The Peace Of Jerusalem

January 2, 2015

The Peace of Jerusalem

            Psalm 122:6 tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” That was written some centuries ago, but Israel still needs our prayers.

Several times Israel has been threatened with annihilation.  The pharaoh tried it when Israel was in Egypt.  You can read about that in Exodus chapter one.  Again in Esther we read how king Ahasuerus, having been deceived by one of hit aids, set out to destroy Israel.  They were saved by the prudence of Queen Esther.  During the Second World War Hitler slaughtered millions of Jews.  It was only the mercy of God that saved them from annihilation.  There are now Arab nations intent on annihilating Israel.  They have no good reason for doing so.  For that reason, we need to pray for Israel.

In Matthew 23:38 we read that Jesus said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. ”That doesn’t mean that they were rejected.  Most commentaries say  the “house” means the temple.  God took his special protection off of the temple and allowed it to be destroyed in 70 AD.  The Apostle Paul, In Romans 11:1 said, “Hath God cast away his people?  God forbid.”  If we go on reading in that chapter we find these words in verse 26 “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

In Revelation chapter twelve we find the prophecy of the dragon that will make war with the woman in the end times.  Most commentaries tell us that the woman is Israel.  In the end, her seed will be protected by the power of God.

We should find in our hearts a desire to pray for the persecuted and oppressed people of the world.  Israel is certainly among the oppressed people.  We can be thankful that we aren’t among the oppressed people.

Even some Christians have a bad attitude toward the Jews.  It may be that they have had a bad experience with someone who was a Jew.   Sometimes there is jealousy towards the Jews.  In spite of the fact that the Jews have rejected the Messiah, they have been successful.  One reason for that is that they have accepted and applied the moral values in the Tanach ( which includes the Pentateuch and the Prophets of Neviim and the Hagiographa or Ketuvim). Here are some facts about the success of the Jews.  “The Jews comprise less than 1% of the world’s population, yet 176 Nobel Prize winners have been Jews.  While 67% of American high school graduates attend college, 80% of Jewish high school graduates go to college.”[i]

We should be friends of Israel.  We should pray for the peace of Jerusalem, which includes Israel.  God has promised to bless us if we do.  The word “prosperity” in Psalm 122:6 really means tranquility or to be secure.

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[i] Taken from the book “Breaking The Jewish Code” by Perry Stone, p2


Our Mediator

November 19, 2014

Our Mediator Read the rest of this entry »


A Prayer For Right Thinking

November 4, 2014

A prayer For Right Thinking

Lord help me to be quick to forget the good I have done for others, but slow to forget and appreciate the good that others have done for me.


Be Instant In prayer

November 4, 2014


Be Instant In Prayer

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Prayer is one of the most blessed privileges God has given to those who are his children.  It is no wonder that one of Jesus disciples said to him “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).  In response, Jesus taught them what is often called “The Lord’s Prayer.” “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.   Give us day by day our daily bread.    And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4).  This is not a prayer to be repeated word for word.  It is to be taken as a model prayer.

The Lord’s prayer teaches us how to pray and suggests some things we should pray for.  There are some things in this prayer that we should be continually asking for.  Perhaps we don’t need to ask God for our daily bread.  If not, we should thank him for meeting that need.

New Christians need to be taught how to pray.  First, they need to learn how to talk to God in private.  It isn’t wise to ask them to pray out loud in public right away without asking them if they are ready for it.  They may feel uncomfortable and awkward about it at first.

Even some who have been believers for years often need help in knowing how to pray.  We need to keep God out of our prayers.  Let me explain what I mean by that.  When we pray, we talk to God.  It is personal.  When we are praying, it isn’t right to make mention of “the word of God.” It should be “your Word.” Even some pastors often make this mistake.  We use “you” and “your” when we talk to God.  For example, when we talk to God we don’t say “the Lord’s people.” They are “your people.” Could it be that  some develop a public prayer vocabulary that they use and forget that they are talking directly to God?  When I hear people use the impersonal object in prayer this way, it leaves me with a question about how personal their relationship is with God.

We should pray in Jesus name.  That’s what he tells us in John 14:13-14.  “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.    If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” Jesus gives us authority to ask things of God the Father.  He gives us authority to approach God the Father.  He promised to give us what we ask for.  That needs some clarification.  James 4:3 tells us why we don’t always get what we ask for.  “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  Our all wise God knows what is best for us.  One lady confessed “If God would have always given me what I ask for, I would have married the wrong man three times.”

I John 5:14 tells us that we must ask according to God’s will if we expect to receive.  “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us”  It is always best to leave our petition in God’s hands and let him answer according to his will.

Prayer changes things.  If we really believe that, we will pray more often.  He tells us to be instant in prayer.  Anytime, anywhere, we can pray.  Thank be to God, we don’t need a prayer book.  We can ask God for what we want in our own words. God is never too busy to hear and answer our prayers.  He bids us come to him.  Luke 18:1 says, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Don’t neglect to pray.

