Monthly Archives: May 2013

3 Things You Must Do to Thrive in Life

Renew Your Mind

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success – Joshua 1:8

If you have been looking for the secret to success, look no further! Meditating on the word of God is the secret to success and prosperity in all areas of life. This is because the word of God transforms the way you think and how you perceive yourself, your life, your situation, and your circumstance.  Since everything you do starts with a thought, and His thoughts prospers you and gives you a future (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV), it is prudent for you to line up our thinking with the way He thinks.  Remember, His thoughts will not fail but will surely come to pass (Isaiah 14:24).

Lightbulb MomentIf you want to be successful, you must pay attention to the word of God and let is speak to you. When you do this, you will find that those things that used to be your downfall no longer bother you. Situations and circumstance will begin to shift in your favor.

Today, in all your striving, strive to meditate on the scripture throughout the day. Hang on to a verse that speaks to your circumstance and repeat it to yourself all day long. You will not regret allowing the word of God to sink into your heart. You will not regret allowing the word of God to change you.

Get Around Good and Positive People

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful – Psalm 1:1

This passage of scripture reminds us that our purpose walk towards destiny starts to slow down when we walk in the council of those without moral fiber. If ungodly fellowship is not quickly broken, our purpose walk slows down to the point where we are simply standing.  Worse still, we get tired of standing and simply sit down. Hence, we become spectators in life instead of running the race that is set before us; we sit down and miss out on destiny.

The scripture tells us to run the race in such a way that we win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24). Friend, the problem is not in the start but in the finish. If you want to win the prize, then you must finish. If you want to finish, then you must walk in the light, stand with those with strong morals, and avoid those who have nothing positive to say.

Simply put, bad company corrupts good habits (1 Corinthians 5:33). Good company says ‘you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you’, but bad company says ‘Who do you think you are?’

If you are a strong starter but a weak finisher, then get around people who believe in you, will challenge you, and cheer you on towards your God-given goal.Lightbulb Moment Get with the ‘can-doers’ and avoid the naysayers.

Stick with God’s Plan

So I also raised My hand in an oath to them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands, because they despised my judgments and did not walk in My statutes… – Ezekiel 20:15-16

The original plan was for the generation that came of Egypt to enjoy the Promised Land. Unfortunately, plans changed as a result of the people’s disobedience. Their disobedience determined that they would spend years in the wilderness until the original generation of disobedience perished. If fact, only two people out of the first generation that came out of Egypt made it into the promised land after 40 years of wondering – Joshua and Caleb.

While God’s plans for you are to prosper you, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV), He has given you free will to follow your plans. The problem is that your plans – no matter how good you may think they are – pales in comparison to His. While His plans will lead you into a land flowing with milk and honey within days, your plans will take much longer, while promising nothing, and wrecking a lot of havoc.

Lightbulb MomentIn truth, your total heart surrender to the will and ways of God is the proof that you want to live the best life available to you. The only way you win in life is to surrender.

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Truths to Keep in Mind in Times of Trouble

You are Not Alone

Just as God provided His people a pillar of cloud by day for guidance and a pillar of fire by night for safe travels in the wilderness, it is also true that God will never leave your nor forsake you. No matter if it is daytime in your life or if you are experiencing a dark period in your life, He is ever present. What you must do is make sure that you stay under the cloud by day and that you stay by the fire by night. You must stay close to God. If you do not, you are liable to get scorched by the hot sun and get chills from the cold nights.

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is that God will not allow you to suffer alone but will always provide a comforter to help you (see 2 Corinthians 7:6).

Today, do not shy away from the comforters that God has provided you but move closer to them. It may very well be that they have walked through the same wilderness you are walking through and they can provide guidance. It may very well be that they are walking through the same desert you are right now and you can comfort one another. Whichever the case, avoid the urge to go it alone and reach out to whomever you need. Reach out to both God and man.

Your Attitude Can Make Things Worse  

An attitude of complaint can change what you experience in your wilderness.

It is interesting that the manna God provided in the wilderness was originally white and being sweet like wafers with honey (Exodus 16:31). But after much complaining, we see that the manna became off-white and tasted like pastry with oil upon being grounded and baked (Numbers 11:8). See, the original manna was naturally sweet, but the new manna tasted shabby even after doing a lot of work.

That tells us that a bad attitude will always make the sweet things in life tasteless. It will turn a blessing into a something that does not satisfy.

