Just a Thought

Rev.
Aaron Linford

EZRA’S
WATERGATE

“The street that was before the
watergate” – Nehemiah 8:1

Ezra had his ‘Watergate”. But it
had not the slanderous annotations of the White House ‘Watergate” that caused
be resignation of the U.S.A.,
President Nixon. Here was excitement, joy, and spiritual fervour.

It seemed that the whole
population of Jerusalem
were baked into that pedestrian precinct to listen to the reading be
Scriptures, so long lost to their thirsty souls. They stood for hours – men,
women and children – to imbibe what had long been denied them. God’s word.

Ezra, with twelve other priests,
stood on a specially erected platform, and read from God’s law ”distinctly”,
interpreting the sense in understandable terms. An atmosphere of reverence
prevailed as Ezra prayed and unfolded the ached scroll. As a nation in
captivity they had long been denied the sacred Book, but now nationhood is
restored the Scriptures take their rightful place.

But they do not merely listen, they
obey; and the glorious “Festival of Booths” follows – this Watergate became a
watershed of blessing: the foundation of a new era of spiritual life. So the
Bible can be to us a fountain of well king, a foundation of Christian living
and a fund of rich blessings. The secret of personal and national happiness is
in the scripture of truth.

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Prayer Dynamics

Rev. Rick Warren

PRAY FOR YOUR PASTOR TODAY

Jon Walker

“I have no
greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” –
(3 John 4 NIV)

Sunday is Pastor
Appreciation Day (October 9). Take some time to pray for your pastor, and then
on Sunday, affirm your pastor. Then keep doing this every week.

Being a pastor is one of
the toughest jobs on the planet, but the apostle John says it can also be the
most joyful: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking
in the truth” (3 John 4 NIV).

Spiritual leaders must
correctly teach God’s Word, confront false teaching before it spreads, proclaim
the Gospel to non-believers, pray for all people, and train and appoint
leaders. They must do this all while serving as examples of what it looks like
when you’re maturing in Christlikeness (see 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus).

Accordingly, the apostle
Paul says we should respect our spiritual leaders, overwhelming them with
appreciation: “Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work”
(1 Thessalonians 5:13 NIV).

You can see the enormous
responsibility a pastor has to stay in sync with God and to encourage you to
stay in sync also. Your pastor is human and every bit as capable as you or me
of making mistakes or slipping into sin. Pray that your pastor will stay
focused on Jesus and that your pastor’s ministry will flow from that intimacy.
There is nothing the enemy wants more than to distract your pastor from his
purpose by getting him distracted.

Pray for your pastor’s
protection, because the push-back he feels from the enemy comes in strong every
time your pastor proclaims God’s truth. It gets even stronger the closer he
gets to Christ.

Pray that your pastor will
know deep within his soul that “not even death or life, angels or rulers,
things present or things to come, ?hostile? powers, height or depth, or any
other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39 HCSB). And then let your
pastor know that your love will never cease, that you are committed to loving
your pastor with the love of Jesus Christ.

Now think of some
practical bit of service you can do for your pastor, and do it this coming
week.

Healing Testimonies

Hazel Barrett

The trauma of
burying her still born baby left Hazel Barrett struggling with grief, but a
remarkable meeting at the Elim Bible Week helped her find release she needed to
move on

 I SOBBED AS I HEARD THE SPEAKER,

THEN THE HOLY SPIRIT HEALED ME

Anyone who has
been through the devastating ordeal of losing a child will be able to identify
with Hazel Barrett. Having got married in 1996, she and her husband were
delighted to discover that they were expecting a child. But at her 19-week
scan, they received the heartbreaking news that there little boy had died in
the womb.

Hazel’s testimony
is heart-breakingly honest, and  at the
centre of it is a woman who wouldn’t let life’s circumstances get in the way of
her faith in Jesus and a God who is sovereign in all things. Her faith in the
face of such suffering is to be commended, and now she helps others deal with the
loss of losing a child through her local SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death
Society) group.

Speaking of how
she felt after losing her baby boy, she says, ‘Yes, I shed silent tears. Yes, I
cried out to god, “Where are you in all this As I asked this question of God I
got the Scripture of 1 Samuel 17: 3-37, of how David overcame Goliath who was a
giant, and I understand that this time in my life was a giant to be dealt with.

