womens’ page

patheaton

Patricia Heaton

A SLAVE TO THE CAUSE

Actress, model and producer, Patricia Heaton talks family, faith and fun

If Everybody Loves Raymond, then everyone else feels sorry for Debra. Actress Patricia Heaton, 52, played the long-suffering Debra Barone in the hit TV show that is still popular today.

Fans of the hilarious sitcom know Debra as a loving mother and wife, married to Long Island’s most selfish husband, Ray.

What many British fans may not realise is that Patricia is one of Hollywood’s most outspoken Christians. With her real-life English husband of 22 years, David Hunt, she was also a producer of the highly acclaimed film, Amazing Grace, which told the story of William Wilberforce’s campaign to abolish slavery.

“I’m just an actor, but occasionally I feel it’s important enough to put myself out there as a person who can get an audience to shed some light on certain things. My husband and I have a production com­pany, FourBoys Films, and through our art we want to promote more redemptive themes in our movies and TV shows,” she explains.

“Amazing Grace has a campaign at­tached to it called Amazing Change, about modern slavery and the 27 million people in slavery today, mostly children.”

On the screen, women around the world identified with Debra and her ongoing battles with the in-laws, raising three children and looking after a lazy husband.

In contrast, Patricia has some definite ideas about family life, marriage and a career, emphasising the central role her faith plays.

“I have an attitude that God is in control of everything so sometimes we have to work really hard and sometimes we have to wait to see what he does in our lives,” she says.

“The life of a Christian doesn’t guarantee sunshine and lollipops. I think you have to let go of that idea – that if you become a Christian and follow God’s will your life is going to be a bed of roses. If you get past that, then you’ll do OK.”

She adds: “My children go to faith-based schools and we go to church every week, and we pray together. And we’re pretty tight-knit in that the boys are all very close in age, so outside of school, they’re mostly with each other. Our oldest one is just starting to get out there a little bit more, and we’ll hopefully see if the values that we hope we’ve been planting have taken hold.

Patricia says that Everybody Loves Raymond helped focus on everyday is­sues like relationships and family life, and always with a barrel load of humour.

“There was one episode which dealt specifically with Ray not going to church and the rest of the family going. There was a point where Ray asked Deborah why she goes. The writer sat down with me and said, ‘What would you say to this? As Deborah, what would your answer be?’ I said, ‘Well, I guess I would say I go to church to realise that there’s something bigger than me, and to thank God for my family and my kids and my husband, and to pray for the strength to get through an­other day with my kids and my husband.’

“So in that way, again, I was able to directly say something about faith. Not the deepest thing, obviously, but making that a part of the fibre of a family, which you don’t see on any other show.”

Patricia is planning more film and TV productions, but when she feels spiritu­ally dry, she reflects on Wilberforce’s long struggle against slavery.

“Probably the only thing that was able to keep him going was his faith because it literally took him 40 years, and Wilber-force was sort of shunned from society.

“There’s a price to pay and I think that is one of the messages. You have to be will­ing to sacrifice everything to follow God and to follow what he’s called you to do.”

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wisdom’s ways

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Rev. Aaron Linford

VIOLENCE AND DISHONESTY

“He that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days” – Proverbs 28: 15, 16

Two outstanding qualities always mark good leadership, whether it be of a nation or a committee, a continent or a church. They are consideration for others, and incorruption for oneself. In leadership:-

Benignitv is the greatest quality (vs 15). Vicious leaders are “as a roaring lion” with its victim in its grasp (cf. Amos 3:4), and “as a ranging bear”, roaming in search of food to satisfy his ravenous appetite. So an unscrupulous dictator. He gorges his lust for power, then ranges the region for more. He is never satisfied: he grinds the poor, he disregards borders, he lunges into forbidden areas to feed his passion for greatness. His people are impoverished: poor in three ways – defenceless, dispirited and dejected. But there comes a point where they are desperate – and who can contain such a people! Oppression leads to opposition, to revolution, to the overthrow of wicked rulers. The only safeguard against such uprising is benign consideration of a people’s needs.