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is you must drive out the scoffer in you in order for all contention, strife, and contempt to cease (Proverbs 22:10)

Today, choose to focus on what you do have (your manna) and be grateful for them instead of focusing on what is wrong. When you focus on will consume your life. If you focus on negativity, then negativity will consume your life and nothing will ever be good enough. When you focus on the positive and on the goodness of God is when you are able to make lemonade out of lemons.

 Your Victory Waits on the Other Side    

The only good thing about the wilderness is that God uses them to lead us to a land flowing with milk and honey. Why are you going through a wilderness? If you are faithful, the wilderness experience is simply a set-up for greater victories to come.

Remember how Jesus was released onto His ministry after He passed the wilderness test? Remember how Daniel was promoted after experiencing the den of lions? Remember how God promised to bless Abraham after He passed the test of obedience? You too can experience the spoils of victory if you do not faint in the wilderness.

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is that God will not allow you to be tested in life beyond what you can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13)

You can handle all the tests that life throws you. If you do not faint, you will experience the victory after the test. Why doesn’t God take away every single test Satan throws at you? It is because He wants you to experience the victory that comes after the test so you want nothing while He provides for all your needs during the test.   

The only way for gold to be refined is to be put through the fire.

You Can Shorten Your Time of Trouble

Lightbulb MomentThe truth is that persistent unfaithfulness can lead you from one fire (trouble) to another (Ezekiel 15:7-8)

The problem with unfaithfulness is that you experience the fire of life without ever becoming refined as gold. If you have been in the wilderness for a long time, then you must re-evaluate your thought process, decision making, and most importantly, the state of your heart. Do not be like the tribes of Israel who spent 40 years in the wilderness although the journey should have been over in a matter of days. Just as their unfaithfulness led them to circle around the wilderness for years, you spend more time than you need in the dark places of life if you choose not to do what is right and obey the voice of God.

What is right is to soften your heart and give it to God. So I ask you: Is your heart open or have you allowed someone or something to harden your heart.

Remember, while the walls you put up keep away hurts, it also keeps away love.

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6 Relationship Lessons from ‘The Great Gatsby’

Be Yourself

Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) portrayed himself as a rich when he first met Daisy – something he was not. In doing this, he misrepresented a part of himself that he did not like. In essence, he started off their relationship in a lie. As such, he had to become the lie he told in order to continue the relationship. Moreover, the person Daisy (Carey Mulligan) met was an idea of Jay instead of the real Jay. The real Jay was lost a long time ago in a fantasy world that He was willing to bring to reality no matter what the cost.

Fear and insecurity are the bedrock of lies when it comes to relationships. The moment you lie to yourself about who you are is the moment you begin to lose your identity. If you have misrepresented who you are to your partner, then what you have is the illusion of a relationship. In truth, your partner does not know you, so how can he or she ever truly come to love you? Moreover, the only reason you would ever try to be someone other than you is because you do not love yourself. If you do not like you, change you instead of pretending. It takes a lot of effort to be someone else and you will not be able to keep it up forever so do not even try it.

Building a relationship on falsehood is like building a house on sinking sand. No matter how majestic the building, it will not stand the test of time. If you are going to build something, build it to last. Start off by being yourself.

Take Time to Know Your Partner  

Jay thought that he knew Daisy but he did not. What he knew was an idea of Daisy he had concocted in his head. His own emotions – which he kept bottled up for years – blinded him to reality.

Likewise, it is likely that our partners can do no wrong when in the throes of infatuation at the beginning of the relationship. But the proof of love is not infatuation but sacrifice and commitment. These take time! While Jay was committed to Daisy, Daisy married Tom instead of waiting for Jay as she had promised.

If the love you have is true, then love waits. Conversely, self-interest cannot wait but always wants what it wants now. Remember this: Though you are riding off into the sunset with your knight right now, the horse will get tired at some point and you will have to get off. The ride is just the beginning of the journey. Make sure you have someone who wants to finish the journey with you and not just looking for a thrill ride.

Remember, the end of a matter is always better than its beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). Just wait!

Know what Motivates Your Partner

The love of money was what primarily drove Daisy and Myrtle (Isla Fisher). They could never be happy with anyone who did not have money – no matter how much that person loved them. Don’t get me wrong, Daisy and Myrtle wanted love, but they wanted it only if it came with a ritzy lifestyle. Money was their security and security was more important than love.

It is no wonder that money is the leading cause of relationship woes. Today, when most people say I love you, what they are really saying is ‘I love what you provide me and are able to do for me’. Love that is based on ‘what you have’ is not love but fear and greed in disguise for it is based on selfishness. Take this challenge: Go to your partner and ask what they love about you? Listen closely to the answer and see if he or she simply mentions what you are doing for them.

