Lighthouse

John 8:12 says that Jesus spake, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (KJV)

lighthouse

Lighthouse

 

As I read Scripture recently, it occurred to me that God’s Word was like the brilliant guiding light that emanates from a Lighthouse. In this post I am going to look at that comparison and you can comment as to whether or not you agree with me. I am going to compare the beam of God’s Word illuminating power with the beam of a lighthouse because oftentimes we feel a detachment from the Scriptures in our everyday life. We are buffeted from one difficulty to another without taking advantage of the guidance offered to all who believe by the Holy Spirit whose primary purpose is to help us stay away from the rocks and wrecks all around us–some hidden just below the (surface) water line and others clearly visual.

A lighthouse is a very tall tower with a bright light on top that is usually located at a dangerous navigational spot at the entrance to a harbor. Picture a huge traffic sign warning of impending danger.  A harbor is a place for ships to dock safely.  Although the first lighthouse in America was the Boston Light, built in 1716 at Boston Harbor. The history of lighthouses goes much further back in history to ancient Egypt, Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and the most famous lighthouse in antiquity.

I want you to image with me ancient mariners before the days of sails and steam rowing in a desperate attempt to fight the strong winds and swelling water threatening at any moment to overturn the ship and drown its occupants.  The mariners are rowing for their lives and straining every muscles as they try to keep the sea from dragging them to the bottom. They know they are getting closer to the harbor and the rocks, but they must keep the ship on course or be pulled under. Suddenly a light is seen in the distance.  As they get closer and the beam gets stronger, the crew realizes how close they were to meeting the doom of the rocks that lay at the harbor entrance, but the beam from shore is now safely guiding and illuminating their entry into the harbor.

As we visualize the lighthouse issuing its beam of light to safely guide those threaten by the sea, we need to think of God’s Word as a Light spreading farther, wider, and stronger than any man-made beam. From the time of the Fall of man to the birth of Jesus, man wandered in the stormy darkness seeking and avoiding the Laws of God when they pleased.  In times of trouble–seeking the Lord’s help–praying and following His guidance until they got what they wanted. When the trouble had passed, they went back to the worship of the idols of the surrounding nations.  Forgetting the Lord’s Laws and mercy in their time of trouble.

Jesus’ birth introduced a new Light into the world as foretold in Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” and Paul says in Ephesians 5:14, “… Christ shall give thee light.” (KJV) Can you picture Jesus walking among the people emanating a guiding beam into the darkness of their lives. Healing and teaching them to follow the Light of God’s Word. This beam keeps those who believe from being dashed on the rocks of the dangers of life.

It was the religious leaders (the learned men) who were determined to keep the populace floundering in the rough seas outside the safety of the harbor being battered by every sin and continuing to live under the weight of the Law of Moses.

The Pharisees and other religious leaders of the day thought to put out this Light beaming so brightly in the darkness of the lives of the common people. The more they tried to discredit and eliminate the beam of Light, the stronger it got.

The betrayal of Judas Iscariot, really gave hope to the religious leaders of the day.  Finally a way to quench the beam that was getting brighter with each passing day and jeopardizing everything they believed in and the power they had acquired due to their positions as purveyors of the Law of Moses.  The ultimate crucifixion of Jesus Christ (God’s Light to the World) caused great celebration among the Pharisees and other religious leaders. The beam had been extinguished never to return or at least that is what they thought.

The religious leaders were unaware that every move had been orchestrated according to God’s will.  Jesus Christ had already told His disciples of the events that would occur and that it had all been pre-ordinated before He was born. He told them that He must go. “I have told you these things while I am still with you. But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor–Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things.  And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.” (John 14:25-26 AMP)

After Jesus’ resurrection and return to the assembled disciples, He told them to stay together until the Comforter came. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:14, JKV)

The Holy Spirit’s beam of light still stands illuminating the path of truth and salvation guiding those who hear and believe through the turbulence of life.  The Word of God is just as true today and protecting those who heed the Light from wrecking themselves as they flounder seeking refuge from the rocks and wrecks that dot the harbor. The really wonderful thing is that even if you damage the bottom of your ship many times, the beam of the Holy Spirit is still there. And, if you heed it, the beam can still save you from sinking as long as you believe in the salvation available to you and have a desire in your heart you can be shown by the beam of the Holy Spirit the right path to gain the safety and security of the Word of God.

Update

It has been several months since I posted and I wanted to update “Life” with me and my family. It is astounding how long it has been. “Life” happens so fast that sometimes, it can completely get away from you.