After a 15 hour
labour, on 22 November 1996, Hazel, a member of Burton Elim, gave birth to her
stillborn son who she named Ryan Luke, meaning small king. Going through the
motions of burying her son was too much for Hazel, and she drew closer to God.

She says, ‘I felt
like I was holding on to God by a fine thread; that I was about to let go and
just fall into oblivion. But when you feel like that, God holds on tighter
because he never leaves us or forsakes us’. Two years after Ryan’s death and
unable to deal with her grief, she decided to attend a local support group.

She says, ‘I
started to attend the SANDS support group meetings, which I dif find very
helpful, and a safe place where I could share my feelings without feeling
guilty’.

In 2000, Hazel
was asked to take over the running of her local group. ’I prayed and I
approached my pastor and discussed it with him, and prayed even more, and
eventually I just felt that this was to be my ministry – to help and comfort
those who have had a baby die’, she explains.

‘We started to do
an annual service of remembrance in my church and have had many as 180 grieving
non-Christians in our church, all sharing that bond – the loss of a baby. We
have had some phenomenal services where we have really felt the presence of
God.

Over the next two
years she and her husband started to move forward in their grief until a letter
came in the post that brought everything flooding back. It informed them that
the hospital had kept some of Ryan’s organs, but that because of the Alder Hay
enquiry, by law they now had to let them know.

She says, ‘We
held a second graveside e funeral, officiated at by my pastor. I wrote a poem
which I don’t know how I read it out, but I did. By opening up Ryan’s grave, it
opened up all the wounds.

It was only when
she attended the Elim Bible Week in 2006 that Hazel received healing of the
heart which had been broken the day Ryan died. Hazel explains, ‘On the last
night of the Conference Pastor John Glass got up and introduced us to a lady
called Jan Holt. He explained how God had laid it on his heart that Jan should
sing a song she had written in memory of her baby that died.

‘The floodgates
just opened in me. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I felt an overwhelming sense
of the Holy Spirit surrounding me. I felt completely at peace, and I received
healing that night’.

Now Hazel uses
her experiences to help others who have lost a baby.

She says, ‘I am
still running Burton SANDS, and I really do feel God is in it. There is a need
for this ministry. There are probably people in your church that have been
through this tragic loss, and you just don’t know about it because it is a
subject that is brushed under the carpet.

 

 

 

Dave’s Snippets

Dr. David Allen

JESUS   AND
A DONKEY

The Persian thirteenth century poet, usually known as Rumi, tells an interesting story. In a short poem he describes Jesus riding on a bony, awkward donkey and he sees it as an important metaphor: Jesus represents Wisdom and the donkey as Folly. Similar ideas can be found in the early chapters of the Book of Proverbs; and in that biblical book, Wisdom and Folly are represented by two very different women: Wisdom is a beautiful and gracious lady  but Folly is a painted prostitute seeking to ensnare clients.

It is quite likely that Rumi knew Proverbs. His short poem certainly conveys the same message as that of the ancient book: if you pursue and are guided by Wisdom you will do well, but Folly will bring disaster. Putting it very candidly, says the poet, let Jesus be your leader and never let allow the donkey to take the lead as all too many people tend to do!

Although the poet was a leading Sufi, an Islamic group, he respected Jesus and his teaching and saw him as a supreme teacher of divine Wisdom. This, of course, falls short when Jesus is simply regarded as a teacher of Wisdom listed alongside Confucius, Buddha, Mohammad and Guru Nanak. Although these sages and venerable teachers and prophets did know and teach aspects of wisdom, St Paul, declares of Jesus: “He is the visible image of the invisible God” and   therefore has “all treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.  And so we can say that Jesus Christ is not merely a wise man or wandering teacher but God incarnate or,
indeed, Wisdom literally personified – the very essence of  the  New Testament’s teaching!

Having said all that, we have to be careful, as Christians, not to see ourselves as superior spiritual beings, better than
other men, codes and creeds: everything we enjoy and benefit from as believers makes us the happiest of people and certainly not superior ones – and that happy situation is  the undeserved gift of God in Christ for all men and women of faith.

