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Daily Devotional

Latest Blog Posts in November 2016

ASAP: Patience - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2016

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.  Matthew 4:4
If there’s one thing that tries my patience, it’s when people are inconsiderate. You know who they are. They take too much time in the pick up line after school. They take 13 items through the “12 items or less” lane. They don’t put the equipment back in the gym after they use it. They drive 25 mph in a 25 mph zone. I mean really, who does this? Come on people!
You know who does this? People. Do you know why? Because they’re people. You know who else is a “people”? Me. Guess what? So are you. You’re a “people” too. And the problem with people is that we are imperfect people who do dumb things sometimes. 
My impatience problem with people is just that - my problem. When my world revolves around me, me, me, I begin to see people as a problem. And THAT’S a problem. 
I tend to see people as a problem when I’m not taking the time to read God’s Word and allow it to guide my thoughts and actions. But when I’m consistent with being in the Word, I see people differently because God sees people differently. I’m much more patient with people when I plant the seed of God’s Word in my heart. Patience can be grown when the right seeds are sown and God’s Word is the next seed we should plant in our hearts. 
If you don’t have a consistent time in God’s Word, check out some of the great reading plans offered by YouVersion. Start a short one today to develop the habit and notice how patience begins to grow in your life. 

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

ASAP: Patience - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Nov 29, 2016

The fruit of the Spirit is…patience. Galatians 5:22
My son Carter and a couple of his teammates snuck onto their high school football practice field in the middle of the night their sophomore year to do a little planting. They figured it’d be nice during breaks in their football practice to have a snack, so these fellas planted a small apple tree to the side of the field with the expectation that during their senior year, they’d eat apples at practice. They had no clue how long that growth process was going to take! 
As that tree grows, the expectation is that it will grow apples rather than bananas or pears. It’s an apple tree and apple trees produce apples! 
Patience can be grown when the right seeds are sown. Yesterday we planted the seed of stillness which will help produce patience. Another vital seed to plant is the Holy Spirit. Paul teaches us that when the Holy Spirit is leading our lives, patience is a fruit that He will produce. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God to us when we fully surrender our lives to Jesus. If you’ve not fully given your life over to God, maybe today is the day to do that. Give us a shout and we can help. 
As an apple tree produces apples, so the Holy Spirit will produce patience in us as we give Him control of our lives.
In prayer, invite the Holy Spirit to take complete control of your heart, thoughts, and motives. Verbally give Him the reins and then allow Him to take over. 
To learn more about who the Holy Spirit is, check these out.

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

ASAP: Patience - Monday

Posted on Mon, Nov 28, 2016

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7
Do you ever pray for patience? Most of us do. If so, you’ve probably discovered that God has a sense of humor. Rather than gift wrapping patience and handing it to us, He gives us situations where we have to be patient. We’ll be fine if You want to just give us patience, Lord! 
James used the example of a farmer as someone who models patience. A farmer’s job is to create the right environment for seeds to grow, then he just waits until the seeds do what seeds do. 
Our job in cultivating patience is to prepare our hearts by creating the right environment for God to do His thing. Patience can be grown when the right seeds are sown. This week we’ll look at some seeds we can sow to grow in patience.
The first seed we should sow is the seed of stillness. Our days are filled with demands, noises, images, and distractions. All of these things cultivate impatience, and the best defense is a good offense. So we need to still ourselves to prepare for the craziness. 
For the next 5 days, commit to waking up 5 minutes earlier than normal. Find a quiet place and sit completely still for 5 minutes. Don’t pray. Just sit. Take deep breaths and listen. Allow God to speak. Let the rest of your day flow from this time of stillness. Patience will begin to sprout when we plant the seed of stillness at the beginning of our day. 
For more on the discipline of stillness and silence check out this video.

