Saturday, January 30, 2016

#StormGertrude and Safety

The current trend of naming storms really amuses me. So far this winter we’ve been hit by Storms Abigail, Barney, Desmond, Eva and Frank. Now Gertrude is here. Storm Desmond landed in the UK in early December and will likely go down as one of the most devastating storms to ever hit the North West, with its effects still being felt long after the winds had subsided. Now it is the turn of Storm Gertrude, bringing - at the time of writing - at least one red weather warning and leaving thousands without power across Scotland and Ireland.

In 2015 the Met Office and its Irish counterpart Met Eireann launched a project to name severe winter storms, much in the same way that hurricanes are named. The official statement said “Working together it is hoped that naming winter storms will help raise public awareness of severe weather and ensure greater public safety”. Storms are never good news! They devastate and damage: you never expect to come out the other side of a storm in better condition than you entered it. 

The bible uses the imagery of a storm to explain various ideas. In Job 21:17,18 the picture of a storm is used to explain how severely God views wickedness and evil. It says ‘God distributes sorrows in his anger. They (the wicked) are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carries away’. Wickedness in the bible covers a spectrum of behaviour all of which actively disagrees with what God, in his Word, says is right.

Most of us face storms in life from time to time. These are hard and tough experiences. God, is keenly interested and indeed involved in the storms we face even if we are not aware of his presence. Once when Jesus’ disciples faced a weather storm they discovered Jesus sleeping in the boat - he was not frightened as he faced the trauma’s of life! They shouted at Jesus  - do you not care that we perish? Little did they realise he how deeply he was interested! That day he rose from sleep and did what the impossible - he calmed the storm. Jesus still does that in individual lives today. That is if we ask!

As I close let me point you to two beautiful passages of scripture. In Isaiah 25:4 God states, among other things, that he is ‘a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat’. Again in the same book, Isaiah 32:2 we are told ‘a man shall be a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest’.The truth is that ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ and on this basis he is the one who can protect us in the storms of this life and from the storm of God’s judgement in the next life. 

The question is will we take advantage of his protection?

For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk

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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Tragedy of Human Existence!



The Bible states that 'it is appointed unto men once to die'. This most obvious of facts is among the most distressing things that we human beings face. I have a friend who committed suicide just before Christmas a number of years ago - why I can guess but I do not really know. One day one of my friends in Liverpool found that her partner's nephew has been found dead in his flat. Death comes to us all but why?

The Bible tells us why. It is because of sin. 







The Bible states that we die because we were born into a fallen race. The first man, Adam, brought 'sin into the world and death by sin'. 

We also are all in the habit of sinning and the Bible states 'sin, when it is finished bringeth forth death'. We all sin (fail, hurt, lie, disobey etc etc) and therefore the moral and physical result is death.

But Jesus said 'I am come that they might have life'. 

But we all still die - why? That is true physically but when a person comes to Jesus (in faith, by praying) and asks him for forgiveness they receive eternal life. The Bible says 'He that hath the Son hath life'. God promises in his word (The Bible) that 'he that cometh to me I will no wise cast out'. The Lord Jesus said 'come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest'.

This is actually only possible because 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'. The Bible puts it like this 'The Father (God) sent the Son (Jesus) to be the Saviour of the world'.

Amazing as it is God has intervened to solve the human tragedy of death but his only course of action legally was for someone else to die in my place. The only person who qualified was Jesus. His death was voluntary because death had no claim on him (He could not sin and therefore death had no claim on him). The Lord Jesus willingly died to save me from eternal death in hell and the lake of fire.

What about you will trust the one who can deliver you from the 'fear of death'?


For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Does anyone care?



There are a lot of people about who are very private and keep themselves to themselves. They would not trouble anyone with their problems and would not presume that anyone else is interested. Well I have news for anyone who is reading this who thinks like that. I know someone who is interested in you; his name is the Lord Jesus. He is recorded as saying in the Gospel of John - 'I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly'. The Bible also states that God 'is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance'.

The Bible is packed full of statements expressing God's love for the individual - For God so loved the world, Come unto me all who are weary.... The genuine nature of God's love is that it is backed with action. The breath you breath, the sun that shines, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are all proof of that.

