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Posts tagged ‘Abide in Christ’

Your New Year’s Invitation to Say ‘Yes’.



Cheryl Boyd

I was going through the mail that had been addressed to me, yet sent to my parents’ home. This in and of itself brings out weird feelings. The movie title Failure to Launch seems suddenly to be flashing over my head.  I know it’s an over-reaction.

My sister just celebrated her 16th wedding anniversary and an occasional letter intended for her is misdirected to my parents’ house as well. That thought is enough to shoo the ridiculous insult in my imagination away. Am I trying to rationalize dysfunction, or am I really in a healthy place in my life? Like the junk mail in my lap I sort through a few quick comparisons with others I know, careful to choose areas of personal strength rather than competing in a category where I struggle. Those thoughts quickly buoy me up, and I continue sorting my mail.

I flipped the postcard over and saw exactly what I expected to see—an adorable picture of two lovebirds. One of the turtledoves is a dead ringer for my young friend. Another “Save the Date.” If I am completely honest with myself, I have to admit that I had a warmer feeling in my gut when I read the postcard with a photo of my dentist’s two, mournful-eyed mutts reminding me to reschedule an appointment than looking over the beautifully designed correspondence informing me that my friend wants me to join her in celebrating one of the most joyous occasions of her life. No offense to my dentist! He’s great, funny, skilled … and he also happens to be my uncle, but this ironic reaction revealed to me that there is something going on in my heart. In the sorting of my mail, I realize that I just received a different kind of invitation—one to invite my Lord to sit with me as I explore this root in my heart that has a twinge of bitterness mixed with insecurity.

I can’t understand why I tend to avoid these opportunities to till the hardened soil of my sometimes-frozen heart. As always, this provided a rich time of depth and intimacy as I was reminded of the power of giving thanks for God‘s abundant kindness and provision in my life. He reminds me of my true identity as a uniquely crafted masterpiece, his child and heir. Instead of becoming my own preposterous motivational speaker, engaging in ridiculous mind games, comparing my strengths with others’ weaknesses, or conversely taking the role of bully to myself which relegates me to a pile of pathetic shame as I compare my failures and shortcomings to shining accomplishments of others.

Neither of these remedies bear fruit in my heart. One leads to false confidence and reinforces the lie that my strength lies not in my weakness, not as a steward of talents, gifts and the story that God has graciously given me, but in my hard work, personal accomplishments and in the things I have that others admire or wish they had. This is an ugly place. On the other hand, my attempts at self-management, focusing on my flaws, shaming myself into a plan set on self-redemption, self-correction and self-discipline reeks of the same self-absorption as the first and nothing good comes of it, either.

I have come to the conclusion that the popular tradition of making New Year’s resolutions is actually a prescription of my own charlatan-efforts to peddle a self-remedy. The statistics show that a successfully maintained New Year’s resolution has more in common with the stuff of fairytales than real, effective discipline and growth. Evaluation, making adjustments and coming up with a personal development plan are all healthy practices when they are undertaken with a clear understanding of who I am and where the roots of my issues really lie.

If I take a shortcut, skating over the ice encrusting my cold, broken heart, then I will never benefit from any resolution. After a while the pride and the fear of shame cease to motivate. Even if I am still going to the gym or if I decide to follow the advice of well-meaning friends and put myself “out there” more intentionally with the hope of finding a mate, after the first month when I fail to see any sign of the longed-for results, I begin to taste the bitterness of disappointment once again. My efforts to solve my problems apart from honesty, truth and vulnerability are fruitless.

So what can I do to see real, abundant fruit that I long for in my life? It starts with accepting those divine invitations to explore the roots in my heart when prickly reactions pop up in response to everyday events. I have to remember my identity and choose to walk in it—by faith, not by feeling. Any plans for changing habits, developing new skills or achieving desired outcomes have to be motivated by love for Jesus and a surrender to his perfect will for my life. Attempting to take control of circumstances which are beyond my control are a form of idolatry where I become the grotesque, impotent statue sitting on the throne of my heart’s kingdom.

Sound ridiculous? It is.

Instead of making a New Year’s resolution I want you to accept a New Year’s invitation. It is an invitation to say, “Yes!” to the Holy Spirit when your own heart reveals a bitter root. Live out the reality of Jesus’ words: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15). I hope you will say “yes.” This is what it means to abide in Christ. You won’t see the fruit you long for in your life any other way.