 

 

 

 

Illustrious Men and Ministries

Kathryn Kulman

THE PRACTISE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD

As we celebrate Pentecost and the healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman
(1907- 1976) explains how descent of the Holy Spirit, American believers can
‘practice the presence of God’

Holy Spirit is a continual abiding
Presence

The healing virtue, or power, that Jesus uses is the Holy
Spirit, the third person of the Godhead.

To understand something of his personality and his work
will make it easier for you to bring belief to the stature of faith.

Let this simple statement sink into the very deepest
recesses of your heart: ‘The Holy Spirit can and will do anything and
everything for you that Jesus himself would do were he standing there before
you with his hands extended and the radiant light of glory shining from his face’.

In fact, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit when he went to be
with the Father:  ‘I will pray the
Father, ant he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you
forever’.

That glorious promise in John 14: 16 says several
startling things. It shows there the three members of the Godhead in divine
harmony of action. It reveals that the Holy Spirit will be ‘another’ like unto
himself, a comforter and a strength-giver. It also shows that the Holy Spirit
will continue and abide ‘forever’.

Instead of the Great Physician having limitations of the
flesh, accessible to a relatively small number, he becomes accessible to all of
us through the Holy Spirit, The Great Physician is everywhere today, And he is
all-sufficient, for Jesus not only has power in heaven, but all power on earth
as well. This fact alone should be enough to change our entire outlook.

lt is not merely a matter of getting something from God,
as important as that may be to you. lt is a matter of ‘practicing the presence
of God’ of recognising, enjoying and utilising the continual abiding presence
of the Holy Spirit.

Remember that the Holy Spirit is with you whether you
think so or not, whether you feel his present: or are wholly unaware of it. If
you are a true child of God, then you have the witness of the Holy Spirit,
which is your assurance of salvation.

This Holy Spirit is the same one who worked with Jesus
during his earthly ministry in the performance of his healing miracles.

To understand that enables you to see what great power
there is available to you now. It is the same as when Jesus walked on the
shores of Galilee!

Since God, his Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit are
supernatural, it is natural that we should expect God to do supernatural things
for us.

We can live in the state of expectancy that he will perform
miracles and among them are miracles of healing for our physical bodies,
healing all who will reach out and touch the hem of his garment, all who will
say, Jesus you are all you claim to be’.

The power of God will become real to your heart in a beautiful
way when he touches your body and the healing virtue of Jesus Christ flows
through you.

It will enhance the spiritual blessings which you may have
enjoyed for a long time.

It will enrich your testimony. It will enable you to
encourage others who stand in great need.

It will challenge the unsaved, and may be the means of
leading others to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is by far
the greatest miracle of all.

Great Stories

Rev. E. Anderson

BALD LOVE

by Arnie Shein

Manuel bolted up in bed and looked at
them in awe.

I was recuperating from surgery when
the nurses wheeled in Manuel, my new room-mate. Before long our hospital room
was as busy as a railway station. Thirty-nine-year-old Manuel had made a host
of friends since he and his family had moved here from Puerto Rico.
Now he seemed to thrive on their constant support and attention. I’m going to be fine, he kept promising them.

Then came bad news. Manuel had
cancer. He’d have to undergo radiation therapy and chemotherapy. For Manuel,
however, the worst news seemed to be that he would lose his magnificent head of
hair.

He was inconsolable. Nothing I said
reassured him. It was obvious he had focused all anxiety about his health on a
fear of losing his hair. One morning, a few days later, we heard the shuffling
of feet outside our door.

A group of Manuel’s friends and
family led by his five-year-old son, Miguel, marched in. Dumbstruck, Manuel
bolted up in bed and looked at them in awe.

They had all shaved their heads.

Sermon Starters

Rev.
E. Anderson

This
is a simple outline for you to think about and meditate on. The introduction,
main thoughts and conclusion need further material to be added. It is an
outline for you to expand, develop more fully and fill in to spiritual profit
and inspiration. 