The ultimate proof is that the Lord Jesus is interested in our lives as individuals. If you doubt that then read one of the four Gospels in the New Testament part of the Bible. The record says about Jesus that 'he went about doing good'. He spend his energy for three years bringing the blessing and forgiveness of God to the people he met. He healed them both physically and spiritually. By doing this he was proving that the God who can heal the body can save the soul. And by the way all of the works, blessings and miracles of Jesus were to individuals. He is interested in you!

You can come to him, quietly, where you are, by praying to him. We have all sinned against God and need his forgiveness. When we agree with God that we have disobeyed his commandments and ask for his forgiveness then He will save us.

Why and how you may ask? He can save us from his future punishment in Hell because his Son, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. The Bible says 'Christ died for the ungodly'. He died for you and I and can forgive us because he took the punishment for sin.

When you believe you will receive salvation - why not believe today? It works - he saved me and has been with me for nearly fifty years now.



For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#HolocaustMemorialDay



Holocaust Memorial Day

As we soberly reflect on the sufferings of the Jewish people let me draw your attention to the words of Jesus Christ, the most famous Jew who ever lived. I know some will disagree with the statement and point to Abraham, Moses or some famous Jew of modern times but please bear with me for a moment or two!

In this passage of scripture today (see below) the Lord Jesus is answering and replying to his disciples. They were passing what we now call Temple Mount and were awe struck by the majesty and splendour of the architecture and the quality of stone masonry.

Jesus moves their thinking from the wonder of the present to consider the future. Initially he is saying the temple will not last, it is doomed for a day of destruction. Sadly it was to be destroyed in AD70 when Titus ransacked and destroyed the temple leaving very little standing.

Peter, James, John and Andrew are inquisitive and keen to know more. As they sit on the temple side of the mount of Olives, no doubting continuing to gaze at the Temple structure, they ask Jesus - when will it happen and will there be any warning signs that it is about to happen? A good question! Before I summarise Jesus' answer it would be worth reading the reply recorded in verses 5 - 37! I've added it at the end of this blog for your convenience.

If you have just read these verses you will hopefully notice that the Lord Jesus bridges the times in which he lived with end times. He starts with the temple as it was in his day but infers that the biggest issue they need to think about will not be the destruction of the temple in AD70 but the desolation and defiling of a future temple (v14). 

This is a big topic and we would need to refer to many passages in the Bible to get a real grasp of it. However Jesus points us to one passage indicating that Daniel the prophet also spoke about the same event (see Daniel 9). When you read Daniel and other relevant scriptures, 2 Thess 2, Matt 24, Luke 21, you could only come to one conclusion: A new Temple will be built in Jerusalem before Jesus comes again (v36) and the long stopped practice of animal sacrifice will be reintroduced. Then a non-Jewish world leader will rise on the world stage (Rev 13). He will stop the animal sacrifices and break a seven year deal that he has negotiated with Israel. At this stage he will place some form of image of himself (2 Thess 2, Rev 13) in the 'holiest of all', the most holy place of Jewish worship, and sacrilegiously defile their temple once again. This has already happened once in their history in the period following Alexander the Great but this future event will usher in another period of 'holocaust' treatment of God's chosen people! 

There are many predictions made in Mark 13. As with all bible prophecy they usually have two points of fulfilment (see one example above). The predictions about wars, earthquakes, famines and troubled times have happened to some extent but will also reoccur as we approach end times. The predictions about persecution and the spread of the gospel equally have an application to the start of Christianity, as was very relevant to the disciples, and will see fulfilment as Jewish evangelists (see Revelation 7, Matthew 24. 14) preach about the coming Messiah and His coming kingdom after the church has been raptured to heaven. The heart of man never changes. What drives man to hate has always been the the same. Whether in the holocaust of WW2 or the current day! The hatred of the world for the Jews has always been the same. The origin of the hated comes from another source, the arch enemy of God, the Devil.

God chose the nation of Israel to be the means by which he will bless the world and despite the horrific treatment of this nation by most civilisations God will see to it that this comes true in His own time. The future return of Jesus to rescue the nation of Israel from future anti-semitism is assured in the bible, Zechariah 14, Matthew 24. 29,30, Luke 21. 25-28. He will also come to judge the nations of the world in respect of their treatment of Israel at that stage, Matthew 25. This is a separate issue from the day when God will judge all of mankind, Revelation 20. 11-15.