Honesty is the best policy (vs 16) in government as well as in personal life. Lack of common-sense leads a prince to oppress his people. But you can exploit a nation until they have nothing more to lose. And that is flash-point. It only needs the detonation of a strong opponent to spark the explosion of revolt. In grasping all, a senseless governor can lose all. And covetousness in a prince is a great evil. “The love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim 6:10) in prince or peasant. But princes have the power to exact riches by heavy taxation, this kind of tyranny that provides a lavish court side-by-side with an impoverished people creates a storm situation. Tension builds up until with a flash of insurrection and a thunder-roll of riot, the state collapses. Such was the French Revolution, when proud nobility bit the dust under the wrath of an exploited people. Wrong? Yes! Uncalled for? No! It is only when rulership eschews the gains of mischievous and heavy exactions, and seek the good of the nation by obvious probity and punctilious honesty, that stability can be assured and enjoyed. When people trust their “princes” the nation’s days are prolonged.

PRAYER:

Grant honest dealing in the highest (and all) places, Lord!

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sermons to note

ernes1

Rev. E. Anderson

THE RADICAL LIFE OF CHRISTIANITY

Text    2 Corinthians 5: 17

Introduction

One of the things that we really need to understand about being a Christian and being personally involved with Christ and Christianity, that it is a very radical experience to be exercised and evidenced. It cannot be treated or dealt with in an indifferent and lukewarm manner. It seeks to convey and communicate that it is a most radical thing to be known at the individual level and to be powerfully demonstrated.

Illustration: A clear illustration and picture of it is seen and witnessed in one of the earliest converts to Christianity – Paul. When he came to Christ it was to be no small factor with him but the complete overturn and overall of his being and behaviour. When he later writes to Christians situated in a church he makes clearly known his commitment for life – “For to me, to live is Christ” – Philippians 1: 21. There was to be no half-hearted token of his love and loyalty to Christ. Christ had completely taken over from the start and that was how it was to be for the rest of his days.

He wrote to the church fellowship and explains what being a Christian is all about. He stated: “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun” – New Living Translation

“Old things are passed away, old affections, passions, notions, &c. He hath the same soul, but new qualities, new apprehensions in his understanding, new inclinations in his will and affections, new thoughts, counsels, and designs” – Poole

RADICAL: other words for radical do help us to understand what dynamic change should occur when Christ comes in to live and work in a person who invites Him in as resident and president – deep-seated, sweeping, thorough, far-reaching, drastic and major. One thing is absolutely certain, it should become most apparent and obvious when a person become a Christian, Christ takes completely over.

“If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”  It is vain for a man to profess affinity to Christ according to the flesh, while he is unchanged in his heart and life, and dead in trespasses and sins; for he that is in Christ, that is, a genuine Christian, having Christ dwelling in his heart by faith, is a new creature; his old state is changed: he was a child of Satan, he is now a child of God; he was a slave of sin, and his works were death; he is now made free from sin, and has his fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.  He was before full of pride and wrath; he is now meek and humble.  He formerly had his portion in this life, and lived for this world alone; he now hath GOD for his portion, and he looks not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are eternal.  Therefore, old things are passed away” – Adam Clarke

“Become new; he seeks new ends; has a new rule of action and pursues a new course of conduct; has new joys and new sorrows, new hopes and new fears, new relations and new prospects” – Family Bible

Simply defined and understood it means:

1/. I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON ANYMORE IN BEING

One thing that Christ deals with first of all when He comes inside it is to deal with the inward condition and to change and transform both state and status, character and calling.

  • He comes to deal radically with the fallen and sinful condition. His first task is to cleanse and clear up the past and get rid of all the rubbish. He comes with His cleansing word, blood, word and Spirit to put the whole person inside in a wholesome and healthy situation. The contagious and infectious fact of sin is dealt with. He administers a total work of forgiveness which leads to a perfect work of justification. No longer to be regarded as a sinner but a saint. The past is dealt with once and for all in a radical fashion, sin no longer credited to us but His perfect and absolute righteousness.