As for me, I have decided to respond. I am looking forward to the invitations that are coming my way. The “Save the Date” for my friend’s wedding is hanging prominently on my refrigerator. It serves as more than just a reminder for my calendar. It reminds me to check the soil of my heart for bitterness. If I can look at the lovebirds without a sense of joy and happiness for them, then there is a little more gardening that needs to be done. I am not abiding in my Vine and the fruit I expect to harvest in the days ahead won’t appear. I am reminded that gardening is a never-ending process. Any gardener will tell you that it takes patience, hard work, diligence, and then, the results are awe-inspiring and miraculous.

 My prayer is that we would not let our hearts stay hardened and that we would never forget that we are not our own gardener. There is a Gardener, there is a Vine, and we are the branches that get to see the fruit burst forth from us.

Cheryl Boyd is on staff with Cru where she currently serves in launching a new ministry among young professionals in cities across the country. For 12 years she called Russia home as she helped give national leadership to the campus ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @cheryloboyd

God Is Able to Keep You.


Many people admit that it is a sacred duty and a blessed privilege to abide in Christ but shrink back continually before the question: Is a life of unbroken fellowship with the Savior truly possible?

Eminent Christians, to whom special opportunities of cultivating this grace have been granted, may attain to it; but for the large majority of disciples, whose lives, by divine appointment, are so fully occupied with the affairs of this life, it can scarce be expected.

The more such disciples hear of this life, the deeper their sense of its glory and blessedness, and there is nothing they would not sacrifice to be made partakers of it. But they are too weak, too unfaithful—they never can attain to it.

Dear souls! If they only knew that abiding in Christ is meant for the weak and beautifully suited to their feebleness! It is not the doing of some great thing and does not demand that we first lead a very holy and devoted life.

No, it is simply weakness entrusting itself to a Mighty One to be kept—the unfaithful one casting self on One who is altogether trustworthy and true. Abiding in Him is not a work that we have to do as the condition for enjoying His salvation but a consenting to let Him do all—for us and in us and through us.

It is a work He does for us, the fruit and the power of His redeeming love. Our part is simply to yield, to trust and to wait for what He has engaged to perform.

It is this quiet expectation and confidence, resting on the word of Christ that in Him there is an abiding place prepared, which is so sadly wanting among Christians. They scarcely take the time or the trouble to realize that when He says “Abide in Me,” He offers Himself, the Keeper of Israel that slumbers not nor sleeps—with all His power and love—as the living home of the soul, where the mighty influences of His grace will be stronger to keep than all their feebleness to lead astray.

The idea they have of grace is this—that their conversion and pardon are God’s work, but that now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians and follow Jesus. There is always the thought of a work that has to be done, and even though they pray for help, still the work is theirs.

They fail continually and become hopeless; and the despondency only increases the helplessness. No, wandering one; as it was Jesus who drew you when He said, “Come,” so it is Jesus who keeps you when He says, “Abide.” The grace to come and the grace to abide are both from Him alone.

Believe the One Who Loves You

Abide in Me”: These words are no law of Moses, demanding from the sinful what they cannot perform. They are the command of love, which is ever only a promise in a different shape. Think of this until all feeling of burden and fear and despair pass away, and the first thought that comes as you hear of abiding in Jesus is one of bright and joyous hope: It is for me; I know I shall enjoy it.

You are not under the law, but under grace. Therefore, believe what Christ will do for you. And if the question is asked, “But surely there is something for us to do?” the answer is, “Our doing and working are simply the fruit of Christ’s work in us.”

It is when the soul becomes utterly passive, looking and resting on what Christ is to do, that its energies are stirred to their highest activity and that we work most effectually—because we know that He works in us. It is as we see in that word “in Me” the mighty energies of love reaching out after us to have us and hold us that all the strength of our will is roused to abide in Him.

This connection between Christ’s work and our work is beautifully expressed in the words of Paul: “I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12, KJV). It was because he knew that the mighty and the faithful One had grasped him with the glorious purpose of making him one with Himself that he did his utmost to grasp the glorious prize.

Paul’s expression and its application to the Christian life can be best understood if we think of a father helping his child to mount the side of some steep precipice. The father stands above and takes the son by the hand to help him on. He points him to the spot on which he will help him to plant his feet.

The leap would be too high and dangerous for the child alone; but the father’s hand is his trust, and he leaps to get hold of the point for which his father has taken hold of him. It is the father’s strength that secures him and lifts him up, and so urges him to use his utmost strength.

Such is the relation between Christ and you, oh weak and trembling believer! Fix first your eyes on the purpose for which He has apprehended you. It is nothing less than a life of abiding, unbroken fellowship with Himself to which He is seeking to lift you up.

All that you have already received—pardon and peace, the Spirit and His grace—are but preliminary to this. And all that you see promised to you in the future—holiness and fruitfulness and glory everlasting—are but its natural outcome.

