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Posts Tagged ‘Trust’

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,

“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?

Abraham answered,

God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And the two of them went on together.”

Genesis 22:7-8

abraham_isaac_11I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Maybe it is the pictures, the artwork that has been created, but I envision Isaac to be thirteen (like my own son), and Abraham to be in his mid-seventies (like my father-in-law).

Together they had taken a three day trip that was announced by Abraham’s heavenly, and Isaac’s Earthly fathers.

Once the servants were left behind, it was just Abraham and Isaac … father and son … beginnings of a nation that could end on top of the very mountain they were climbing.

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

The sacrifice of a pure and spotless … perfect … lamb was not something that the people of the time (or any time) relished. The spilling of the blood of one of God’s creatures was not something that the people took joy in doing. The did it because they knew that they were sinful, they knew that they needed forgiveness, they knew that their every opportunity for survival was in the hands of their Creator.

When Abraham responded to Isaac, with assurance and confidence, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” I think he was revealing something important about two relationships …

He had faith in God, that He would provide the lamb, just as He had provided all that was in Abraham’s life. His continued steps forward tells us that if the lamb that God provided was the son at his side, he was still willing to move toward that alter.

His response to Isaac did not result in Isaac asking the question “how would God provide?” To me, this tells us that the father and son relationship between these two was deeper than just a blood relationship, but that Isaac trusted his earthly father …

much like Abraham trusted his heavenly Father.

They reached the place that God had told Abraham about, and he built an alter.

Then they lay the wood for burning on top of it.

Everything was ready for the sacrifice …

Except

the lamb.

I can imagine Abraham looking around, eyes searching for something, anything else to sacrifice, except for his son.

I can imagine Isaac also searching …

and maybe wondering …

At some point the truth would have been revealed … how I wish that the Bible tells us of that conversation.

I do know, from what I have read, that up until little more than a hundred years ago, or so, people did not expect long lives, filled with ease and comfort. Life was hard, it was common for death to come early, and in tragic ways … and that was just life.

Isaac was thirteen’ish

Abraham was seventy-five’ish

Although the Bible does say that he laid Isaac on the alter, I do not think that he, in his older age, could have done so if Isaac was squirming and fighting, and moving around. My son of similar age to Isaac, certainly could put up a good physical fight against his grandfather, of similar age to Abraham!

Isaac had to have submitted to his father’s authority, and

allowed his father to tie him up

to lay him on the alter

I can only imagine the look in their tear-filled, fear-filled eyes.

I can only imagine their hearts,

beating in unison

praying in unison

for another pure, spotless lamb to be provided

I can only imagine the trust that this young man has in his father to lay there

I can only imagine the trust that this old man has in his Father-God to take hold of the knife

“But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,

“Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.

“Do not do anything to him.

Now I know that you fear God,

because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Genesis 22:11-12

And there, caught up in a thicket, was a ram.

He provided the lamb …

Freeing the responsibility of Abraham, of us, to provide it.

And He still provides the lamb,

blood spilled out on a cross

A God who knows that it is only by the spilling of the blood of the pure, and spotless … perfect that our sins could be erased.

And there was only one lamb who was

pure enough

spotless enough

perfect enough

His Son.

God’s Test-Isaac Part 1

Read Full Post »

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,

“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?

Abraham answered,

God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And the two of them went on together.”

Genesis 22:7-8

abraham_isaac_11I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Maybe it is the pictures, the artwork that has been created, but I envision Isaac to be thirteen (like my own son), and Abraham to be in his mid-seventies (like my father-in-law).

Together they had taken a three day trip that was announced by Abraham’s heavenly, and Isaac’s Earthly fathers.

Once the servants were left behind, it was just Abraham and Isaac … father and son … beginnings of a nation that could end on top of the very mountain they were climbing.

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

The sacrifice of a pure and spotless … perfect … lamb was not something that the people of the time (or any time) relished. The spilling of the blood of one of God’s creatures was not something that the people took joy in doing. The did it because they knew that they were sinful, they knew that they needed forgiveness, they knew that their every opportunity for survival was in the hands of their Creator.

When Abraham responded to Isaac, with assurance and confidence, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” I think he was revealing something important about two relationships …

He had faith in God, that He would provide the lamb, just as He had provided all that was in Abraham’s life. His continued steps forward tells us that if the lamb that God provided was the son at his side, he was still willing to move toward that alter.