Chris Hahn
Lead Executive Pastor/ Elder

ASAP: Action - Friday

Posted on Fri, Nov 25, 2016

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  Exodus 20:8
Shabbat Shalom. You’ve been reading the phrase all week. More than a greeting, our Jewish friends use this as a blessing. Peace to you as you rest in the Sabbath. Those who honor this holy ordinance receive God’s blessing. It’s the Sabbath life. 
You and I were designed for Sabbath life. It is a mark on us, registering us as children of the Most High God. God’s people are marked people, friends. Set apart. They look more like Him and less like the rest of the world. 
So when our culture calls us to run after fortune, fame, accomplishment, status, and self-service, we can answer with a resounding, “No thanks. I’m running hard and fast after Jesus.” 
God’s people are marked by following His established precepts. It sets them apart from any other people. In covenant theology, it’s known as a “mark on the body.” Ancient covenants were often sealed when the partners made a cut on their wrists, mingling blood with their covenant partner. They would then rub dirt on the wound to make the resulting scar obvious, marking them as being in a covenant relationship with another. 
I feel the hair on the back of my neck standing up, friends. Somebody else we love has scars, doesn’t He? And we… we’re His… wait for it… we’re His Body. The Body of Christ, friends, are those who bear the mark of Christ, the precious Holy Spirit. 
Ephesians 1:13 declares, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.”
It is Sabbath rest that will prepare and enable you to carry out the mission He has for your life, friends. Pull in tight. Ride high on His shoulders. All will be made clear. 
Shabbat Shalom, friends. 
Listen to this as you close out the week.   

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

ASAP: Action - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Nov 24, 2016

She is clothed with strength and dignity … she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise … she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household … Her children stand and bless her … Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised … Proverbs 31:25-31
I loved how my sweet Little Mama approached the holidays. I can see her flitting about the kitchen, singing, “The bird, the bird, the bird, bird, bird,” as she stuffed and basted the turkey. Oh my, could that woman cook! But instead of being overwhelmed at the largesse of her tasks, she always had a smile and a song. 
It’s because she got it. She honored her Sabbath, and on the other side wasn’t simply more energy. There was more gratitude, kindness, forbearance. And, goodness, did she ever need that with five kids, one of which was the hair-on-fire kind! 
When the Lord began to teach me about the true value of Sabbath rest, He led me to a verse in Deuteronomy. 
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)
All my striving and fingers-to-the-bone working. All my restlessness over unfinished action lists. Jesus just wants to hoist me up on His shoulders and carry me around. He’s a good, good Father. 
So, friends, I’m trading my pride for a ride. At least once a week. Sabbath rest has become my favorite of times. Out of it, I can work and work hard. Now there is peace in the painstaking tasks, wisdom where once worry prevailed. There is hope as I receive help for my times of need. 
On the other side of discipline, there is a deepening. That schedule we keep can be manageable. We can say “yes” to the best and “no” to the things we need to eliminate. Our text today assures us that the Proverbs woman worked out of her rest, and not the other way around. 
And now, I’m off to baste that turkey! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 
...The bird, the bird, the bird, bird, bird ...
Shabbat Shalom, friends. 
  • Gratitude is life-giving. Thank God today for giving you life. 
  • Listen to this as you reflect. 

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

ASAP: Action - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Nov 23, 2016

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family … She considers a field and buys it … she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously … She sees that her trading is profitable … her lamp does not go out at night … She opens her arms to the poor … She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple… She makes linen garments and sells them ... Proverbs 31:13-24
Goodness, that babe is busy! I need a nap just reading all that! 
I get her, that Proverbs gal. It’s my nature to run 90-miles-an-hour with my hair on fire. I’m the Action List Queen. I have always figured that when I die, I’ll go skidding sideways into the casket with a trail of sparks and smoke behind me. You know what I’m talking about? 
I’ve prided myself on being energetically committed to, well, pretty much everything. And there it is. The real reason I avoided acknowledging my workaholism for so long. Pride. And if you look closely at your unwillingness to press pause, I bet you’ll find it peeking out around the corner of your life, too. Ouch. Hurts a little, doesn’t it? 
I want others to notice that I’m flyin’ high, takin’ care of business. I can be counted on when you need something done. Pride. 
When my husband looks at me at the end of the day, “Honey, will ya just light somewhere?” He noticed I’m busy, I’m a hard worker. Pride. 
When I go unnoticed though my effort is great, I can sulk and pout. Pride.
Today, I’ll be busy preparing a feast for my family. There will be pecan pie, sweet potato casserole, yeast rolls, and gravy. All from scratch. Busy, busy, busy. 
Yet there has taken place something new. God is teaching me to disown my pride and move on to maturity. On the other side of God’s discipline, there is a deepening. There is peace in the pursuing Jesus before all else. I pray it will be so for you as well. 
Shabbat Shalom, friends.
  • Before the food and the football, determine to focus on what God has done, and how you need Him to continue teaching you.
  • Settle your heart, and listen to this.