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Where is The Prayer Book?

            If you are dependent on your prayer book to be able to communicate with God, you better take good care of it.  Inevitably the time will come when you will be in desperate need of communion with God.  Perhaps some say, “But I pray in my own words.”  I’m glad you do, but if so, why do you need a prayer book?  What function does it have?

There are hundreds of thousands of people in this world who, in their childhood and youth, were accustomed to hearing prayers read from a prayer book.  Most likely they were given an ornately bound prayer book as a Christmas or birthday present.  Now, however, that prayer book has been put away, perhaps in a trunk in the attic.  Why?  It is because they have found a more direct and personal way of communicating with God.

The change took place when they learned that they could, and should have a personal relationship with God.  Perhaps it began as a result of reading John 1:12 which says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  God invites us to come to him with our needs.  Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

You may search in vain in a prayer book to find a portion that says what you want to say to God.  It is a cold, mechanical approach to God.  Since we are children of God, we go to him as our Heavenly Father.  In three different verses in the New Testament the term “Abba” is used.  Romans 8:15 is one of them.  It says, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”  We are told that  Abba is a term of endearment.  It is like a child that calls his father “daddy.” I have heard Christian young people address God in prayer as daddy.  To me, that is on the border of a lack of reverence.  The other extreme is to read to God out of a book

Some justify written prayers by citing the Lord’s prayer in Luke 11:1-4.  He said to his disciples “When you pray, say….”  It is quite generally believed that this is a model prayer.  In Matthew 6:9, where the Lord’s prayer is found again, he said “After this manner therefore pray ye….

Once while we were missionaries in Argentina, I was called on to have part in a funeral for a man who was shot in cold blood in front of his wife at the little fruit and vegetable store she managed. The funeral was held in the front yard at their house.  There wasn’t room in their little house to have it inside.  They don’t do funerals in a formal way there like they are done in the States.  What they do is more like what is called a viewing here.  A host of friends, neighbors, and relatives gathered in front of the house and in the street waiting for the funeral car to come with the body.  When it arrived the casket was opened in the yard.  Another car arrived with the flowers.  Some lit candles alongside the casket.  The service began when the priest stepped up, opened his prayer book, and read a portion from it.  Then the family asked me to pray.  I can’t remember the exact words of my prayer, but I’m sure I prayed by name for that grieving mother and widow and her children.  No doubt, I asked God to give them an abundant measure of grace based on the promise of II Corinthians 9:8.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

I felt sorry for that priest who had so little to offer that poor grieving widow.  Numerous times after the funeral that lady thanked my wife and I for being such a help and consolation to her at that time of great need.

If you are a genuine child of God it doesn’t matter if you have misplaced your prayer book.  You don’t need one.  You can pour your heart out to God in your own words.  Tell God how you feel and what your needs are.  Praise and thank him for his goodness.  When Peter stepped out of the boat and started walking on the water to go to Jesus, suddenly he realized that he was sinking.  He didn’t have a prayer book in his hands.  Matthew 14:30 says he cried out “Lord save me.” In the Bible we never read of Servants of God or disciples of Jesus praying by means of a prayer book.  A prayer book is an invention of men.  It is used by professing Christians who have a distant relationship with God.  Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.    And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

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The Secret Of The Lord

October 18, 2012

The Secret Of The Lord

      “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant” (Psalm 25:14).

Some truths that a faithful believer knows are incomprehensible for unbelievers, and even for believers who are not in communion with God.  I Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  The unsaved don’t even look for such truths, because for them they are foolishness.  The believer, who isn’t in a close relationship with God, lacks spiritual discernment and grieves the Holy Spirit by his indifference.  “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30).

The words “secret of the Lord” are just one word in the Hebrew and it means something given in secret.  They aren’t secrets that God gives to his saints as a special favor.  It is intimate knowledge that we have by virtue of having spent time with him.  We get to know the nature of God.  That includes knowledge of how he thinks and how he works.  I Corinthians  2:16 says that we can have the mind of Christ.  “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

To have communion with God means to spend time with him.  The more time we spend with a person the better we get to know him or her.  It is the same with God.  We spend time with God by reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible.  We need to escape from the bustle of the world around us so we can concentrate on the words of Scripture.  That means we need to have time set aside each day for doing it.  For many, the first hours of the day are best.

Time spent with God also includes prayer.  When born again Christians talk about prayer they don’t mean reading or reciting prayers learned by memory.  That is mechanical and impersonal.  For us, prayer is talking with God.  We express our thoughts; we pour out our heart to him.  We tell him how we feel.  We tell him what we need, or at least what we think we need.  Prayer should be a daily communion with God.  It’s good to talk to him in the morning and tell him what we plan to do during the day.  We can ask him to show us his will and request his help in doing it.