“No condemnation now I dread, Jesus, and all in Him is mine” – Charles Wesley

  • He comes to radically transform giving us the divine nature and making us into the sons of God – John 1: 11, 12; Roman 8: 15-17 – “For you did not receive the spirit of a slave, to fill you once more with fear, but the spirit of a son which leads us to cry ‘Abba, Our Father. The Spirit himself unites with our spirits in bearing witness to our being God’s children, And if children, then heirs-heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, since we share Christ’s sufferings in order that we may also share his Glory” TCNT.

A Christian is a brand-spanking new creation and creature, the creation and production of Christ and is to be cultivated by Him. He can never ever be the same anymore because something divine has occurred of infinite worth.

2/. I AM NOT THE SAME PERSON ANYMORE IN BELIEF

What used to be believed is turned from and the person becomes divinely switched on to a better and greater means of assurance. He does rest on the ideas, judgments and opinions of men because there is the possession of a far better and reliable means of persuasion and conviction. Paul once lived according to the traditions of the Jews. He was fired up with them and anyone who thought differently was in deep trouble.

But then he had a radical revolution when Christ became his Saviour and Lord and he was totally governed by a superior influence and persuasion.  He testifies in Galatians 2: 20 “the life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me”. He had completely utterly died to self and sin and to his other ideas of living and was now taken completely over by a new dynamic inspiration and principle of life that was wholly reliable and he was comfortable with. As he fully believed it so it functioned completely.

Drs. Wells and Whitby: ‘I am now no longer the man I was, that is, a Jew; but I am a Christian, and am now bound to no other observances, but those which Christ requires of me, to whom I am obliged by all the bands of love and duty; He having given his own life for me to free me, among other things, from the Mosaic law’. Dr. Hammond.

3/. I AM NOT THE SAME ANYMORE IN BEHAVIOUR

When you really become a Christian it really does show in the new life-style that Christ creates and manifests. People should be able to note and know whether you are a born again Christian believer in a number of ways.

  • It is reflected in your attitudes. Christ taught quite a lot about the good and best attitudes that should be observed in those who profess and confess to be His – see Matthew 5.
  • It is revealed in your words. There is real difference not simply in the way you talk but in the words we use. Our speech becomes refined by Him so that one can discern whether he is at the back of the words we employ. Paul speaks about ‘sound speech that cannot be condemned’ – ‘seasoned with salt’.
  • It is recognised in your deeds. Christians should be truly noted in the amount of loving good works that are performed without show ado to bless others. Every time a good work is employed it is a sermon in itself – e.g. Dorcas 9; Onesiphorus 2 Timothy 1: 15-18.

4/. I AM NOT THE SAME ANYMORE IN VOCATION

It is good and wise to know that Christ has important work and service to be performed that is rewarding now and has the prospects of much greater reward in the eternal world. It is essential to discover the kind of vocation and calling that He has in mind so that you can give yourself wholeheartedly to a spiritual career and occupation. Opportunity. energy and time to be well spent in life.

There is a wonderful discovery in life as to why you are actually on this planet. Instead of living in ignorance and in the dark or of doing your own thing there is the glad discovery that Christ has a plan for you to fulfil whilst you are here. And it is with you throughout to the end of life. Jeremiah gives assurance on this with a word from God: “For I know the plans that I have for you”, says the Lord. “They are plans for good, not disaster, to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29: 11.

  • It means being a minister of Jesus Christ, which is serving Him in practical roles that will benefit His kingdom and church. The word servant is really deacon and that means within and outside the Christian church find some role of service that one can do all and advance in. Barnabas – Acts 4; 10; 13.
  • It means being a missioner for Him, in taking the Good News of the Christian Faith and Gospel to others. Not missing an opportunity to share the glad news of the Christian Gospel.
  • It means being a mentor for Him. There has to be the will and opportunity to get alongside someone and positively contribute to their growth and understanding and to provoke top worthwhile living and service.