THE PRE-EMINENCE OF GOD’S WORD

Nehemiah 8-10

Here we see God’s Word coming into
its rightful place and a due emphasis placed upon it. The Book of the Law had
been both neglected and rejected and the consequence had proved disastrous. Now
there was not only a retuning to God, but also to His Word and from this real
amendment was to proceed and experience a state of divine blessedness. This was
to be a crucial stance and step in a forward movement. It was what God was
wanting to so and on this occasion must have been pleased by what He witnessed.
The prominent given to the Book can be noted:

1/. IN THE PLATFORM GIVEN TO IT- Nehemiah 8: 4

The pulpit and its due prominence
signaled the importance of the Word not the reader. It is the first record of a
pulpit and from this possibly starts the introduction of the pulpit. It was to
be a wholesome habit and practise. Attention was being drawn to an important
spiritual procedure.

2/. IN THE PERSON USED TO READ IT – Nehemiah 8: 4

Ezra, a good and able man, one
well-versed in the divine Writings, was the appointed person to do the reading.
He would be the kind of individual to read it well and read it in a pleasing,
understandable way. The Book  meant something to him and it
would come out in ministry as he read.

3/. IN THE REVERENCE OF IT – Nehemiah 8:3,6

They rose to hear it read and
stood on their feet for a very long time as it was communicated – v3. The next
day they stood for a quarter of the day (3 hours NLT) to hear it proclaimed. As
they listened they also praised the Author and humbled and worshipped. The
atmosphere was charged with high regard for God and His Word.

4/. IN THE READINESS TO HEAR IT EXPLAINED Nehemiah 8:8

It became apparent that they truly
wanted to know what it meant and how it should be interpreted and applied to
life. They realised they must come to know the significance of the law so that
it could be honoured in application.

5/. IN THE FINAL RESPONSE TO IT – Nehemiah 8: 9

There came the awareness that the
Book of the Law had been seriously broken and they were not acting out its
requirements hence their problems. Sorrow and repentance becomes manifest and a
mourning over this evil.

CONCLUSION

The end result was the will to do
what God said. From the good response they could enter into the joy of obedient
and doing what Jehovah required – 8: 10.

Meet the Christian Ministers

Chaplain John Baptiste

THE
CHAPLAINCY THAT GIVES YOU WINGS

AN AoG minister has made history
after becoming RAF’s first Pentecostal commissioned chaplain.

John Baptiste left his senior role
of Bexley Christian Life Centre in Bexleyheath after seeing an article about
chaplaincy within the the military in RE-Magazine’s predecessor, Joy Magazine,
February 2009.

Having spent previously in the RAF
from 1980-1995 – four years as a radar and communications technician and 11
years as as Air Traffic Controller – John felt convicted by the article. After
much prayer, he felt the Lord was calling him to return as a chaplain.

He says, ‘When I left the RAF in
1995, as far as I was concerned, that was it – I wasn’t going back. At that
point the military only endorsed chaplains from the major denominations, like
Anglicans and the Roman Catholics wasn’t one of them at that time.
It wasn’t even something I’d have considered 15 years ago.

‘But two years ago I discovered
that the AOG had become a sending group into the military when I read an
article in Joy Magazine entitled, ”Come fly with me”.

‘I thought that at 48 I’d be too old, but when
I looked into it I found out that I was ”young” enough and qualified enough to
join and I had the experience. I just had to work out whether it was what the
Lord was calling me to do’.

John started his officer training
and graduated in March 2011. Now based at RAF Lyneham, Wiltshire, he is happily
settling into his new role.

‘Being back in the RAF in this
role is totally different in that people see me as the chaplain’ he says.
‘There is an amazing openness towards spiritual things and a towards chaplaincy
because in the past 10  to 15 years, the
branch has gone on operations to minister to troops on the front line in Iraq,
Afghanistan and more latterly, Libya.

‘I think it’s true that when people
are in difficult and dangerous situations they think more about eternity and
often need emotional and spiritual support, and this is where chaplains are
able to be most effective.

‘Because chaplains are available
during the difficult times on operations, when we’re back home people are much
more open to talk to us. It’s a very positive role and one in which I can share
the love of Christ when appropriate’.

So just what does the role of an
RAF chaplain entail?