What you want is for someone to mention your character, your heart, your loving nature, your faith etc. You want him or her to mention things that have nothing to do with material things – the material things are simply perks. Only true love stands the ‘in sickness and in health’ test.

You cannot serve both God (love) and money (Matthew 6:24)

Forget the Past   

Instead of looking at the reality of the present, Jay Gatsby kept his focus on the past and tried to re-create the past. The reality was the Daisy was a married woman, but the lens of the past kept him seeing her as his sweetheart.

Holding on to the past will only lead you to miss out on a great future. The only way to let go of the past is to focus on the present. Focus on who you are right now and how you are changed instead of allowing the muck of your past to dictate your life.

Similarly, if your partner hurt you in the past, ask yourself this question: Is this the same person or is this a different person living in the same body? Trying to punish someone who has long since changed is akin to flogging a dead horse. It simply saps all your energy without yielding any fruit.

You and Your Partner Must Flock Together

Birds of a feather flock together! When Jay met Daisy, he was flocking around a crowd he had no business flocking around. Similarly, if you are Christian, you have no business trying to entice someone to whom you are unequally yoked. Though things may seem exciting for the moment, you are more than likely flocking towards disaster.

We are warned that two cannot walk together unless they agree with one another (Amos 3:3). If you and your partner’s spirit are not in agreement, then nothing else will. The best relationships are the ones where the individuals are both flocking towards God. In this kind of relationship, both people know they are always flocking in the same direction, and they know that goodness and rewards in life are found when they reach their destination.

Do Not Play God

Jay tried to turn back the hands of time in trying to get back with Daisy. He was willing to sacrifice his integrity and himself to give her whatever she wanted. He wanted to be her god with whom she would feel safe, secure, and loved.

Here is the problem with being someone’s god: You can never satisfy the person completely for you are not God. Trying to become a god puts undue pressure on you and sets up your partner for disappointment for they will make an idol of you. It eventually leads to unhappiness.

Today, instead of trying to be perfect in your relationship, just simply move in the direction of perfection daily.

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2 Things You Must Do to Experience Heaven on Earth

God desires that we live a life that is abundant in every way imaginable (see John 10:10). Not only does He want us to enjoy the treasures of eternal life in heaven, He wants us to enjoy a portion of heaven right here on earth. If you do not believe me, perhaps you will believe Jesus. Here is how He puts it:

Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life – Mark 10:29-30

It is clear that Jesus distinguishes between what we inherit in this life versus what we inherit when we pass through the door of death. In this life, we have the ability to receive a hundred fold in material wealth (lands and houses) and be awash in enriching and meaningful relationships (family and friends).

But because we live in a fallen world, we are to increase a hundred fold in persecutions in this life as well. Even so, God tells us that He will deliver us from all negativity that comes our way (Psalm 34:19) for He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Moreover, great is our reward in heaven for enduring these persecutions. Therefore, persecutions are simply opportunities for us to be victorious in this life and store up treasures for the life to come.

Here are two things you must do if you are ever going to experience heaven right here on earth

Surrender Your Will

In other words, you must surrender your stinking thinking for the sweet thoughts that God has to prosper you and to give you a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). Many times, the way that seems right to us leads to terrible consequences (see Proverbs 14:12) but the way of God leads to honor, riches, and life.

Solomon understood this and so He asked for wisdom to do God’s will. Jesus also understood this and so cared not about His own will (see John 5:30).

Lightbulb MomentThe result of surrendering wholeheartedly to the will of God is wholehearted obedience to His voice and commandments. When you do this, He promises that blessings will overcome us wherever we are and whatever we do. Just read all the blessings He has promised us in Deuteronomy 28:1-14! How incredible. God will always make good on this promise for He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19).

If you love yourself, you will surrender to His will. If you want to know His will, start reading the word of God. The word of will speak into your heart.

Surrender Your Heart in Humility

A great reason to surrender your heart to God is because your heart is what He examines (1 Samuel 16:7). God wants to perform surgery on your heart but you must willingly surrender it to Him – God is a gentleman and not a tyrant. When you do, the first thing He does is remove all those hardened areas of your heart – areas of hurt, fear, insecurities, anxiety, and turmoil. He takes all the muck out of your so that you can start to enjoy your life. Instead of fear, you can enjoy love. Instead of anxiety, you can enjoy peace.

Lightbulb MomentWhen you open your heart up to God is when you open your heart up to love in all its forms.