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

ASAP: Action - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Nov 22, 2016

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:3
Sabbath. Shabbat, in Hebrew. It was Shabbat that set apart the children of Israel from the rest of the ancient world. No other culture took a day off from the grind of existing, from the toil of survival. Yet God wanted His people to look different in many ways, didn’t He? 
He wanted His people to look like Him, not like the rest of the world. Ooooh, I feel a preachin’ comin’ on, y’all! 
So important was Shabbat, that He made it one of the Ten. One of the things He felt encapsulated His essence, and enabled His people to live life to the fullest. We must remember, friends, that God’s precepts -- all of His precepts -- are for our protection and provision. Always. 
Shabbat falls fourth in the deliverance of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17), only behind no other gods, no idols, no misuse of My name. Hmmm. I’m thinking God thinks pretty highly of this Sabbath thing. 
Once a week, every single one of us needs to press pause. And in that pause, we need to press into the chest of God. Pull in so close you can feel His heartbeat. Why? Because He created you to be refreshed in Him. 
It’s about now I need to confess I am new to honoring a Sabbath in my life. I am a recovering workaholic. A person who God has been teaching His Sabbath concept to for the past few years. I have been somewhat resistant, and truthfully, a little dense in grasping the propensity of the need for Sabbath rest in my life. But it’s been one of those things about which I feel the Lord saying to me, “Oh, precious daughter, you can bend your knees or I can break them. But either way, you’re going down.” 
Tomorrow, we’ll examine one of the main barriers to observing Sabbath in our lives. You might not like hearing it. I certainly didn’t. But we’ll turn quickly to the benefits of Sabbath, so our toes don’t get too bruised.
Shabbat Shalom, friends. 
  • Today, ask God to speak to you about what might be keeping you from setting apart a Sabbath for Him. Listen closely. 
  • Listen to this and pull in tightly to the Father’s heartbeat.

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

ASAP: Action - Monday

Posted on Mon, Nov 21, 2016

God blessed them and said to them... Genesis 1:28
It started with Adam and Eve, you know. Workaholism. They thought they were doing the right things. Things the Lord commanded them to do. Good things, right? Here they were, smack dab in the middle of the Garden, just the two of them. With a mission from God. 
“Be fruitful and increase in number…” 
“Fill the earth and subdue it…” 
“Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air…” 
“And over every living creature that moves on the ground…” 
The mission was HEE-YUGE! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) What did God say next, there in the beginning? 
“Jump on it?” 
“Hop to it?”
“Shake a leg?”
“Get moving?” 
Nope. Basically, He said, “Take a nap.” Rest. 
Work from your rest, people. But you and me? We’ve been doing just the opposite since about Genesis 3. We’ve been working, working, working. Until we fall down. Crashing in physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Taking an hour or two, a day or so, and then we’re hot on the trail again, aren’t we? 
We rest from our work instead of working from our rest. One will perpetuate exhaustion. The other, fulfillment.
Don’t miss the point. It’s not just about napping. It’s about tapping. Tapping into the Source of your life, energy, and purpose. It’s Sabbath. 
In Sabbath, taking a determined, dedicated rest with God, you and I will find both rest and renewal. This week, we’ll examine why we miss this mark so often. And maybe, just maybe, find the God who wants to refresh our souls, and thus, our work. 
Shabbat Shalom, friends. 
  • Pick a day of the week this week to set aside one hour of Sabbath rest. (And going to church doesn’t count.)
  • During this Sabbath, you can read the Bible, listen to worship music. You can even prop your feet up. 
  • Ask God for a steady heart to lead you to a steady life. 

Rebecca Hatton
Care Support Leader

ASAP: Self-Control - Friday

Posted on Fri, Nov 18, 2016

And you should imitate me, as I imitate Christ.  1 Corinthians 11:1
I used to dream of being an actor. I would watch Saturday Night Live and secretly imagine myself one day earning a spot on the cast, after which I would make it big with a hit comedy co-starring Chris Farley. I would soon be invited back to host SNL time and time again, until one day I would join the esteemed “Five-Timers Club” with Tom Hanks and Steve Martin. It was a very specific dream, I know. 
My favorite comedian at the time was Jim Carrey. I memorized his movies, practiced impersonations in the mirror, and quoted him whenever I could. After performing in the school musical my senior year, an audience member came backstage to greet the cast and said, “Hey, I don’t know you, but I think you were great! You reminded me exactly of Jim Carrey!” It was the best compliment I could have received. 
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should have the same effect on those around us. Even strangers who see us from afar should be able to see something different about us. “Hey, I don’t know you,” they’ll say, “but you remind me a lot of Jesus!”
Imitation takes discipline. It takes study. It takes self-control. Just as I had to spend hours in front of a mirror retraining facial muscles and listening to vocal inflections in order to perfect my Jim Carrey, “Alrighty then,” so, too, must we put in the hard work of learning the small nuances of grace, love, and self-sacrifice that are the foundations of a Christlike life. 
Often, one of the best ways to become like Christ is to look to others who look like Jesus. Find people who exude humility, who give generously, who love extravagantly, who worship boldly; find these people and imitate them.
  • Write down the names of 3-5 people you know who are imitating Christ. Make note of what you admire about them. If you can, talk to them and ask questions. Find small ways that you can start imitating them.