There is an intimacy in prayer.  Sometimes we share with God things that are too personal to even share with our closest friends and loved ones.  At times we have to confess to God that we have had unkind and immoral thoughts. Sometimes our prayer is expressed in the words of Scripture such as “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:23-24).   We would be ashamed to tell others the wicked thoughts have passed through our minds.  God gives his secrets to us and we can share our secrets with him.  That’s an intimate relationship.

Our text says that the secret of the Lord is with those that fear him.  The word “fear” in this context means a respect or reverence for God.  It is a desire to do everything in the way that will be most pleasing to him.  It doesn’t mean a fear of punishment.  If there is a fear, it is that of failing him or bringing shame and disgrace upon his name.  Proverbs 3:32 says something similar.  “For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.”  The unrighteous feel guilty, and for that reason, they have no desire to spend time with God.  Spending time with God makes us more righteous.  John 16:8 says “And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”

A close relationship with God gives us inner strength which we need in times of adversity.  II Corinthians 1:3-4 says “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;   Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”  When God gives adversity to his people, he also gives an added measure of his grace so they can bear it.  II Corinthians 9:8 promises that.  “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

In times of affliction God’s people don’t curse him.  To the contrary, they trust him.  Instead of falling into depression they claim his promises; promises like the one found in Isaiah 26:3. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Our friends sometimes fail us and may even turn against us, but God never will.  We need a close relationship with God.  Don’t neglect to spent time with him.


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A prayer For Right Thinking

Lord help me to be quick to forget the good I have done for others, but slow to forget and appreciate the good that others have done for me.

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The Poverty Of Those Who Don’t Pray

            It’s easy to understand an unbeliever who doesn’t pray.  Why should he pray if he isn’t even sure that God exists?  But, a believer who doesn’t pray is an enigma.  It’s something that’s difficult to understand or explain.

A child that never talks to his father?

A believer who acts the part of an unbeliever when it comes to prayer?

A believer who talks to his brothers in Christ but doesn’t talk to his father?

How did he become a child of God if it wasn’t through prayer?

Lucas tells us that one of Jesus disciples ask him to teach the disciples to pray.  “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).   On that occasion he taught them what is often called “The Lord’s Prayer.” “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.    Give us day by day our daily bread.    And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:2-4).  It is best to consider this a model prayer.  To repeatedly pray in these exact words is what is called vain repetition.  It is a cold formal recitation of words we have memorized.  Those who really know the Lord talk to him using their own words.

Jesus invites us to come to him.  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”(Matthew 11:28).  In Matthew 7:7-11 he uses the words “ask,” “seek,” and “call” in the form of a command. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:    For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?    Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?    If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”

If we don’t pray we are making light of Jesus invitation to come to him.  It is a lack of respect when we refuse to talk to someone.  It is also against his command to pray.  A Christian who doesn’t pray is a disobedient child of God.

In a public prayer meeting at times there may be some who don’t pray in public.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t saved or that they aren’t listening and identifying with the others who are praying.  Before the time of prayer begins they can talk normally with the other believers.  When it comes time for them to pray there is nothing but silence.  Somehow they feel self conscience about praying in public.  Brother, if this is your case, you need not fear to speak.  Just open your mouth and talk to God.  At first it may be a short prayer, but in subsequent prayer meetings you will feel more at liberty.

We need to set aside time for prayer.  We need to make it a habit to spend time alone with God every day.  It’s good to start the day by reading a portion of the Bible and then spend some time in prayer.  Husbands and wives often schedule a time when they pray together each day.  We can pray off and on throughout the day.  I Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.” That is most often interpreted to mean that we should be constantly in the attitude of prayer.  At any moment we can lift a silent prayer to God.

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July 25, 2012


For us older folks it’s staggering to think of the advancements that have been made in our ability to communicate with one another.  When I was a child we only had two means of communication.  One was by means of a letter that would most often take a week to get to its destination.  That meant that we might have to wait for two weeks to get a reply.

The other option was by telephone.  That was done by means of a wooden box mounted on the wall.  Inside the box was the apparatus that made it work plus two tall round batteries that had to be replace every two or three months.  On one side of the box there was a crank.  On the other side hung what was call the receiver.  It had a cable on it about two feet long.  We held it up to our ear to hear.  We spoke into what was called the mouth piece that extended from the center of the box.  Every neighbor had a signal.  Ours was two longs and a short.  That meant if someone wanted to call us they had to turn the crank on their phone two full revolutions with a stop between each revolution.  That was followed by giving the crank another half turn.  If we wanted to call someone who wasn’t on our line we had to call the central operator in town.  His or her signal was two revolutions of the crank without stopping.  The central operator had ear phones over her ears.  She (it was usually a woman) sat in front of a long control board.  By means of cables she could connect us with the person we wanted to talk to.