‘Here at RAF Lyneham I am part of
a team ministry’s John explains, ‘As a new entrant chaplain I have been sent to
a base with other chaplains in order to learn from them. We start the day with
morning prayers; people can make appointments to see us or just turn up for
advice, counsel or just a cup of tea and a chat. We integrate with the military
community and therefore have the freedom to go out and about on base connecting
with personnel at their places of work from the cook- house, flight-line and
police to engineers and administrators.

‘At RAF Lyneham, one of the major
duties of the station is to facilitate the repatriation of the fallen from
various military operations that the UK is committed to. Chaplains offer
pastoral support and comfort to the bereaved families as well as service comrades,
and are regularly impressed at the dignity and courage displayed during such a
difficult day. It’s a very formal part of the job’.

Pastor David Spademan, National
Chaplaincy Representative for Assemblies of God, said, ‘In 2008 Assemblies of
God was granted “sending church” status from the Ministry of Defence and we
became part of the United Navy, Army and Air Force board.

‘I am delighted that we have sent
pour first minister to be commissioned chaplain in the Royal Auir Force.

‘This is an historical moment as
John Baptiste is the first full time commissioned chaplain from a classical
Pentecostal church to be appointed by the MoD. I am
confident that he will represent us well.

‘In conversations with leading
chaplains from all three branches of the Armed Forces, I have been asked to
encourage more AoG ministers to become chaplains.

You need to have held full
ministerial status for three years and be under 49 years of age when you join’.

For more information, email david@rugbyclc.com

                                                         

Wisdom’s Ways

Rev. A. Linford

MEDDLE NOT

”Meddle not with those that are given to
change” Proverbs 24:21,22

 

To meddle is to get mixed-up with,
and such mixed-up-ness often ends in hopeless muddle.

PRE-EMPTIVE ATTITUDE

“Fear thou the Lord and the Kingl”: Here is the advice of a concerned father to
an immature son. Youth can often be open to revolutionary ideas, and hot-headed
enough to try and put them into practice. But national peace depends on respect
for authority. ”Fear the Lord” will strengthen our will to do the right and
restrain our urge to adventure into dangerous and unnecessary experiments. If
we love God, His pattern of life for us will have priority’. ”Seek ye first
the Kingdom
of God,
and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33). To have God in our life is to preempt
evil. And if we accept divine authority, we will be more ready to submit to
human authority – “fear … the king”.

Both Peter and Paul exhort respect
for necessary human government, for only thus can social peace abound. ”Let
every soul be subject to the higher powers, writes Paul (Romans 13: 1), and
Peter follows with, ”Submit yourself to every ordinance of man” ( 1 Peter 2:
13). All authority issues from God, therefore we submit to its channelling
through governmental ministers, for the Lord’s sake. How far we should submit
to oppressive regimes is not easy to decide, but in general, even defective
government is better than no government: anarchy is lethal.

PRESUMPTIVE ACTION

Those that are ”given to change” are men of revolutionary tendencies, who
revolt against the laws of God and government. This attitude of ”change-ness”
is disruptive of social and national peace. When it enters the church it is
destructive of fellowship and effective testimony and dictatorial leadership,
it is equally true that there are some men, like Diotrephus, who ”love to have
pre-eminence”, and even defy God- given leadership (3 John 9). If we truly
fear God we will be ready to accept and obey divinely-ordained appointments.

PRAYER:

Let not pride make me an anarchist, O Lord.

Messages of Note

 

Rev. Geoff Feasey

THE WORLD IS BEING SHAKEN . . . AS THE RETURN OF JESUS
NEARS

When Jesus spoke about the signs of His
Second Coming, He was talking more than just an earthquake, explains Geoff
Feasey

Recent newspaper articles and
international news broadcasts point to a major change taking place on earth.
Widespread flooding, forest fires, long and intense periods of frozen winter;
and huge earthquakes rocking continents have dominated headlines.

Add to this the break-up of the
ice caps in both the Arctic and the Antarctic,
and it doesn’t take much to cause the believer to recognise that the ‘end of
the age’ is approaching faster now than at any other period of New Testament
teaching. We would be right to ask, ‘What on earth is happening?’