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

ASAP: Self-Control - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Nov 17, 2016

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31
When my kids were younger, they loved showing me what they could do. “Dad, watch me jump!” “Dad, watch me knock these blocks over!” “Dad, watch me push my sister down this steep hill in the little red wagon!” They were doing wonderful new things, and they wanted to know their father’s delight.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul exhorts the believers to, “live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” In all things we are to live with eternity in mind, and with a desire to let the glory of God resonate through our every action and reaction.
This has profound implications for the way we operate. Do we live as citizens of heaven, or do we get caught up in every stream of worldly pressure and cultural norms? Church, we cannot do both! If we are striving after the things the world chases, we will miss out on God. Conversely, if we live with self-control and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our steps, we will glorify God, even in the most mundane decisions. Our spending habits, our meal times, our weekend plans, our diets, our conversations - everything we do will bring glory to God… and our Father will delight in us! 
  • A simple litmus test for revealing behavioral patterns is to evaluate how you spend your time and money. If you have the courage, take time to review your calendars and credit card/bank statements from the last month (or better yet, 6 months). Don’t feel defensive or feel like you need to justify anything… just let the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the data. Do your spending habits reflect a kingdom mindset? Are your days ordered around or for the glory of God? What baby steps can you take with your time and money to live in a manner worthy of the Gospel?

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

ASAP: Self-Control - Wednesday

Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2016

Don’t be concerned for your own good, but for the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:24
I probably can’t technically be classified as a lexophile, a logophile, or a linguaphile, but I do love words and the power they have. Though they have long since faded from my intellectual arsenal, I was at one time fluent in French and Dutch in addition to English. I always find it fascinating to discover words in other languages which express a depth of meaning that cannot be matched by any single word in the English language. 
The South African word, ubuntu, is one such word. In our best translations, ubuntu means “humanness,” “human kindness,” or “humanity towards others.” Those translations, however, fall short of capturing the fullness of ubuntu. I once heard a South African pastor explain the word this way: “I am because we are.” It has to do with a deep understanding and belief that humanity is connected through a universal bond, and that what one individual does will have very real connections and implications for his/her community.
I really, really like that. I am because we are. 
Paul makes this same point in our passage today. He cautions us not be so satisfied in our own freedoms that we actually damage others who may not share the same mindset. Notice Paul’s concern here isn’t about who is right or who is wrong. He notes only that we have a responsibility to lay down our “rightness” for the sake of others. 
Though you are free to buy, watch, drink, wield, or say whatever you want, will others see you and get the wrong impression? We are not responsible for how people respond to us, but we are responsible for what we allow them to respond to. We should take care to value the concerns and sensitivities of others over our own freedoms!
  • Imagine inviting a brand-new Christian to follow you everywhere for a week. Are there behaviors or patterns that would be hard to explain based only on your shared understanding of the gospel? 

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

ASAP: Self-Control - Tuesday

Posted on Tue, Nov 15, 2016

You say, “I am allowed to do anything” - but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything” - but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23
My name is Daniel, which means that in the 32 years since The Karate Kid was first released, I have been referred to playfully as “Daniel-san.” When he’s not catching house flies with his chopsticks, Daniel-san’s sensei, Mr. Myagi, spends the movie series spitting wisdom all over Daniel’s teenage angst. In Karate Kid II, Mr. Myagi gives this reminder: “Here are the two rules of Myagi-Ryu Karate. Rule number one: karate for defense only. Rule number two: first learn rule number one.”
The idea is that just because you can fight, doesn’t mean you should. It’s a standard principle of self-defense: learn to fight so that you don’t have to.
Just because you have the freedom to do something, doesn’t mean you should. You and I live in the most free and permissible country in the history of the world. And, if we are in Christ, then we are in every sense set free from sin and death. Our freedom is real and we should live as such. 
I am reminded of Andy Stanley’s teaching on “The Best Question Ever.” When presented with any choice, Stanley suggests, we should ask ourselves one question: “What is the wise thing to do?” We don’t start with asking what we can do, what we want to do, what others are doing, what we wish we could do, what we did before, or any other permutation of that permission-seeking mindset. The question Andy, Paul, and the Holy Spirit would have us start with is, “what is the wise thing to do?”
Wisdom is of God. Shunning, ignoring, or choosing not to pursue wisdom is folly - death, even. 
  • Intentionally ask for wisdom in the little things today. “Is this the wise purchase? Is this the wise thing to post on social media? Is this the wise thing to eat or drink?” Give the Holy Spirit permission to speak, and have the self-control to obey His voice. 