His response to Isaac did not result in Isaac asking the question “how would God provide?” To me, this tells us that the father and son relationship between these two was deeper than just a blood relationship, but that Isaac trusted his earthly father …

much like Abraham trusted his heavenly Father.

They reached the place that God had told Abraham about, and he built an alter.

Then they lay the wood for burning on top of it.

Everything was ready for the sacrifice …

Except

the lamb.

I can imagine Abraham looking around, eyes searching for something, anything else to sacrifice, except for his son.

I can imagine Isaac also searching …

and maybe wondering …

At some point the truth would have been revealed … how I wish that the Bible tells us of that conversation.

I do know, from what I have read, that up until little more than a hundred years ago, or so, people did not expect long lives, filled with ease and comfort. Life was hard, it was common for death to come early, and in tragic ways … and that was just life.

Isaac was thirteen’ish

Abraham was seventy-five’ish

Although the Bible does say that he laid Isaac on the alter, I do not think that he, in his older age, could have done so if Isaac was squirming and fighting, and moving around. My son of similar age to Isaac, certainly could put up a good physical fight against his grandfather, of similar age to Abraham!

Isaac had to have submitted to his father’s authority, and

allowed his father to tie him up

to lay him on the alter

I can only imagine the look in their tear-filled, fear-filled eyes.

I can only imagine their hearts,

beating in unison

praying in unison

for another pure, spotless lamb to be provided

I can only imagine the trust that this young man has in his father to lay there

I can only imagine the trust that this old man has in his Father-God to take hold of the knife

“But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,

“Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.

“Do not do anything to him.

Now I know that you fear God,

because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Genesis 22:11-12

And there, caught up in a thicket, was a ram.

He provided the lamb …

Freeing the responsibility of Abraham, of us, to provide it.

And He still provides the lamb,

blood spilled out on a cross

A God who knows that it is only by the spilling of the blood of the pure, and spotless … perfect that our sins could be erased.

And there was only one lamb who was

pure enough

spotless enough

perfect enough

His Son.

God’s Test-Isaac Part 1

Read Full Post »

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”

“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.

“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,

“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?

Abraham answered,

God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

And the two of them went on together.”

Genesis 22:7-8

abraham_isaac_11I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Maybe it is the pictures, the artwork that has been created, but I envision Isaac to be thirteen (like my own son), and Abraham to be in his mid-seventies (like my father-in-law).

Together they had taken a three day trip that was announced by Abraham’s heavenly, and Isaac’s Earthly fathers.

Once the servants were left behind, it was just Abraham and Isaac … father and son … beginnings of a nation that could end on top of the very mountain they were climbing.

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

The sacrifice of a pure and spotless … perfect … lamb was not something that the people of the time (or any time) relished. The spilling of the blood of one of God’s creatures was not something that the people took joy in doing. The did it because they knew that they were sinful, they knew that they needed forgiveness, they knew that their every opportunity for survival was in the hands of their Creator.

When Abraham responded to Isaac, with assurance and confidence, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” I think he was revealing something important about two relationships …

He had faith in God, that He would provide the lamb, just as He had provided all that was in Abraham’s life. His continued steps forward tells us that if the lamb that God provided was the son at his side, he was still willing to move toward that alter.

His response to Isaac did not result in Isaac asking the question “how would God provide?” To me, this tells us that the father and son relationship between these two was deeper than just a blood relationship, but that Isaac trusted his earthly father …

much like Abraham trusted his heavenly Father.

They reached the place that God had told Abraham about, and he built an alter.

Then they lay the wood for burning on top of it.

Everything was ready for the sacrifice …

Except

the lamb.

I can imagine Abraham looking around, eyes searching for something, anything else to sacrifice, except for his son.

I can imagine Isaac also searching …

and maybe wondering …

At some point the truth would have been revealed … how I wish that the Bible tells us of that conversation.

I do know, from what I have read, that up until little more than a hundred years ago, or so, people did not expect long lives, filled with ease and comfort. Life was hard, it was common for death to come early, and in tragic ways … and that was just life.

Isaac was thirteen’ish

Abraham was seventy-five’ish

Although the Bible does say that he laid Isaac on the alter, I do not think that he, in his older age, could have done so if Isaac was squirming and fighting, and moving around. My son of similar age to Isaac, certainly could put up a good physical fight against his grandfather, of similar age to Abraham!

Isaac had to have submitted to his father’s authority, and

allowed his father to tie him up

to lay him on the alter

I can only imagine the look in their tear-filled, fear-filled eyes.