When you submit your heart to God is when He is able to purify it so that you can see Him (see Matthew 5:8). No one see’s God without seeing the attributes of God. So when you see God, you will surely see love, goodness, mercy, kindness, patience, miracles, favor, peace, council, and so much more in your life. When you are poor in spirit (humble) is when you inherit all the goodies of the kingdom of heaven right here on earth (see Matthew 5:3).

I want to encourage you today to get over yourself (your past mistakes, your pride, your will) and surrender all you are to Him. You will not regret it.

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Is it ever okay NOT to honor my father and mother?

We are taught to honor our father and mother so that our days may be prolonged (Exodus 20:12). Before breathing a sigh of relief that this scripture is found in the Old Testament, Apostle Paul repeats this instruction in his letter to the church in Ephesus – teaching us that it is applicable to us today and reminding us that it is the first commandment with a promise.

But does this mean we have to acquiesce to every wish of our parents? Absolutely not! The bible tells us that we are to not to seek the honor that comes from man but to seek the honor that comes from God (John 5:41).

What does this mean? It means that we are never to honor the wishes of any man – including our parents – above honoring God. Why? This is because in being human, the wishes of our parents are at times driven by their fear, prejudice, selfishness, history, upbringing, culture, and life experiences.

In essence, the will and wishes of man is not always good for us and acceptable to God. Conversely, the will and wish of God for our lives is always good, acceptable and perfect (see Romans 12:2)

Lightbulb MomentIt is alright to honor the wishes of our parents only if what they want lines up with what God tells us to do as instructed by the Holy Spirit.

Put another way, our ultimate authority is God and not man – not matter how close the relationship! The perfect example of honoring God above man is that of Jesus. If Jesus had listened to his family, He would not have done the will of His father to do good and heal those who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). We know this because the bible tells us that His family wanted to whisk Him away from the crowd to which He was healing, setting free, and preaching. Why? They thought He was out of His mind (Mark 3:20)!

Have you wondered why Jesus’ teachings and wonderful miracles did not excite His family? It is because they were only thinking of themselves! See, Jesus was the first-born son of His household; therefore, the responsibility of caring for the family fell on Him after Joseph’s death. Being a skilled carpenter and not breaking a jot of the law, He provided for His family very well! How do we know Jesus was well off? We know for the God promised great things for those who kept his commandments and obeyed His voice (see Deuteronomy 28). Since God is not a liar, it is clear that He commanded blessings into everything to which Jesus put His hand –  including His storehouse (see Deuteronomy 28:8).

See, the family of Jesus had it good! By Jesus leaving it all behind to embark on this new ministry of His, He had not only seemingly shunned His responsibility as the patriarch of His family, but they were also worried that He was no longer going to be able to provide for them! They would no longer live the good life. They wondered to themselves: ‘Why is He leaving this goodness to go perambulate the wilderness – just walking from place to place? God has blessed Him and given Him a duty to take care of us. And why is He going against our traditions? What will people say? Why is He simply throwing all He has away? Surely, He has lost His mind’.

You see, His family were being selfish in thinking only about themselves without pausing to think of how wonderful Jesus’ ministry was for those He was setting free.

Thank goodness Jesus did not decide to honor His family above the word and voice of God. Can you imagine if He had said: ‘Well, I must honor my family and so stop what I am doing’? How horrible for the entire multitude to which He ministered; how horrible for all humanity! Though His family did not understand, He understood what He was doing, and that is all that mattered. As we know, His own brother did not believe in Him at the beginning but would later come to understand and believe.

This tells us that every decision made in Christ will sooner or later be understood by all who doubted us. Why? It is because wisdom (the instruction of God) is always justified by her children (its results). In obeying the voice of God, Jesus not only honored God but ultimately honored His family and all humanity by paying the price for our sins on the cross and honoring us with a way back to God.

Moreover, He made sure His mother was going to be well taken care off as well (John 19:26).

Lightbulb MomentThe only way to truly honor man with love is to honor God. Anything done outside of God is not love but fear in disguise.

Food for Thought: I am right for honoring my parents, but I am wrong for honoring them above God.

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What Does God Require of Me? How can I live a blessed life?

Uncharted territoryI have heard it said many times: ‘I just don’t know what God wants from me? I am doing all I know to do – I am tithing and reading my bible everyday but nothing is working’.

The question of what God requires of us must not be confused with the question of what God wants or desires for us. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of what God requires leads too many of us to chase after what God desires for us in our own power. In other words, we become law-keeping Pharisees who attempt to buy God’s love and favor through sacrificial law-keeping – hoping we can lay hold of the sanctified and abundant life that He so desires for us. But this does not work and only leads to endless striving (bondage) and disappointment.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The truth is that if we can give God what He requires of us, then He will give us what He wants and desires for us.