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

ASAP: Self-Control - Monday

Posted on Mon, Nov 14, 2016

So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience.  1 Corinthians 10:25
These days, I’m basically the complete opposite of that math genius, Good Will Hunting. Back in high school, however, I was acing the state math exams. One day in pre-calc, I let my mind wander. I already knew how to to do the problems and I was bored with my classmates’ questions, so I tuned out the teacher and set my energies instead to drawing transparent cubes on my college-ruled notebook paper.
I was startled out of my daze when I heard the teacher call my name. The whole class was staring at me, Mrs. Gibson was waiting on a response, and I wasn’t even aware that a question had been asked. I had to swallow my pride, admit that I wasn’t paying attention, and endure a modest reprimand.
When approaching Scripture, we have to be careful not to set ourselves to doodling in the margins while the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. This particular passage deals with a subject that, at a glance, many of us could pass over as irrelevant. Food regulations were a huge deal for Jewish Christians, but are of little concern for most of us. Unless you believe that your right standing with God Almighty is based on your ability to adhere to a lifetime of Isagenix 30-day cleanses… we can’t really relate.
But we must not tune out. Everything in this passage speaks to the way the Holy Spirit draws us ever deeper into Christian community and the image of Christ. As we approach this week together, let’s acknowledge He has something here for me and for you. Food sacrificed to idols may seem out of reach, but are there areas of your life that Paul could be speaking into? 
  • The attitude with which you approach your freedoms is at the heart of this passage. What are the freedoms you most vehemently defend: Guns? Alcohol? Relationships? Language? Finances? Humbly submit these things to God and ask for Him to speak clearly on these matters. 

Dan Jackson
Campus Leader - Georgetown

ASAP: Awareness - Friday

Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2016

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2
“Boredom,” my friend Kara said, “is not allowed in our house.” For this family, even the word “bored” is strictly off limits. Kara explained that boredom isn’t a feeling, it’s a complaint: “It’s like saying there’s a problem but being really unwilling to fix it.” While some of us haven’t felt boredom since we we were young enough for summer break, there are probably a few of us out there who could say that we’ve got a little more free time in our week than we’d like to have. Sometimes, as adults, that boredom translates to feeling lonely. My life fluctuates a lot - some weeks I can’t catch a breath; other weeks I have a whole day with no specific plans. On those days, I take a page from Kara’s book and kick boredom to the curb by looking for ways to reach out to the people in my life who need a little extra help to find some rest. Rest is a lot like money: when you have a little bit extra, you can give it away to someone else who might be running a little short! 
  • If you’ve got a little extra rest to tithe this week, try reaching out to someone who could use some spare time in their week. Check out the ideas below!

Stephanie Boxx
Student Ministry Volunteer Coordinator / Administrative Assistant - Richmond Road

ASAP: Awareness - Thursday

Posted on Thu, Nov 10, 2016

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.  Psalm 127:2
Let’s get real for a minute. Some of you have been reading the devos this week and thinking that the concept of rest sounds great but probably isn’t exactly an option for you. I’m talking to you, mother of multiple kids with a carpool schedule so complicated that it makes air traffic control look easy. I’m talking to you, the person checking their work email at 10pm. And you, the student who stumbled into class this morning to hand in a paper that was freshly printed about 5 minutes before it was due. I feel you. I really do. There are just some seasons in life where a total day off is laughable. When those seasons hit, rest shouldn’t be another burden on your ever growing to-do list. Rest should be more like a rhythm. In music, the very first beat of every measure is called the downbeat. The downbeat signals the beginning of a measure (that’s a fancy word for a section of a song) and it’s usually the strongest beat. There are several other beats in a measure but the downbeat is what helps musicians stay in rhythm. For those of you in impossibly busy seasons, you’re going to need to focus on rest as your “downbeat.” It’s going to be the quick but strong thing that leads the way into all the other “beats” you got going on this week.  
  • Even if your week is jam-packed with inescapable tasks, you can sneak in a little “downbeat” of rest here and there. Spend time with God in your car on the way to work. Take a nap while those babies are sleeping. Spend 10 minutes sipping your coffee in silence before you start your day. Use your walks from class to class as a time to take a deep breath. 

Stephanie Boxx
Student Ministry Volunteer Coordinator / Administrative Assistant - Richmond Road

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