I can only imagine their hearts,

beating in unison

praying in unison

for another pure, spotless lamb to be provided

I can only imagine the trust that this young man has in his father to lay there

I can only imagine the trust that this old man has in his Father-God to take hold of the knife

“But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,

“Abraham! Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.

“Do not do anything to him.

Now I know that you fear God,

because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Genesis 22:11-12

And there, caught up in a thicket, was a ram.

He provided the lamb …

Freeing the responsibility of Abraham, of us, to provide it.

And He still provides the lamb,

blood spilled out on a cross

A God who knows that it is only by the spilling of the blood of the pure, and spotless … perfect that our sins could be erased.

And there was only one lamb who was

pure enough

spotless enough

perfect enough

His Son.

God’s Test-Isaac Part 1

Read Full Post »

“Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said,
“but where is the lamb or the burnt offering?
Abraham answered,
God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”
And the two of them went on together.”
Genesis 22:7-8

abraham_isaac_11I was reminded of the story of Abraham the other evening, as I was catching the first part of the Bible mini series (a five-part mini series, shown on Sunday evenings on the History Channel … but I watched it on YouTube).

Maybe it is the pictures, the artwork that has been created, but I envision Isaac to be thirteen (like my own son), and Abraham to be in his mid-seventies (like my father-in-law).

Together they had taken a three day trip that was announced by Abraham’s heavenly, and Isaac’s Earthly fathers.

Once the servants were left behind, it was just Abraham and Isaac … father and son … beginnings of a nation that could end on top of the very mountain they were climbing.

Isaac knew that blood, innocent blood, must be spilled and poured out, for their offering to be worthy of the One who would forgive them. This was the only way that their sin-filled lives could be made clean.

The sacrifice of a pure and spotless … perfect … lamb was not something that the people of the time (or any time) relished. The spilling of the blood of one of God’s creatures was not something that the people took joy in doing. The did it because they knew that they were sinful, they knew that they needed forgiveness, they knew that their every opportunity for survival was in the hands of their Creator.

When Abraham responded to Isaac, with assurance and confidence, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” I think he was revealing something important about two relationships …

He had faith in God, that He would provide the lamb, just as He had provided all that was in Abraham’s life. His continued steps forward tells us that if the lamb that God provided was the son at his side, he was still willing to move toward that alter.

His response to Isaac did not result in Isaac asking the question “how would God provide?” To me, this tells us that the father and son relationship between these two was deeper than just a blood relationship, but that Isaac trusted his earthly father …

much like Abraham trusted his heavenly Father.

They reached the place that God had told Abraham about, and he built an alter.

Then they lay the wood for burning on top of it.

Everything was ready for the sacrifice …

Except

the lamb.

I can imagine Abraham looking around, eyes searching for something, anything else to sacrifice, except for his son.

I can imagine Isaac also searching …

and maybe wondering …

At some point the truth would have been revealed … how I wish that the Bible tells us of that conversation.

I do know, from what I have read, that up until little more than a hundred years ago, or so, people did not expect long lives, filled with ease and comfort. Life was hard, it was common for death to come early, and in tragic ways … and that was just life.

Isaac was thirteen’ish

Abraham was seventy-five’ish

Although the Bible does say that he laid Isaac on the alter, I do not think that he, in his older age, could have done so if Isaac was squirming and fighting, and moving around. My son of similar age to Isaac, certainly could put up a good physical fight against his grandfather, of similar age to Abraham!

Isaac had to have submitted to his father’s authority, and

allowed his father to tie him up

to lay him on the alter

I can only imagine the look in their tear-filled, fear-filled eyes.

I can only imagine their hearts,

beating in unison

praying in unison

for another pure, spotless lamb to be provided

I can only imagine the trust that this young man has in his father to lay there

I can only imagine the trust that this old man has in his Father-God to take hold of the knife

“But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven,
“Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.
“Do not do anything to him.
Now I know that you fear God,
because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
Genesis 22:11-12

And there, caught up in a thicket, was a ram.

He provided the lamb …

Freeing the responsibility of Abraham, of us, to provide it.

And He still provides the lamb,

blood spilled out on a cross

A God who knows that it is only by the spilling of the blood of the pure, and spotless … perfect that our sins could be erased.

And there was only one lamb who was

pure enough

spotless enough

perfect enough

His Son.