Some time between 1950 and 1960 we were able to replace the box on the wall with a little plastic box.  We could then call directly to anyone without going through the central operator.  Even that was far removed from the cellular telephones we carry with us today.

The letters we sent in the mail in my childhood are now called “snail mail.” They reach their destination much faster now, but they are still antiquated by e-mail.  We can now send letters anywhere in the world almost instantly.  Will there still be more advancements?  Twenty years ago we thought it couldn’t get any better; but it did!

All these advancements have facilitated communication between us human beings, but there hasn’t been any improvement in our communication with God.  The truth is that there is no need of improving our communication with God.  It was perfect from the beginning.  Our communication with God is by prayer.  No electronic circuits are needed.  There has been no need to update Jeremiah 33:3.  “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”  There are some unfortunate people who don’t know how to read or write.  Not everyone knows how to use a telephone.  No one, however, is so disadvantaged that he can’t communicate with God.

We can, and we should, be in communication with God.  Luke 18:1 says “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”  We should pray because of what we can receive from God.  Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  Prayer also opens the fountains of the joy of life and gives us more reason for living.  John 16:24 says “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Are you one of those who hitherto have asked nothing?  If so, you need to discover the glorious power of prayer.  There are believers whose economic situation doesn’t permit them to have a computer with access to e-mail.  Some don’t even have a land line or a cell phone.  Thanks to God, even they have access to God in prayer.  Don’t go on neglecting the power of prayer.  It can make you spiritually rich.


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  The Ingredients of  Prayer

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

Biblical prayer should include more than just petitions.  It should also include worship, praise, and thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving should always be included in our prayers.  I Thessalonians 5:17 says we should “Pray without ceasing.”  If  we are continually praying we will also be continually giving thanks to God.

The Bible is full of examples of thanksgiving and praise in prayer.  It appears as though David didn’t know how to pray without praising God.  Even when he was in a desperate situation, praise to God was included in his prayer.  In Psalms 17 and 18 we see an example of this.  In Psalm 17:9 he was pleading for God’s protection “From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.” In verses 1-3 of chapter 18 he gives praise to God.  “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.   The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.    I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”  We see the same pattern in the prayers of the Apostle Paul.   He included thanksgiving in the following examples  :  Romans 1:8-9, Colossians 1:3, II Timothy 1:3,

I Thessalonians 1:2.

There is good reason for including thankfulness in our prayer.  We should be thankful for what we have received from God.  Everything we receive from him is because of his mercy and grace.  We don’t deserve anything.  We should even be thankful for the privilege of prayer.  What a marvelous thing it is that the Omnipotent God, the Creator of the universe, invites us, his finite creatures, to come and talk to him.  He even pleads with us to come.  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

The first prayer that we can expect God to hear and answer is that of a repentant sinner asking God for forgiveness of his sins and salvation.  We will never ask of God anything greater.  When God answered that prayer he transformed us from the power of darkness to the kingdom of light. (Colossians 1:13)  He makes a new creature out of us.  (II Corinthians 5:17)  After that first prayer, anything else we ask of God will be of much less importance.

In the Lord’s prayer in Matthew chapter six we see examples of worship.  “Hallowed be thy name” (verse 9).  “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen”(verse 13).

We should even thank God for our tribulations.  I Thessalonians 5:18 says “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” We are often left in the dark as to the reason for our tribulations, but Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

If our neighbor is having some serious financial problems and we offer to pay his light bill before they shut off his electricity, he will most likely say “Ah thank you, thank you.”  But, wait; we haven’t paid the bill yet.  In the same way, we should thank God even before we receive what we have asked of him.

God doesn’t always answer our prayers.  We should even thank him for that.  One woman said, “Praise God he didn’t answer all my prayers.  If he would have, I would have married the wrong man three times.” By the mercy of God we don’t always receive what we ask of him.  Habakkuk 3:17-18 gives us the attitude we should have when God doesn’t answer our prayers.  “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:   Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”

In II Timothy 3:2 unthankfulness is included among other sins.  That’s why thankfulness should be an integral part of our prayers.  How can we expect to receive what we ask of God if we aren’t thankful for what he has done?  It is selfish on our part if we are continually asking for God’s favor without praising him for what he has done.  It is the attitude that says, “I’m going to get all I can from God without giving anything to him.”

Acts 20:35 tells us that Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Praise and worship is something we should give to God.  Psalm 50:23 says that we glorify God by offering praise to him.  Our praise need not be only for what he has done for us personally.  We should praise him for who he is and all  he has done and continues to do.

God shows favor to those who thank and praise him.  Philippians 4:6-7 says “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.    And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” How we need the peace of God!  Ephesians 3:20-21 says that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.   “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,   Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  If we praise him he may give us favors that we are not even capable of asking of him.


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