Intimate Fellowship

Union with Himself, and so with the Father, is Christ’s highest object. Fix your eye on this, and gaze until it stands out before you clear and unmistakable: Christ’s aim is to have me abide in Him.

And then let the second thought enter your heart: For this I am apprehended of Christ. His almighty power has laid hold on me and offers now to lift me up to where He would have me.

And as you think of the spot to which He points—the blessed purpose for which He apprehended you—and keep your gaze fixed on Him, holding you and waiting to lift you up, take the upward step, and rise to enter upon this blessed life of abiding in Christ. Begin at once, and say, “Oh my Jesus, if You bid me, and if You undertake to lift and keep me there, I will venture. Trembling, but trusting, I will say: ‘Jesus, I do abide in You.’”

Go and take time alone with Jesus, and say this to Him. I dare not speak to you about abiding in Him for the mere sake of calling forth a pleasing religious sentiment. God’s truth must at once be acted on.

Yield yourself this very day to the blessed Savior in the surrender of the one thing He asks of you: Give up yourself to abide in Him. He will work it in you. You can trust Him to keep you trusting and abiding.

And if ever doubts again arise, or the bitter experience of failure tempts you to despair, just remember where Paul found His strength: “I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:12, KJV). In that assurance you have a fountain of strength.

From that you can look up to that on which He has set His heart, and set yours there, too. From that you gather confidence that the good work He has begun He will also perform. And in that confidence you will gather courage afresh, day by day, to say, “I follow on, that I may also apprehend that for which Christ Jesus apprehended me. It is because Jesus has taken hold of me, and because Jesus keeps me, that I dare to say: ‘Savior, I abide in Thee.’”

Andrew Murray (1828-1917) was raised in what was then considered one of the most remote corners of the world—Graaff-Reinet (near the Cape), South Africa. In 1860 he accepted a call to Cape Colony, where he began the writing of his many devotional
books. In his 88 years he wrote more than 240 books and tracts, including classics such as
Humility, The Secret of Intercession and Abide in Christ, which have been read by millions and continue to transform lives today.

Adapted from Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray, copyright 1997. Published by Christian Literature Crusade. Used by permission.

By Andrew  Murray.

How to Love Like Jesus.


Learn the Secret to Loving Like Jesus by Abiding in Him

To love like Jesus, we need to understand a simple truth.

 We cannot live the Christian life on our own.

Sooner or later, in the midst of our frustration, we come to the conclusion that we’re doing something wrong.

 It’s not working. Our best efforts just don’t cut it.

Discovering Why We Can’t Love Like Jesus

All of us want to love like Jesus. We want to be generous, forgiving, and compassionate enough to love people unconditionally. But no matter how hard we try, it just doesn’t work. Our humanness gets in the way.

Jesus was human too, but he was also God incarnate. He was able to see the people he created in a way that we can’t. He personified love. In fact, the Apostle John said, “God is love…” (1 John 4:16, ESV)

You and I are not love. We can love, but we can’t do it perfectly. We see others’ faults and stubbornness. When we remember the slights they have done to us, a small part of us can’t forgive. We refuse to make ourselves as vulnerable as Jesus did because we know we’ll get hurt again. We love and at the same time we hold back.

Yet Jesus tells us to love as he did: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” (John 13:34, ESV)

How do we do something we’re incapable of doing? We turn to Scripture for the answer and it’s there we learn the secret of how to love like Jesus.

Love Like Jesus Through Abiding

We don’t get very far before we learn the Christian life is impossible. Jesus gave us the key, however: “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27, ESV)

He explained this truth in depth in the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John, with his parable of the vine and branches. The New International Version uses the word “remain”, but I like the English Standard Version translation using “abide”:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:1-10, ESV)

Did you catch that in verse 5? “Apart from me you can do nothing.” We can’t love like Jesus on our own. In fact, we can’t do anything in the Christian life on our own.

The missionary James Hudson Taylor called it “the exchanged life.” We surrender our life to Jesus to the extent that when we abide in Christ, he loves others through us. We can endure rejection because Jesus is the vine that sustains us. His love heals our hurts and supplies the strength we need to keep going.

Love Like Jesus by Trusting

Surrendering and abiding are things we can do only through the power of the Holy Spirit. He dwells in baptized believers, guiding us to the right decision and giving us the grace to trust God.

When we see a selfless Christian saint who can love like Jesus, we can be sure that person is abiding in Christ and he in her. What would be too hard on our own, we can do through this act of abiding. We continue to abide by reading the Bible, praying, and attending church with other believers. In this way our trust in God is built up.