Today, God is blessing people in the world today through a Jew - his name is Jesus. He is the Son of God and the scripture states 'when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a women, made under the law,' Gal. 4. 4. Jesus was born when the time was exactly right, he was born in a human family by the miracle of the virgin conception, a Jewish family to be precise. All this being the fulfilment of the ancient predictions of scripture.

As we reflect today on National Holocaust Day and mourn the wicked treatment of a race do not suppose for a moment that it couldn't happen again. Indeed it will happen again! Your choice should be to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Psalm 122. 6, and to trust their greatest Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Saviour, Acts 16.31. 

For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk

Mark 13King James Version (KJV)

13 And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!
And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?
And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.
10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations.
11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.
13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:
16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.
17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.
20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
24 But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
26 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
34 For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk

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#LFC Anthem - You'll Never Walk Alone



Ask the average Liverpool fan what the club’s most famous song is and I have no doubt the answer would be 'You'll never walk alone'. Many supporters find that singing the song creates a feeling of passion in their heart and memories of many great games.

Songs are very emotive and help us store memories. Try stopping someone in the street and ask what song from church they remember. It could be ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ or ‘the old rugged cross’. Lots of people will say Psalm 23. That’s because it’s one song that is repeatedly sung at weddings and funerals. It could be the best known hymn in the United Kingdom, but you are probably thinking ‘I’ve never heard of it’. That’s a shame as it has very inspiring words. Actually the sentiment of 'You'll never walk alone' is not so different.


Verse four of the Psalm says 'though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me'. It reminds me that we all face the 'valley of the shadow of death' one day. Our path through life is tough at times and it is certain that we all face death at the end of life. The reason we all die is explained in the Bible by the statement 'the wages of sin is death'.


The Bible makes it clear that physical death is the means of moving from this life to the next. At the end of the psalm the writer states 'I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever'. The writer is sure that there is life after death. Other writers in the Bible make it clear that God has revealed that there are two places of destiny. One called Heaven and the other called Hell. You may wonder why the writer of Psalm 23 is so sure that he will be in heaven. I think the answer lies in the fact that he can say 'the Lord is my shepherd'.

The Bible records that the Lord Jesus Christ 'came into the world to save sinners'. He said one day 'I am the good shepherd the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep'. The Bible describes human beings as wandering sheep when it states that 'all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way'. But it also explains that 'the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all’. This means that Jesus took the punishment for our guilt so that we can be forgiven. He rose from the dead on the third day and returned to heaven forty days later; where he is now.


Sadly there are times in life when we do walk alone. But it doesn’t need to be like that. You could know the God of peace in your life today. It is an amazing thing to know God personally and to have His peace in your heart and soul.

How is it possible? There are two parts to this – ‘Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ’. A change of attitude is required. The way you think about yourself and God will change when you realize that he is right and we are wrong. When you get to that point you will be ready to trust Jesus Christ as the only one who can forgive sins and eternally bless you.

For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Have you ever done enough to qualify for heaven?


Mark 12. 28-44
28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?
36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
40 Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
The main lesson
Basically you never will be able to do enough to qualify for heaven. Here are some reasons:
1. Religion does not make the grade. 
2. Good living doesn't improve your prospects. 
3. Doing your best isn't good enough. 
This isn't because God is difficult and awkward like an old teacher, boss or parent. There are some people who you will never please no matter how hard you try but God's not like that!
The truth of the matter is that we as flawed humans we are not capable of living like God or in a way that pleases Him. He is perfect and has no capacity to sin: we are sinful and struggle to live life well. 
So what!
Do we have a problem without a solution!
No quite. That's why the Father (God) sent the Son (Jesus) to be the Saviour of the world. 
God is holy but not hateful. 
He cannot live with us as sinners but he has provided forgiveness and salvation through the death of his Son. 
All that is required is the following:
1. Our confession and admission that God is correct. The purpose of this confession is to be bring us to the reality of our true condition before God. 
2. Our repentance towards God. This is a change of mind where we see God for who he is and ourselves for who we are. It is more than regret. It is the correct reaction of turning and placing God in control, dethroning ourselves and confessing Jesus Christ as Lord. 
3. Resting on Jesus Christ for salvation.  This is called faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ. It comes as a result of admitting our failure to change or save ourselves and our recognition and reliance on Jesus Christ to save us.  
A simple bible statement to summarise all of these stages would be 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,' Acts 16:31. 
To get to this stage we must understand that Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead three days later. 
May God bless you though His word and His Son. 
Stephen 
For more information and further explanations of the message of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit www.seekthetruth.org.uk