My daughter had a beautiful little girl in March in the middle of a full blown search for a new house. The owner of the house that we had been renting from decided to sell and move to New York. It still amazes me that this was right after we gave him notice that we would be moving so that my daughter could be closer to her job. The search for a new home took much longer than we expected and was really frustrating. During this time of stress and anxiety, it occurred to me as I was discussing the difficulties we were having with my daughter that God was in charge. He would not let us select a home that was not part of His plan for the family. We just had to wait and keep looking until the correct house was available for us as prescribed by God.

While in the middle of this search, my granddaughter was born in March. A beautiful baby girl.

AminaBoo

Veronica at 2 months old

The answer to a prayer. Our plans were to be moved and settled before the baby was born, but God had other plans obviously. “Many plans are in a man’s mind, But it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand (be carried out)”. (Proverbs 19:21, AMP) Shortly after her birth my daughter was told about a house that had just become available. After a tour, we decided that the house was perfect for our needs. What is really unbelievable is that the house is very close to her job. One of the primary objectives in the decision to move.  Everything was fitting into place. We were able to move quickly without excessive cost into a really comfortable home. I was reminded that only God’s plans fit together perfectly and effortlessly and this experience is another example of His grace shown to our family. I truly thank God for his kindness by showering us with blessings some we are aware of and many others that are not known to us. The best example is the birth of my little granddaughter, Veronica.

Well now that things have settled down, at least, for a little while.  I can return my attention to Shaped by a Potter’s Hands, developing my natural skin care products and nonprofit for single mothers. The last two projects will be introduced soon.

Take Care and Bless the Lord!

Integrity

Definition:  Quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, morally upright.

The integrity and moral courage of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them. (Proverbs 11:3, AMP)

Do you try to do your very best at everything you set your hand to or do youintegrity just do enough to get by?  As a Believer you should be striving for excellence, using Jesus as a  model.  It is unlikely that any of us will totally be able to match His model, but we can keep reaching towards the goal knowing that as long as we are trying we will continue to move forward.  We live in a world where mediocrity and substandard are a norm. How do we stand out in a world that imbues average as normal?  Where it is good enough to get by is always the response when you seek better quality or performance.

I am constantly reminded by my grandson when I tell him he must excel in his education, work up to his full potential,  and get into the habit of doing more in order to prepare for the type of life he says he want that I am passing all my classes with average grades. Or if I tell him that he is not living up to his full potential,  I get a, “Everyone else is doing it”.  My response to him is that you are not like everyone else, you want to get all that has been destine for you. To get it, you must give nothing less than the best and accept nothing less than the best.  No one can or should measure him/herself by anyone else.  I remind him that excellence should not only be his goal, but it is mine also, and there are times when I fall short and must try harder. Old habits are hard to break it is better to form good habits when you are young.

How do we change this habit of mediocrity–one task at a time.  Goals must be set and habits developed by each Believer that exemplify instead of float along on a sea of mediocrity.  Our behavior and performance should reflect a belief that Jesus is watching us because he is. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth.…” (2 Chronicles 16:9, KJV) “And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.” (Hebrews 4:13, AMP)

Integrity is an individual choice of how we wish to life.  As a Believer, living a life based on integrity should be one of the characteristics that shows that although you are a part of the world you are not of the world.

Reaching Forward

Philippians 3:13, “… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” (AMP)

You cannot see what God has for your future while hanging onto your past.  God is the future. As we await the dawning of a New Year, we reach forward towards the unknown–developing goals to propel us into the future and the better life we want for ourselves and our families.  Many of these goals reflect changes we want to make in our own behavior.  As this New Year’s Eve brings us closer to the beginning of a New Year, our determination gets stronger to carry out our goals.

After the newest of the New Year wears off, many of us will settle back into the same old habits and the new goals become nothing more than a fond and frustrating memory to be filed away.  We have all done it; reached for the future and the unknown but allowed Satan to pull us back into the familiar and limited.  Doubts about the future and our past failures all bloom on the horizon reminding us of our fears and futile efforts of the past.

To get to the next thing, God has for you, you must leave the old and familiar.  A perfect example of this can be found in Abraham (Genesis 12:1-9).  He left everything he was familiar with and traveled with his family to an unknown country.  Three years ago my family and I made a move from North Carolina to Florida.  We did not know where we would be spending the night, had no job awaiting us, and only knew one person who lived in Florida.  What we did know was that it was time to leave North Carolina.  Everything went smoothly during the over 800 mile drive, my daughter driving the moving truck and I drove the car.  We found a hotel upon arrival that accepted dogs (We have two small ones.) and soon we found a house to rent, my daughter found a job and we were settled within a month of our arrival.  Sometimes, I still look back at and am amazed at how God looked out for us and put things in place for my family.  Truly,  I believe and have experienced His love.  I feel as though I have been sheltered from the storm.