Like branches on a vine, our Christian life is a growth process.

 We mature more every day.

As we abide in Jesus, we learn to know him better and trust him more.

Cautiously, we reach out to others.

We love them.

 The greater our trust in Christ, the greater our compassion will be.

This is a lifelong challenge.

 When we are rebuffed, we have the choice to draw back or give our hurt to Christ and try again.

Abiding is what matters.

When we live that truth, we can begin to love like Jesus.

From .

Abide In Me.


Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me.John 15:4

As a truth in nature the meaning of this is very plain.

A branch torn off a vine or a tree, and lying on the ground, will not bear fruit. Indeed, it cannot even live, but soon withers.

The analogy holds in spiritual life.

It would be just as unnatural to expect the professing Christian who has given up praying and has ceased to read his Bible, and withdrawn from loving and trusting Christ, to be really a fruitful Christian.

The branch has no life but what flows into it from the vine or the tree; the Christian has no spiritual life but what comes from Christ’s life, though faith and prayer and the Holy Word.

We live as Christians only when Christ lives in us.

Said St. Paul: “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

All spiritual beauty in us must be the life of Christ reproduced in us, just as the foliage and the fruit in a tree are produced by the tree’s life flowing into the branches.

A mere Christian profession will not therefore yield the fruits of a true Christian life.

One might take a branch that had been torn off and with cords tie it on a green tree, but that would not make it a fruitful branch.

It would draw no life from the tree, and would soon be withered and utterly dead.

One may be tied to Christ by the cords of profession, but if there is no real vital attachment of the life to Christ by faith and love, Christ’s life cannot flow into it, and it is only a dead, withered branch.

We must be truly in Christ and have Christ in us, or there can be no life in us and no fruitfulness.

We must also abide in Christ, maintaining our communion and fellowship with Him year after year, or we cannot be fruit-bearing Christians.

Apply This To Your Life Today… !field_life_application_value

By Vine.


Bible In A Year: October 30th…

By Book Old Testament New Testament Proverbs & Psalms
Luke 19-21 Lamentations 3:40-5:22 Hebrews 1 Psalm 119:129-136

A Dozen Ways to Live Deeply in a Surface Society.


Editor’s Note: This article summarizes the practical applications of Timothy D. Willard & R. Jason Locy‘s recent bookVeneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society(Zondervan, 2011).

Our culture relentlessly pressures you to cover up your imperfections with the veneer of an image that shows worldly success.

But no matter how hard you may work to seem successful, you can still feel like a failure inside, because even if you do achieve what our culture views as the “perfect” lifestyle, something will still be missing.

What is that missing ingredient? The most important one of all: a close relationship with God. Without that, you’ll be broken deep within, despite the veneer on the surface of your life.

Here’s how you can go deeper than the surface lifestyle our culture promotes, so you can discover God’s perfect love and find real fulfillment:

Don’t try to live like a celebrity. Ironically, the more you shine a spotlight on yourself while you’re seeking approval from others, the less satisfied you’ll feel. In God’s eyes, you’re valuable even when you’re not visible.

Fame and fortune may bring you temporary happiness, but they can never bring you lasting joy. If you allow yourself to decrease and invite God to increase in your life, you can discover the extraordinary life God has planned for you.

Don’t search for meaning through consumption. Every purchase you choose to make naturally reflects your personality and values. But if you think that you must buy certain products or brands in order to find personal meaning (such as buying a certain shirt because it makes you feel cool rather than simply because it’s functional), you’re giving products too much power over you.

Never define yourself by your consumer choices, because that’s settling for far less than your true identity as God’s beloved child, made in His image.Only your relationship with God can really define who you are as a person.

Don’t use the virtual world of technology to escape the real worldHiding out in an online fantasy won’t bring you real satisfaction. God has wired you for real relationships, nurtured through face-to-face contact.

Even the greatest online experiences can’t match the beauty, complexity, and depth of the real-world relationships God intends for you to pursue with Him and other people.

Shift your focus from success to faithfulness. Base your decisions on how you can best be faithful to God rather than how you can be successful according to cultural values.

As long as your motivation is to express your love for God by doing your best to obey Him, you’ll be a true success no matter what results you get from your efforts – and God will give you the grace to recover from mistakes and keep moving forward toward a good future.

Shift your focus from impressing others to being honest with them. Stop trying to impress other people by projecting a certain kind of image.

Instead, ask God to help you clean the veneer off your life and honestly show the people close to you the kind of person you really are – brokenness and all – trusting that God will work powerfully in your relationships when you do so.