5/. I AM NOT THE SAME IN ULTIMATE DESTINY

It is where things finish up that matter for good or ill. One has to be certain that one is investing all of life in that which is to be most rewarding and brings in the greatest dividends. Devoting and spending one’s life, time, energies and resources in and for Christ’s kingdom is certainly no waste whatsoever. It is wise and profitable to engage oneself in and through Him on His behalf and His cause.

  • It has the promise of the life that now is. Even if there wasn’t anything more to be known or had beyond this life and the grave it would still be the most satisfactory life that one could lead. It is both pleasurable and profitable to be engaged in that which is good and seeks the well being of others whatever other returns may be. When life has run its course it is good to be able to say that you spent yourself in an inspiring manner in that which brought a great deal of happiness and fulfilment.
  • The good and great thing that it holds the future of something infinitely bigger and better. Christians live and serve with the final goal and objective very much in view and hope – heaven with all of its eternal blessings etc. 1 Corinthians 2: 9. There is every reason to believe that what Christ has promised and forecast He is well able to deliver the goods. The Christian’s future is in safe hands, the hands of Christ. He has certainly got something that is altogether radical at the end in mind and view – John 14: 1-3; 1 Corinthians 15; 1 Thessalonians 4.

CONCLUSION

One should never weaken or water down Christianity in any way. It is at its best and finest when it is performing in a radical fashion, and that is true personally and collectively.

He that has begun a good work desires to see gloriously and greatly brought to fulfilment to its maximum and we should permit such to occur.

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sermon starters

Rev. E. Anderson

PROSTITUTING GOD’S GRACE

EZEKIEL 12-16

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 prophet is given quite a few images to describe and define the situation that God’s people were in. He does not paint a very good picture or portrait but exposes the awful rottenness and wickedness of their conduct. There was not much difference to pick and choose between those in Jerusalem and those now in captivity. There was the spirit of rebellion abroad in them all and an utter defilement in all their doings. They had become wholly polluted and so the inevitable judgement had to come. It was not going to be delayed any further. They had truly angered the Lord in every way and so left Him with no alternative but to carry out the prophetic word in bringing their ruin and desolation. Because they had ruined the relationship with Him and ruined their characters, He would bring the ultimate ruin on them.

In chapter 16 there is a total and full disclosure of what had occurred. An historic view of God and their dealings is given over a long period and it reveals without doubt the fact that they had truly prostituted His grace and goodness. In fact, she had become a blatant and flagrant whore of the worst possible kind.

1/. GOD’S GRACE HAD BEEN AT THEIR BEGINNING – vv4-7

If it had not been for His gracious intervention at birth they would have had no life or existence whatsoever. Nobody else had an interest in their being or cared about their life or future. He had spoken the word of life and health to them.

2/. GOD’S GRACE HAD BEEN EVIDENT IN MARRIAGE – v8

Through His love and attention she had grown graceful and beautiful and so the marriage took place between them. The people became joined in sacred union with Jehovah. She was and had nothing and the Lord took her to Himself.

3/. GOD’S GRACE HAD BEEN APPARENT IN THEIR PROVISION – vv9-14

He had done everything possible to enrich her in every way. There was no lack on any front. What a husband He turned out to be! He blessed her fully!

4/. GOD’S GRACE HAD BEEN TRULY REJECTED BY THEIR CONDUCT -vv15-34

She utterly prostituted herself and the gifts He had loaded her with.

5/. GOD’S GRACE WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO BE TREATED WITH CONTEMPT -vv35-52

The inevitable had to happen: she had to be disowned, exposed, judged – Hosea

6/. GOD’S GRACE WOULD BE MANIFEST YET AGAIN – vv53-63

God’s amazing grace: He would keep His word, forgive and restore.

 

 

 

 

powerful quotes

Rev. L. Goodwin

POWERFUL QUOTES

BEGINNINGS

“Beginning is half done”Robert Harold Schuller 1926-

“I have learned one important thing in my life-how to begin again” – Sam Keen

“If well thou hast begun, go on foreright;

It is the end that crowns us, not the fight” – Robert Herrick 1591-1674

“The beginning is the most important part of the work”Plato C. 428-348 B.C.