Staying with a situation or a person longer than you should instead of moving toward the new thing that God has for you keeps you from the destiny that God has designated for you.  Do you feel the Holy Spirit within you gently pushing you toward the unknown and God’s future for you?  Are you reaching, but holding back?  Let Go and Let God is an expression I heard many years ago, but it still rings true.  Abraham listened to the Lord when told to leave all he knew and ventured forth with courage and did not doubt.  silhouette-936721_640Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Additional Scripture to help you move forward.

Psalms 62:8 “Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” (KJV)

Isaiah 43:18, ““Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past.  (AMP)

1 Peter, “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (AMP)

I pray that Everyone’s New Year is Happy, Prosperous, and

you attain your goals for 2017.

Passing the Baton

Comparing the Discipleship of Joshua and Timothypassing-the-baton

Moses was Joshua’s spiritual father and Paul was Timothy’s.  These great men passed on the baton to their spiritual children so that God’s mission to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land and spread the Gospel of salvation to the world would continue to be carried out.  Moses passed on the baton to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:7 just before his death and Paul mentions his impending death as he gives instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:14-16.

As I read 2 Timothy this morning , Paul was instructing, reminding, and uplifting his spiritual son so that he would have the fortitude to continue the work of the ministry.  Paul tells his disciple to persevere as he does and stand [his] ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God’s chosen] (2 Timothy 2:10). As I read this, I thought of a similar instance of a leader passing the baton to his disciple–Moses to Joshua not the same words were spoken but the same inference was made.

This was Paul’s second letter to Timothy reminding him of the work of the ministry in spreading the Gospel.  The ministry that Paul was now imprisoned for in Rome.  Paul’s letters were to help booster the spirit of his beloved pupil and to insure that the fires of enthusiasm were not quenched by hardship and struggle.

Moses’ was able to impart a spirit of wisdom to Joshua and God spoke to him after Moses’ death.  Telling him to be bold and courageous and to lead the people into the Promised Land.  Timothy received his ordinance from Paul and others.  At that time I feel he too received a boost of the spirit to strengthen him for the struggles ahead.

Both of these men followed great men of God taking the baton of leadership and moving forward in the face of opposition and struggles.  Carrying the Light of God into the darkness of unbelief.

Joshua

While Joshua was definitely mentored by Moses to become his disciple, Joshua was also a skilled general and leader.  In Hebrews Joshua means Yahweh is salvation. With the Lord’s guidance, he showed potential during the Exodus and worked behind the scenes.  He lead the successful battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17) and was one of the two original spies (Numbers 13-14) who encouraged the people of Israel to follow the Word of God and cross over the Jordan to possess the land the first time, and as such was one of the few who lived to cross over into the Promised Land after the generation had died out.  Moses  progressively groomed Joshua for leadership.

Joshua was a servant, helper, aide and stayed close to Moses from his youth.  There was an ongoing relationship between Moses and Joshua.  When God moved to change command of Israel after Moses’ death, Joshua was ready whether he realized it or not God and Moses knew.  Joshua rose to the command of God to lead His people into the Promised Land to take possession as God had decreed.

Timothy

Timothy was half Greek and Jewish.  His name means honoring God or precious of God.  His faith emerged from his grandmother Lois and was passed to her daughter Timothy’s mother, Eunice. Paul’s first missionary travels opened the mind of Timothy, his mother, and grandmother to the truth of Jesus.  He was a good example and well-thought by the Christians in the area of Asia Minor.  Timothy eventually became the first Christian Bishop of Ephesus (Ephesians).

Although many centuries, kings judges and prophets pronouncing God’s word, ruled Israel and its people, Joshua and Timothy had several things in common:

  1. They were  both proteges of great men of God. (Joshua-Moses and Timothy-Paul).  Both Moses and Paul moved and carried God’s Word into new areas one for the Israelites and the other to the Gentiles.
  2. They worked from an early age to be shaped by their prophets.
  3. They were both gifted with great ability and a willingness to follow God’s word.
  4. They both worked behind the scenes as assistants and helpers for many years to prepare for the great tasks for which they were destined.

Each of these men had a burning need to learn and follow their prophets.  They sat at their feet and learned, participated in their trials and shaped their lives after their leadership examples.

Joshua had to be prophet (God’s spokesman) and military leader just as Moses.  Timothy was student and assistant following Paul bringing God’s word to the Gentile.  Paul described in 1 Timothy 1:2 Timothy as his spiritual son.  I believe that Moses looked upon Joshua just as endearingly because he was Moses closes assistant.

