that we are and all that we are to be become one in righteousness, peace and joy as we surrender our will to succeed to Your Will of success which is life eternal in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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1281

March 6, 2013

Love one another deeply from the heart of Jesus in 2013!

Romans 3.26

“He did this (present His Only Son- Jesus for a sacrifice of atonement) to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

REFLECTING IN HIS WORD:

Jesus answered His disciples request during the Passover meal “show us the Father and that will be enough” with “You have seen the Father because you have seen me; the Father and I are one.” How are we able to look upon the face of God and not die? Because we look at God as we were looking into the eyes of the blessed Savior- Jesus our Christ. Consider for a moment that when the mighty men of God under the old covenant were warned that looking upon the face of God would bring death they did not have this truth which Jesus proclaimed. Their fear of God was based on the awesome demonstrations of God’s power which would indeed bring death. Fire, storms, flood, plagues and more were the evidences of God’s reality in the midst of their lives. They looked upon God more with the fear of unworthiness than with the awe of humility. If I am afraid I will see death I may well be speaking death into my life. But, if I speak life in peace, love and provision then I may well be speaking life into my life. Didn’t Jesus say, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”? Of course He did. That is what led the disciples to believe that they then had the privilege of approaching the throne of God. Peter, James and John had already seen Jesus glorified alongside of Moses and Elijah. They heard the voice of God declare “This is My Son, listen to Him.” Wouldn’t the other disciples surely want to experience this? I know I would. We are like Thomas who didn’t want to be left out of the “Jesus appearing after His crucifixion” crowd. He lamented “If I could just have Jesus appear to me.” Jesus heard his prayer and gave him the opportunity to be included and more by inviting him to see His hands and touch the wound in His side. Why did He do these things? Because Jesus wanted His disciples to be ONE with Him as He was ONE with the Father.

So, God was demonstrating His desire for Oneness as well when He presented His own Son to be the sacrifice for atonement of our sins. When He looked upon Jesus on the cross, He saw each one of us in His place. Jesus bore the sins of the world as He hung on the cross, the governement was upon His shoulder. He carried each of us with Him and our Father in Heaven saw it. Jesus had become One with us and He demonstrated His desire for us to be One with the Father. It was about justice as God visited the wrath of His presence upon the awfulness of sin. In Jesus He saw the ruin sin brings upon the flesh and spirit of man. It was so great that it would even blind Jesus to God momentarily but faith would win out because faith is believing in what One cannot see. But, it was also the justice that gives birth to compassion as that same God who destroys is also the One who makes new. And we are made new, mighty men, are we not? Behold the old has gone and the new has replaced it. In Jesus Christ we are made a new creations within whom exists a new heart and a right spirit. It is time we see ourselves for who we are and not for who we fear we might still be. When God sees us His eyes are wide open to seeing His Son in us and through us. It is the same as when we look for God. We need not look any further than Jesus to see Him who is our Father because the Son and Father are One just as we and the Son are One. We are redeemed for a purpose and that purpose is to know the fullness of God’s love and be that love to all the world.

PRAYER CONCERNS (share your needs and others in the comment section so that God’s Mighty Men can join prayer forces as intercessors of faith, hope and love)

* For safety and warmth against another winter storm across the Atlantic Coast area
* For financial wisdom to overtake our government and the Holy Spirit be invited in to demonstrate all wisdom, power and prosperity needed to guide a people faithfully
* For Israel to have wisdom and deciding to follow God’s leading; trust in God and do not lean upon the understandings of your own heart!
* 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 the violence to stop in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Algeria and North Korea and the open roads for peace be made so that healing may begin and peace rules
* For protection on Christians around the world and the celebration that all life lived in Christ will be blessed with life in the Kingdom
* For the cessation of violence in Mexico: as long we allow making drugs to cost anything it will cost us everything!
* For the mission teams sent out by the Church into all the world that they remain safe as they intercede and plant the seed of faith, hope and love
* For Mission Waco, “No Man’s Land” and the people of Thailand
* Strength of mind to regularly workout, eat correctly and lose weight in my 57/57 challenge
* For deliverance from cancer in my brother, healing for Lisa from chronic migraines; for Mack to be delivered from anxiety and to receive direction for his life; for Mallory (2nd interview), Drew (upcoming medical tests) and his mother (serious heart condition); for all the concerns lifted up in LG and for our participation in the Alpha Ministry; for co-workers who are believing for deliverance for their daughter; for relationships to become truly loving and financial breakthroughs to be in abundance

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

* God will be manifesting healing in my family
* God is prospering all students who are retesting in exit-level
assessments
* For His Word on vocational strategy and revelation concerning the
future and the infusion of a positive attitude

ABIDING IN HIS PRESENCE THROUGH PRAYER:

Father, oh how You love us. We now pause to reflect upon the cross where Your Son was for our sake and see that righteousness has replaced retribution, healing has overcome sin. Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus into the world so that we can be with You in Your Kingdom forever! Amen.

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