Rather than leave us to our own devices, God tells us that what He requires of us is to hear His words (the word of God) which He speaks through His Son.

 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him – Deuteronomy 18:18-19

If we peruse the scripture, we find these three highlighted words in the New Testament where Apostle Paul tells us that ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ – Romans 10:17

Hence, we know that God wants us to hear His words because the hearing or the paying of attention to His words produces faith. Why does God want us to have faith? He wants us to have faith because we are saved from eternal separation from Him by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). It is our faith that allows us to overcome mountains (Matt. 17:20). It is our faith that is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4). It is our faith that pleases Him and so allows us to get rewarded (Heb. 11:6).

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: The secret to attaining all victory and reward in life is paying attention to the word of God spoken by Jesus spoken through the Holy Spirit.

And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him – Deuteronomy 18:19

With regards to salvation, verse 19 tells us this: whoever will not hear My words which He speaks in My name (whoever will not have faith or trust in Jesus), I will require it of Him (I will require the words of faith – which cleanses you and accomplishes the forgiveness of sins unto salvation – from him). Since we know it is impossible to achieve salvation by our own works, we see that God is telling us that whoever does not have faith in Jesus Christ is in trouble and will have to answer to God someday at the great white throne of judgment.

With regards to victorious living, verse 19 tells us this: whoever will not hear My words which He speaks in My name (whoever will not trust in the word of God spoken by Jesus through the Holy Spirit), I will require it of Him (I will require the words which produce life from him). In other words, the only way we truly have life (live heaven on earth) is by paying attention to the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit. If we do not, then the abundant life that Christ came to give us right here on earth is taken away from us. Put another way, we cheat ourselves of God’s best when we fail to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: God requires that we hear His words because He wants us to experience heaven on earth before He calls us back home to heaven – where we belong by hearing his word.

Friend, God is always speaking but are you listening? If you can no longer hear Him, acknowledge your wrong-doing to Him today and ask Him to penetrate your heart afresh. If you have never heard from Him and this has spoken to your heart, then acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and Savior and confess it with your mouth. All God requires of you is to hear Him out and give Him a chance

Food for thought:  Those who open their ears (heart) to hear will never regret it.

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The Waters of Noah

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you. For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you – Isaiah 54:9 – 10

In the time of Noah, God used mighty flood waters to wipe away the sin of this world. Unfortunately, the only way sin could be wiped away at that time (since we did not yet have a redeemer) was to wipe away man. Why? It is because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Hence without a redeemer, the only way for God to get rid of sin was to get rid of man; it was justice being done!

After the flood when God promised never to flood the whole earth again, He was really saying that He would never again use natural waters (death) to cleanse the world; He was saying that we would never again have to pay the price of death for our sins. Though we gave ourselves over to the nothingness of sin, He was never again going to require the wages (payment) of our sins from our hands.

For thus says the LORD, “You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money

 – Isaiah 52:3

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Instead of using natural waters to purge the world of sin as in the days of Noah, God decided to use supernatural waters.

God proclaimed this when He said that He shall sprinkle clean water on us and so we shall be clean (Ezekiel 36:25). Jesus explains this further when He said to the disciples that they were clean because of the words that He spoke to them (John 15:3).

So we see that it is the supernatural water of the life-giving word of God that cleanses us from our sins.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: It is the water of the word that enables us to receive the Holy Spirit or to be born of the Holy Spirit – who can only inhabit a clean and in-corrupt vessel for He is holy.

This is why Jesus told Nicodemus that man must be born of water and the Holy Spirit (John 3:5). Simply put, Jesus is saying that we must first be cleansed of our sins and then receive the Holy Spirit who seals us (Ephesians 1:13 – 14) onto salvation. Jesus was simply describing what truly happens when we believe and confess:  (1) our sins get eradicated and (2) we receive the Holy Spirit.

How is it that the word washes us? Here is how: The words that God speaks to us produce faith – for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word (Romans 10:17). It is this faith (trust and believe) that Jesus is Lord and that Christ raised Him from death that produces salvation (Romans 10:9-10) by giving us access to grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). Hence, it is faith (which comes from words) that helps us tap into the forgiveness of sins – which was accomplished over two millennia ago.

How wonderful it is that God considers the sacrifice of Jesus for us (our transgressions and iniquity) as the waters of Noah! It is a one and done deal that required nothing from us! Instead of being angry with us or rebuking us (see Isaiah 54:9-10), God poured out the cup of His wrath on Jesus (Himself). What a loving Father! What a loving Son to accept His fate!

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