God’s Test-Isaac Part 1

Read Full Post »

d41e8d8e486a8d314b1ce49db21d9d28

What is it that can cause a man who has lost almost every earthly blessing to pen it is well?

My most favourite hymn of all time is the haunting story of the blind-eyed faith of Horatio Spafford’s It is Well.

No doubt the story of Spafford writing it, when crossing the Atlantic, at the place where his four daughters drowned (after previously losing his young son to death, and experiencing his financial ruin in the great Chicago Fire) only enhances the significance of it’s meaning.

When I am faced with life-shaking struggles, or mountain-high obstacles that seem impossibly unmovable, or when I just cannot seem to see what is around the next corner, I am confronted with the question,

can I still sing, it is well with?

And I do sing it, sometimes with expectant joy, more often through clenched teeth, robotic.

God does not ask for me (us) to be a mannequin-like worshipper, he wants my (our) gritty heart-broken soul. He wants me (us) to understand what faith is, “the confidence of what we hope for, the assurance of what we do not see” (Hebrews 1:1).

Following this definition of faith are reminders of the those who have lived with blind-eyed faith (Noah, Abraham, Moses, Rahab etc.). The chapter ends with these words:

“These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 1:39-40)

If we can have the confidence in our God, that he sees and knows what we do not. If we can hold to his promises, that he has something planned that we might not even live to see. If we can trust in his love for us, then it is well, with our souls.

Though the song below is not Spafford’s version, it holds that same blind-eyed assurance of his faithfulness to us.

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Do You Love Me?

There are stories in the Bible I love and have read, and studied over and over. One is the interaction between Simon Peter and Jesus.

“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time,“Do you love me?”

He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

John 21 15-19

For me Jesus question, “do you love me?” could equally be asked, “do you love me, MOST?”

There have been many times when I have been challenged to love Jesus more than anything, more than anyone, in my life. But, there was one night (a few years ago), when, I believe, the challenge came from God. And I believe I even heard His voice … maybe not with my ears, but certainly with my heart.

It was to be a great evening! I was taking my daughter and her friends to a concert, and I got to go to a movie, of MY choosing, all alone! Oh, the bliss! There would be no princess, no space creatures, no war story. No, I was going to go to a chick flick, eat far too much popcorn (with butter), and NOT have to take a single person to ‘pee’ just when the story was getting good.

I went to the theater, just down the street from the concert venue. I ate immense amounts of buttery popcorn. I laughed. I cried. And I sighed. I left feeling girlie-good! So I rolled into my van (feeling the effects of immense amounts of buttery popcorn), and steered away from the theater, towards the concert venue.

Hum, I wondered, should I go shopping? No, the stores were about to close. Maybe a coffee shop? No, there was no place in my body for any more ingesting. Maybe ‘hang out’ at the grocery store? Seriously, you know you are old and lead a boring life when you actually, seriously, consider spending your Friday night ‘hanging out’ at a grocery store. Can we say, LAME?! (And all of this self-questioning happened in mere moments).

As I approached the concert venue I was amazingly, inwardly compelled to drive into the venue parking lot, by ‘something’ that seemed to be communicating to me, ‘you need to be there’. And, so, I went.

Then I parked and thought, now what? I knew it would be over an hour until the concert would be over. Heck, I thought, the headlining group was probably just starting. Hum, thought my conniving mind, I bet I could just walk in to the concert, and enjoy the headlining group … for FREE (Scottish heritage … oh, ya, baby!). And once ‘free’ was part of this idea there would be no backing down.

So, I walked into the venue, the church, where the concert was happening. I was able to walk right up to where the concert was in full gear. The place was packed! I stood just inside the doorway, watching and listening. A modern hymn of praise was being sung, being shouted, to Hosanna in the highest.

I stood there, thanking God that people use their gifts from Him to honor the Giver of those gifts. And that God would use those people, those gifts to open up this generation’s eyes to the things unseen. It was a ‘solo in a crowd’ praise party for me.

Then the second song began. It was rockier, and the crowd in there were having a blast!

And then …

Something up front fell … ‘I hope it didn’t hit anyone (my daughter)’

The music stopped … ‘It must have hurt someone (my daughter?)’

Noises of chaos, and people moving, climbing, back over pews … ‘God, don’t let it be my daughter’

DO YOU LOVE ME … ?

‘Huh? Of course I love you. But where is my daughter?’

A fire alarm was sounding … ‘This isn’t good. Where is my daughter?’