“The first step is the hardest”Marie de Vichy-Chamrond 1697-1780

“He who chooses the beginning of a road chooses the place it leads to”Harry Emerson Fosdick

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending” – Bard, Carl 

BELIEF

“A belief is not true because it is useful” Henri Frederic Amiel

“What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumptions on which he habitually acts”George Bernard Shaw

“If the Church were to live one week as if they believed the Bible, sinners would melt down before them”  – Charles Finney

“We only really believe as much of the Bible as we practice.”

BEST

“God has His best things for the few who dare to stand the test; God has His 2nd best for those who will not take His best. It is not always open ill that risks the promised rest, the better often is the foe that keeps us from the best” – Alan Redpath

 

 

prayer dynamics

Rev. Jon Walker

DOES GOD ANSWER SPECIF PRAYERS?

“All eyes look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:15-16 HCSB)

The distinction between coincidence and God’s activity in your life is important because it will affect your ability to thank God for the many things he provides. If you think in terms of coincidence as opposed to God’s activity in your life, you will miss the truth that God is providing for your every need.

Let me give you an example of one way God deepened my faith in this area. Because I have bipolar II disorder and also live alone, my doctor encouraged me to get a dog. Feeding and walking a dog helps build structure and routine into the day. But I was at a place in my life where I wasn’t sure I could afford a dog, especially the shots and veterinarian visits that would be required.

But I went ahead and asked God to provide me with a dog. I love dogs and have had several, so I was specific in my prayer. “Father, I am grateful for what you can provide but this is what I’d like:

One that is hypoallergenic, because I am allergic to dogs that shed. I’d really like a cockapoo — a cross between a cocker spaniel and poodle.

One that is older and already trained.

One that is female, because my last dog was a very territorial male.

One that is around 30 pounds.

One that I can afford to keep.”

I found a rescue dog that seemed to fit my criteria at a place just around the corner from my house. But, when I walked the dog around for a while, there just didn’t seem to be a connection. When I brought the dog back in to the rescue centre, the woman at the front desk asked, “What are you looking for?”

I said, “I really was hoping to find a cockapoo.”

She said there was someone who had recently called about a cockapoo. She gave me a card and said, “Give this woman a call and see if she has the right dog for you.”

I called Laura West, who owned Pumpkin, a 4-year-old female cockapoo who weighed around 30 pounds and was current on all her shots. When I asked her how much she wanted for Pumpkin, she said, “I just want her to have a good home!”

I told Laura how I’d prayed specifically for this dog. Was it a coincidence that I just happened to walk into the rescue looking for a dog at the same time Laura, who is also a believer, had called the rescue about Pumpkin?

I think Pumpkin is my God dog, and so I can say with confidence that God is working to meet your needs as well. Thank God, from whom all blessings flow!

TALK ABOUT IT

What is a way God has provided for you this past year?

What are the things for which you have to be thankful?

 

points to ponder

Rev. E. Anderson

DIVINE CAPABILITY

Only God can turn a MESS into a MESSage, a TEST into a TESTimony, a TRIal into a TRIumph, a VICTim into a VICTor, GOD is GOOD … all the time!

 

 

pastor’s weekly thought

Rev. Ian Williams
STAMP OF APPROVAL!

The disciples, having been empowered by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost could not contain the Message of the gospel of Jesus and wherever they went it spilled out of them!

Some people received the Message gladly but others, in their rejection of the Message reacted with violence towards those early Christians resulting in the horrific stoning to death of Stephen (Acts 7) Acts 8 records “That set off a terrific persecution of the church in Jerusalem” causing the believers to be scattered throughout the province.

Acts 11 describes how those who had been scattered, despite the continued persecution, persisted in speaking of Jesus to their fellow Jews and then took a huge risk and began to share the Gospel with non-Jews (Gentiles). This step would have further jeopardised their safety as it went against every cultural/religious norm of acceptable behaviour!