Both of these men although separated by centuries played essential roles in the introduction and growth of the Word of God among the people of the world.

Is this God’s destiny for you?    Are you ready to take the baton?

Courage

lion-515028_640Courage – The quality of mind or spirit that enables one to deal with or face danger, fear, pain, etc; the confidence to act in accordance with one’s belief.

Joshua is one of my favorite prophets of the Old Testament.  He was the first prophet after Moses, the greatest of them all; hand-picked by God and a man who God talked with face-to-face.  Joshua as Moses’ second-in-command was brought up under the tutelage of Moses.  Moses was truly a tough act to follow.

After the death of Moses, Joshua had to step-up and lead the people into the Promised Land across the Jordan.  Can you imagine trying to step into the shoes of Moses.  I am sure that this heavy responsibility caused Joshua to doubt his abilities and result in some sleepless nights.  God and Moses knew of Joshua’s uncertainty that is why Moses “… laid his hands upon him [Joshua]; at an assembly of the people so the Israelites would listen to him and do as the Lord commanded.” (Deuteronomy 34:9, Amplified)   At the laying on of Moses’ hands, Joshua not only received confirmation of the handing over of  leadership to him but he also received the spirit of wisdom from Moses.  Without this confirmation the Israelites would more than likely not accepted Joshua after Moses without question for they were known for being a stiff-necked and difficult people.

Joshua was told by the Lord to  “Be strong and confident and courageous, for you will give this people as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers (ancestors) to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous … ” (Joshua 1:6-7, AMP)

I cannot count how many times I have read Joshua 1:6-9 during times of trials in my life.  Each time I read this Scripture it gave me the strength to continue.  When I was car-less and had to ride the bus and subway an hour and a-half to work each day and then return in the evening to begin my other job as a mom to my two kids, cooking dinner, helping with homework, cleaning up, etc. believe me I needed all the strength I could muster. Joshua 1:9 was just one of the scriptures that I wrote on a 3×5 card and read every day, but this one was one of my favorites. So many times as I got tired, depressed, and frustrated reading about what God said to Joshua encouraged me to keep on going and reminded me that my family depended on me to be courageous and keep going.  As I often told my kids,

Giving up is not an option!

Grow in Grace

II Peter 3:18, “…but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (AMP)

Grace defined is the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

As we pray for God’s saving Grace in times of trouble, He may give us Grace to be delivered out of the trouble or He may give us Grace to go through.  Only God can make the choice.

A loving parent may tell his or her teenager not to hang around a certain group or individual because they are always in trouble at school.  The parent is sure that no good can come out of associating with this person or group.  The teenager ignores the parent (because parents never know what they are talking about) and continues the association.  The association leads to a problem with the police.  Not necessarily because the teenager committed a crime, but because they were on the scene.  The parent may immediately come in response to “The Call” or wait until the next day.  The parent is not being mean or uncaring.  It is just as difficult for them to wait at home as it is for the teenager.  But spending the time in a holding cell will allow the kid to remember the parent’s warning and regret their decision to ignore it.

God is a loving parent to all His children.  He wants only the best for us.  If he decides to remove us from the trouble, He will.  If He decided to strengthen you to go through it, He will.  His knowledge of the future and the benefit derived from the lesson learned is for our good.  My personal experience has been that some lessons are learned and retained when you have to go through until the end.  The good news is that He never leaves you, has strengthened you to overcome, and that although we do not believe so at the time, we take a step towards greater maturity.

Regardless, if God removes you from the trial which seems to be constantly on the arisen or strengthens you to go through it, His love and grace are surrounding you and are your protective armor.

Isaiah 41:10 says, Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Save

Let Go

I surrender every area of my life to you Jesus. Show me how to “Let Go”. I am controlling and need to “Let Go” and let you rule my life.  I am not good at it.  Yes, I have long since acknowledged Jesus as my Savior, but letting the Spirit take over my life is a constant struggle.   let go

Several weeks ago while sitting at church listening to a sermon regarding Joshua’s sending spies into Jericho and their encounter with Rahab.  I let my mind wonder and began envisioning that I was floating on water being carried along on the surface.  What is interesting is that floating is as close to swimming as I was able to come during my swimming lessons several years ago.  My arms and legs are truly uncoordinated,but I did learn to release control of my body to the point that I could float quite comfortably.  I felt I was floating along being carried to only God knows where on what seems to have been a river. There  was such a feeling of peace that came over me as I listened to Rahab’s story.  