People were exiting the building, from all exits … orderly, quietly … ‘What is going on? Where is my daughter?’

I started to move forward, into the sanctuary … it didn’t feel like sanctuary. I turned around, and walked out.

I noticed people, running down a stairway. I walked towards the stairs, and (so hesitantly) down the stairs, not knowing where they would lead me. I saw people rushing into a room, a hall. I saw people lying on the floor, and others attending to them. They were HURT! … ‘is my daughter in there?’

DO YOU LOVE ME … MORE?

‘What? You are asking that NOW? … Oh, what are you asking me? What are you asking of me? Please … please don’t take my daughter … But … yes … yes I do love you more …’

I started to move forward, into the room … there didn’t seem to be … room, for me. I turned around, and walked out.

I walked back up the stairs.

‘Please, please help me find my daughter. Wherever she is, please help me find her.’

YOUR CELL PHONE

(I do not remember that line from John’s gospel!) I pulled my cell phone from my bag, confused as to how it could lead me to my daughter. Then I remembered! My daughter had used my cell phone to call one of her friends who had not showed up, just before the others went into the church, for the concert. Maybe, that number would be on my phone, and, maybe if I called it, I could find my daughter.

I searched the recent calls … it was there! … ‘thank-you’

I dialed, and the call was answered by her friend … ‘thank-you’

Then, reality. What if the answers she had for me were not what I wanted? Could I hear that?

DO YOU LOVE ME … MOST?

Do I love you … most? Oh, but, you asked me that of my first child. And that child never took it’s first breath. But, you did hear my cry, and gave again. But, she is only 15, was she only ‘on loan’? Oh, right, they are all only on loan. They … she is your child before she is my daughter. YOU love HER most …

Yes, my Lord … I do love you … most … and, her life … I leave it in your hands …

I took a deep breath. There were three of the seven together just outside (I was still in the building, still just outside the sanctuary … so far from sanctuary). And, my daughter? No, she was not with them.

I rushed to those three, who I barely knew, and hugged them. And I felt the strength return to my wobbly legs, as I realized that, I could hold them, support them, and comfort them, as their moms would, if they were there.

Another girl arrived shortly after … hugs, tears, questions … answers? The floor … fell?

One of the girl’s sister had been there … where the floor … was.

And my daughter? The newest of the group saw her at the other side of the church … ‘thank-you, thank-you, thank-you’

I walked … right? I rushed, with the concerned sister, to where we were told my daughter was.

As we moved forward, with sounds of sirens, road closures, emergency personal absolutely everywhere, It felt surreal, like I was walking, living through, a dream. A very bad dream.

Then, right in front of me … ‘thank-you, thank-you, thank-you’

And I held my daughter … with an understanding of thanksgiving that I had not felt, since the day she was born.

‘thank-you’

Another girl was with her … hugs, tears, questions …

Soon after with found the missing sister.

I drove them all home.

Reunions … hugs, tears, questions …

But, that night, the questions  for me were  …

DO YOU LOVE ME?

DO YOU LOVE ME … MORE?

DO YOU LOVE ME … MOST?

And my ultimate answer?

Yes, I love you … the most, and I will follow you, to the corners of the earth.

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A Joy Perspective

On a winter morning, with fog in my brain, not enough coffee in the pot, not enough minutes to sit and create, not enough surety in the day to come … I can easily, quickly, flounder into a dark place.

Then, the beautiful, gentle-but-firm reminder the newness of the day, of fresh starts, of mercies, of a presence of comfort and hope is in front of me,

and I doubt my own doubts, and I feel the joy of anticipation of what lies ahead.

What has changed?

The fog in my brain is still thick, there is still not enough coffee, still not enough creation minutes, still no surety in the day to come, but …

I have been reminded of what I already know …

I can trust Him with my heart.

He was there all through the winter mornings in January.

He was there with long range vision of the future I could not, can not, see.

He was there when plans changed, when choices were diminished.

He was there when all hell broke loose.

He was there when all seemed dark, and bleak, and hopeless …

But,

because He was there,

because He IS here,

I can face the unknowns of today, from my vantage point of weakness, and trust that He will be with me through it all. Never alone will I be, as He is always with me.

And,

He is with you.

Through whatever twist and turn that has changed your plans, your dreams … He is with you.

Trust Him … He is trustworthy.

He is doing a new and beautiful thing in you …

He provides reason to have a joy perspective.

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