When Jesus was talking to His
disciples in Matthew 24 about the end of the age, he spoke of a ‘sign’ that
they should look for. The word ‘sign’ has been translated in the NIV as
‘earthquake’. However, the word that is used does not relate just to a physical
earthquake that shakes and convulses the earth, it is much deeper than that.

The King James Bible uses the word
‘pestilence’ in its translation of the words of Jesus, so, in order to fully
understand what He was saying to His disciples, we must go to the original
text.

SIGNS

Jesus said there would be certain
signs taking place on earth between His ascension and His second coming, and
that these signs would produce a opicture that would convey to the watching
world, and the waiting Church, that His return was drawing near.

The Greek word that resulted in
the translation ‘earthquake’ of is the word ‘seismos,’ which means ‘a shaking’
or a ‘shock’. It is obvious that we derive our English word seismic from this
word, and ‘seismology’ is now recognised as the word meaning the study of
earthquakes. The  word ‘seismos’ has its
roots in the first part of the word ‘seio’, which means to ‘move to and fro’,
and it conveyed the thought of concussion. This is why some versions of the
Bible translate the word as a concussion of the earth, a simple earthquake.

However, the word can be applied
to more things than simply the earth ‘shaking’ in the shock aftershock of an
earthquake. The word can be applied to the sea as well as the earth, and it is
found earlier in Matthew’s Gospel when, in chapter eight, Jesus calmed the
tempest on Lake Galilee.
This was a ‘shaking of the sea.

The word can also be applied to
the ‘shaking’ that a calamity can bring, as well as the physical shaking of an
earthquake, Plagues can be ‘seismos’, as they can shake a nation and even the
world -the ‘ devastating plague of AIDS is
one earth shaking pestilence of
gigantic proportions. The world has been shaken by this plague, to lie y
and it has ravaged some nations far more than a physical shaking ever could.

lf we total up the vast  number of diseases that are savaging nations
on our planet, and then if we add to them the floods and the ravages of storms
and tidal changes, not to mention global warming and its effects, we have
pestilences that go far beyond the simple earthquakes of the NIV – these are
signs of the times.

SHOCK

Jesus used the word ‘seismos’ to
convey the thought of the earth being concussed by a shaking in and a shock.
The word was used for all kinds of pestilence such as plagues and calamities,
and it was translated this way in the Authorised Version. However, the NIV
stays with the most natural translation, that of earthquakes.

The world has always seen
earthquakes and probably aIways will, until the return of Jesus. However, Jesus
was seeking to convey something to His disciples that went beyond the natural
force of the occasional earthquake, Jesus said that there would be earthquakes
in various places, and the clue to what He was saying was not in the wording of
earthquakes, but in the wording of ‘various places’.

The Greek word for ‘various’ is
the word ‘poikilos’ which means ‘manifold’ or ‘multicoloured’, and it was used
by Matthew in his Gospel to describe the literal words of Jesus, when he stated
that earthquakes would become more wide- spread and manifold in their number
and strength.

The clue to the depth of teaching
that Jesus was seeking to bring lies in the root part of the word ‘seismos’,
The first part of the word ‘sets’, which means as we have seen, ‘to move to and
fro’, actually relates to far more than a one-time effect of a localised
earthquake, Of course, plagues can ‘move to and fro’ across a country, and AIDS
has ‘moved to and fro’ across continents, However, Jesus was conveying much
more than this.

CALAMITY

The root word ‘sets’ speaks of a
gigantic movement of disturbance across the earth, which is exactly what Jesus
was seeking to convey. Matthew noticed this and conveyed the same substantial
thought when he used this very deep Greek word. We are not talking here about
the increasing effects of physical earthquakes or the rampant spread of plagues
and famine. We are talking about a greater calamity and pestilence than this.

Jesus was saying that the end
times, with their signs and tokens of direction, would begin to see a colossal
disturbance across the face of our planet that has not been seen before. We
only have to listen to the news broadcasts or watch the ‘global picture’ being
presented to us on our nightly television news shows, to know that globally we
are being moved to and fro’.

A localized earthquake in one
continent can have devastating effects upon another continent hundreds or even
thousands of miles away.

This world is being shaken apart
and shocked by ‘seismos’ more than at any time of its history. This age is fast
coming to a close, and Jesus will soon return.

 

 

 

 

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