I love the response recorded in Acts 11 v 21 “God was pleased with what they were doing and put His stamp of approval on it!”

As we step out, even in the face of ridicule and persecution, determined to live out the Message of Jesus in our words and actions, God’s response is always His Stamp of Approval; which opens doors that are tightly locked, makes a way where there is no way and fades the “persecution” into insignificance.

Let’s have open hearts and minds as we enter God’s house this Sunday, prepared to be stirred and challenged by our responsibility of being and doing the Message of Jesus in our world.

past illustrious men / ministries

John Knox (c. 1514 – 24 November 1572)

He was a Scottish clergyman and a leader of the Protestant Reformation who brought reformation to the church in Scotland. He was educated at the University of St Andrews or possibly the University of Glasgow and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1536. Influenced by early church reformers such as George Wishart, he joined the movement to reform the Scottish church. He was caught up in the ecclesiastical and political events that involved the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 and the intervention of the regent of Scotland, Mary of Guise. He was taken prisoner by French forces the following year and exiled to England on his release in 1549.

While in exile, The Rev. John Knox was licensed to work in the Church of England, where he quickly rose in the ranks to serve King Edward VI of England as a royal chaplain. In this position, he exerted a reforming influence on the text of the Book of Common Prayer. In England he met and married his first wife, Marjorie. When Mary Tudor ascended the throne and re-established Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country. 

Knox first moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt. In Geneva he met John Calvin, from whom he gained experience and knowledge of Reformed theology and Presbyterian polity. He created a new order of service, which was eventually adopted by the reformed church in Scotland. He left Geneva to head the English refugee church in Frankfurt but he was forced to leave over differences concerning the liturgy, thus ending his association with the Church of England.

On his return to Scotland he led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Protestant nobility. The movement may be seen as a revolution, since it led to the ousting of Mary of Guise, who governed the country in the name of her young daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. Knox helped write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church, the Kirk. He continued to serve as the religious leader of the Protestants throughout Mary’s reign. In several interviews with the Queen, Knox admonished her for supporting Catholic practices. Eventually, when she was imprisoned for her alleged role in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley, and King James VI enthroned in her stead, he openly called for her execution. He continued to preach until his final days.

news and views

Ian Squire

OPTICIAN PLANS TO HELP PEOPLE IN AFRICA

My Focus is to Help Give vision to Poor

A BRITISH optician who found God on an Australian beach has a vision for providing glasses for the poor in Africa.

Ian Squire, who has his own business in Middlesex, runs Mission For Vision, a Christian charity that has worked in Uganda, Ghana and Mo­zambique.

Ian, now 52, was hitchhiking Down Under when a car screeched to a halt and the driver told him to get in.

He said: “He told me he was about to drive past, but God had told him to stop and pick me up.

“He was on his way to church and soon I was surrounded by Christians saying I needed to believe in Jesus.

“I argued for hours but there was no doubting the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

“I felt I needed to escape, so they gave me a Bible and off I went. I re­member saying to God, ‘I’ll give you two weeks to reveal yourself through the Bible and if nothing happens I’ll know it’s untrue.'”

Ian continued hitchhiking across Australia but found himself glued to his Bible. “I ended up in a very remote area and built a huge fire. That night God met with me and I knew I had to stop living my life my way.”

After reaching a beach one night, Ian knew he had to make a decision.

“I saw a man sitting on a rock. I was compelled to talk to him and he immediately told how Christ had changed his life. I believed in my heart and confessed with my mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Immediately after his turnaround, Ian felt a ‘calling’ from God that he would travel the nations to preach the gospel.

After returning to the UK, he opened an opticians in Shepperton and he launched Mission For Vision in 2003.

Ian, who travels overseas twice a year, added: “The mission uses op-tometry as a platform from which to preach die gospel.

We provide glasses and fund cataract operations as well organise pastor’s conferences.

“We have been asked to help with setting up two Christian vision centres in Nigeria and The Congo and are currently developing a training programme to teach basic sight testing skills and glazing for supplying spectacles.

 

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