Encounter God in a transcendent way. Stop trying to shrink God down to a size in which you feel comfortable with Him. Instead, make peace with the fact that God is much bigger than what you can fully understand, and embrace His mystery and awesome power.

Spend time in prayer approaching God in a way that helps you discover the wonder of who He is, rather than simply accumulating knowledge about Him or approaching Him only as a religious act.

Pour out your deepest thoughts and feelings to God in prayer, and invite Him to change you as you spend time with Him. Listen carefully to what God has to say to you in prayer. Be willing to make sacrifices and take risks as God leads you.

Trust God with every part of your life, holding nothing back from Him.

Relate to your fellow Christians as brothers and sisters. Realize that fellow believers are in the same spiritual family as you, and you’ll be together for eternity. So build close relationships with others at your church and care for each other as siblings would.

Make habits of confession, repentance, and forgiveness. Regularly confess your sins to God and repent of them, ask the people you’ve hurt to forgive you, and forgive the people who have hurt you.

Incorporating these practices into your life consistently will help prevent damage to your relationships with God and others.

Serve other people to serve God. Overcome our culture’s selfish “What have you done for me lately?” attitude by serving others wholeheartedly whenever God calls you to do so.

When you do, God’s power will flow through you and He’ll use you to help make the world a better place and draw people into relationships with Him.

Remember that the things of this world are like vapor that will someday vanish. Your house, your car, your clothes, your electronics equipment, and every other material thing in this world will be gone when you die, since you can’t take them with you into the afterlife.

Then, all that will matter is what has eternal value: your relationship with God. So invest your time and energy into that, making God your top priority and loosening your hold on material things.

Abide in ChristAbiding in Christ means staying connected to Him. Every day, spend time with Him in prayer and through other spiritual disciplines (like solitude, silence, and Bible reading) to maintain a close bond with Him.

Obey His commands, even when doing so is difficult.Pursue His kingdom first, and He’ll give you everything else you need. Ask Christ to align your passions with His so you can learn to value what He values. Every day, try to fulfill more of His purposes for your life.

Help others discover Christ’s love through you. As you relate to people in your daily life, trade dissatisfaction for gratitude, getting for giving, hype for reality, transactional relationships for grace-filled ones, and what’s common for what’s extraordinary.

Then you’ll help change our veneer-covered culture by leading the people within it to seek Christ.

Adapted from Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society, copyright 2011 by Timothy Willard and R. Jason Locy. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.zondervan.com.

By Whitney Hopler.

Steps To 1oo% Answers To Our Prayers (Part 2).


Abiding in Christ is an important key to receiving answers to our prayers from Him.

God will not with hold your will from you but it might not be His perfect Will for You.

Steps To 100% Answers To Our Prayers.

1. Abide in Christ.

We must remain, continue and stay in Christ Jesus irrespective the situation or circumstances.

John chapter 15 verse 7.

2. The word of God must abide in you.

John chapter 15 verse 7.

Colossians chapter 3 verse 16.

We must grow, walk, live, abide and dwell by knowing the word of God off heart.

3. You must obey the Lord by keeping his laws and commands.

First john chapter 3 verse 22.

Obeying God is a key to answers to prayers.

Obedience is a great key that opens heaven’s room of  great supplies and provisions upon you at all times and seasons.

4. God wants us to bear fruits in all things and He equally wants our fruits to remain.

John chapter 15 verse 16.

Fruit bearing is linked to a guaranteed answers to prayers.

(Bearing fruit in love, good works, evangelism, prayers,  fellowship, praises, worship, preaching the word, winning souls, gifts and talents to the glory of God).

The fruit that you bear will determine whether you receive answers to your prayers.

“It is time for you and me to do something for God.

We need to be fruitful and flourish in every of our God given talents and gifts as we use them to His glory. Amen.

 

Love Like Jesus Through Abiding.


We don’t get very far before we learn the Christian life is impossible.

Jesus gave us the key, however: “With man it is impossible, but not with God.

For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27, ESV)

He explained this truth in depth in the 15th chapter of the Gospel of John, with his parable of the vine and branches.

The New International Version uses the word “remain”, but I like the English Standard Version translation using “abide”:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

Abide in me, and I in you.

As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

I am the vine; you are the branches.

Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:1-10, ESV)

Did you catch that in verse 5? “Apart from me you can do nothing.

” We can’t love like Jesus on our own.

In fact, we can’t do anything in the Christian life on our own.

The missionary James Hudson Taylor called it “the exchanged life.

” We surrender our life to Jesus to the extent that when we abide in Christ, he loves others through us.

We can endure rejection because Jesus is the vine that sustains us.

His love heals our hurts and supplies the strength we need to keep going.

 

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