I did not understand what was happening or why I felt the floating sensation during a sermon at the time, but today it became apparent to me.  For one of the few times in my life I had actually unconsciously surrendered myself completely to Jesus and “Let Him Take the Wheel.” The sensation lasted just a few moments, but it was totally refreshing to my spirit.

Today I realized how impossible it is to be a controller when I am totally incapable of controlling my own life and was never equipped to.  How many times have I heard and read this, but today it became apparent to me.  Creating the habit of following the Spirit is not easy, but necessary I will be working on it.

As I start each day, I thank the Father for allowing me to see it, acknowledging His love for me, asking Him to bless my family, and asking the Holy Spirit to take the wheel and direct me through the day.  As I continue my activities, I am focusing on “Letting Go” and floating in the rest of God.

In case you thought surrendering to the Lord and letting the Holy Spirit guide you meant that you become inactive and passive, it does not.  Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”  What I am surrendering is the anxious worry and struggling.

I am not there yet, but continuing to work toward it.

 

Life Trials Make Diamonds

What has diamonds to do with Romans 5:3-4?

And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance;  and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation] (Romans 5:3-4, AMP)

A diamond, the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth, formed under high pressure and temperature over billions of years.  It is one of the most precious of all the gemstones.  During the development of the diamond, it is changed slowly from one substance to another.  The results are a brilliant, hard multi-faceted stone that is treasured throughout the world.

The Life’s Grinding Stone

The trials and tribulations that we go through as part of living  can either turn you into a person of integrity and a warrior for God or, if you let troubles weaken you, you will break under the pressure and never emerge as the precious stone that God has purposed you to be.   As I look back on my life and the difficulties that I have encountered, I truly thank God for preserving me and continuing to work with me during my trials.  He gave me the strength to go through and not buckle.  The trials have smooth many of the rough edges and strengthen me.  When I face problems I remember the Holy Spirit has moved me through other problems.  Although I pray for a miraculous deliverance from the trouble, sometimes you just need to go through it so the lesson can be taught and another chunk of worthless material can be removed.  The trouble usually comes because I did not do what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do or I stubbornly followed my own path instead of asking for guidance and awaiting His response.  I have also been known to place my trust in a person instead of trusting God.  I have learned about what a mistake misplaced trust is the hard way.

Personally, I still struggle with praying for deliverance when trouble comes, but I at least now know that God will work in his own time and according to His own plan.  So my prayers include a request for deliverance, but also if it is not according to His will that He will strengthen and guide me through it.  grinding stone

Just as gemstones are smoothed to make them more brilliant, we are smoothed on the grinding stone of life, smoothed so that the rough edges are worn away and the true warrior for God shines through.

Have you felt the smoothing process as the Holy Spirit guides you through life’s trials?

Can you hid from God?

The answer is “No”.

Job 34:21 “For God’s eyes are on the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.” (AMP)

Have you ever felt as though someone was watching you.  You looked around and see no one particularly paying you any attention.  So you turn around again and continue your activity.  But the feeling continues and although you look around again, you do not discover the watcher.  I have had that feeling, it can really make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  The feeling usually comes when I am doing something that is not right or I am engaged in an active that my conscience is telling me to back away from.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of conscience is — “An inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” Because I am a firm believer that what the dictionary defines as conscience is really the Holy Spirit and not just a part of the human psyche,  I have learned to pay heed to the small, quiet voice that has become louder and clearer over time.  Not that I always follow it’s lead because I can be very stubborn at times, but I am more aware of it, and respond to it more often.  One reason for this change in my behavior is that when I do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s prompts, I always regret it sooner or later.

We think that God does not see or is not concerned with the little indiscretions as well as large ones.  As I stop and think about some of the events of my life that I have hidden deep down, away from my current thoughts, and would rather no one found out about, I ask God for forgiveness in the name of Jesus because I know now that I can do nothing that is not seen.  In my younger years, I did not have an understanding of the of the Holy Spirit.  Not that I am an expert now, but I know a prompting when I get it.

Where can I go to hide from the eyes , “… of the Lord which roam throughout the earth.” (Zechariah 4:10, AMP)  Where can I flee?  Psalm 139:7 says, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?

We cannot hide the bad habits, bitterness, hatred, jealousy, lack of integrity from God and the Holy Spirit reminds us that nothing goes unseen.

I used all the above Scripture to reinforce my belief that God sees everything I do big and small.  There is no hiding, just as he can rescue or give us the ability to make it through  any trouble, he sees what we are doing.

All changes take time and effort on our part fortunately the Lord is patient. I am nowhere near where I should be, but I am closer than I have been.  It is my prayer that all Believers are working their way toward a better understanding and relationship with their heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

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