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Monday, January 25, 2016

New York Times Opinionator column



The New York Times Opinionator column for a period carried a five-part essay by Errol Morris entitled ‘The Anosognosic’s Dilemma: Something’s Wrong but You’ll Never Know What It Is’. He leads with a story of a bank robber named McArthur Wheeler in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he was told that if he rubbed lemon juice on his face, he need not use a mask to avoid detection, because his face would be invisible to the cameras. He bought a Polaroid camera and a couple of lemons, squeezed them and applied the juice to his face. Pointed the camera at his face and clicked, rotated the camera and clicked. What he finished up with was a photo of the ceiling but no image of his face and fully believed that the lemon juice did the trick.

A detective that viewed the security tapes of the Banks he robbed said that Wheeler walked into the Bank and searched for the cameras and deliberately looked at them and smiled, completely deceived into thinking that the ploy worked. The Police put out an identity picture and soon had a name for the culprit and arrested him. Wheeler admitted the ruse and was summarily dealt with. This story prompted Errol Morris to ask the question, ‘Was Wheeler too stupid to realise that he was stupid?’

He also referred to David Dunning Professor of Psychology at Cornell University about knowing what you don’t know, Morris said, Knowing what you don’t know? Is this supposedly the hallmark of an intelligent person? Dunning replied, That’s absolutely right. It’s knowing that there are things you don’t know that you don’t know. Donald Rumsfeld gave this speech about “unknown unknowns.” It goes something like this: “There are things we know we know about terrorism. There are things we know we don’t know. And there are things that are unknown unknowns. We don’t know that we don’t know.” He got a lot of grief for that. And I thought, “That’s the smartest and most modest thing I’ve heard in a year.” 9/11 epitomises Rumsfeld’s comment about the non-existence of absolute intelligence in relation to terrorism.

In Morris’s fifth article he deals with the subject of self-deception, that is a denial of truth that has been revealed, including wilful ignorance, not wanting to know what is knowable. This involves the will of the individual who chooses not to know. In spiritual terms that is the position of the atheist, he does not want to know about God, whereas the agnostic person does not know God because he has not believed as yet, truth from the Bible presented to him/her.

Last night I was talking to an older man who in recent weeks had been saved. He had just listened to a man teaching the scriptures from Romans ch.11. He said, “I will never know the Bible as he knows it!” I told him the position where he now is, by telling him about the blind man in John.ch.9. Jesus sent the blind man to the Pool of Siloam and to wash his eyes. He obeyed and came back seeing. “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.” The man replied, “Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” At that point he did not know of the impeccability of Christ, that it was impossible for the Lord to sin, but he would learn that later. What he did know is that he could now see, he was changed and could see things that he had never seen before. I explained to my friend that he has started on the road of knowing the unknowable, he is at the “one thing I know” stage but that will soon increase.

In contrast to the new converts position, the Apostle John wrote his gospel in uncomplicated language, using words that a child can understand and believe, but those words carry truth that very intelligent people do not understand or refuse to believe. For example, the first three verses read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The majority of those words are single syllable, easy to understand, the truth that they convey is that Jesus is God the Son and that creation was made by Him. Richard Dawkins, the man allegedly rated the third highest intelligence in the UK, refuses to accept John’s words as truth, this is willful ignorance. This ignorance and arrogance reminds me of Pharaoh’s words to Moses in Exodus 5:2, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? (arrogance) I know not the LORD (ignorance), neither will I let Israel go (disobedience).

John concludes his gospel with “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” Of course, how can finite man exhaust words to set forth the Infinite God?

People who have faith in God can say with Job, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” Paul said, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” He also recognized that in this life his knowledge of God is incomplete, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Christ said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and
Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

This is eternal life and knowing the unknowable! Have you got it? 

For more information and further explanations of the message
of the bible via videos, blogs and podcasts please visit
www.seekthetruth.org.uk


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