Archive for 2013

The Double-Minded Man

“But when Pharaoh saw that he had been given some relief, he made himself hardhearted and would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said would happen” (Exodus 8:15).  

Recently as I was studying in the book of Exodus about the plagues that came upon Egypt, it became clear to me through each judgment that Pharaoh was a double minded man.   Though he  would feign repentance and ask Moses to intercede to Yahweh for his sins, his response to God’s mercy (relenting) was a more hardened heart and a greater disdain for the people of Israel.     No matter how many times Yahweh revealed his power and authority over Pharaoh, his gods and the land of Egypt,  Pharaoh refused to deny his gods, his own self-deity, and let Yahweh’s people go.  He was a liar, unstable in all his ways, and played dangerous games with God.  He was a double-minded man.

It is mostly during the holiday seasons that I struggle with double-minded people like Pharaoh;  men and women who say they honor the Lord, but then choose ‘other gods’ ways to express it to Him.  Many do not understand God’s aversion to their expressions because they really don’t study Scripture in its entirety.  Some believe that what happened with Pharaoh has no relevance on their relationship to God or they choose to ignore the offensive in order to keep the status quo in their lives, in their church,  and with their families.    During the days, weeks and seasons when well-meaning Christians fight with religious fervor for their holidays, celebrations which stand in direct opposition to God and His Word, I experience spiritual oppression and a deep sadness within my soul – maybe even the same soul sickness that Moses felt when he knew that even if “he spread out his hands in prayer to the Lord, stopping the thunder and hail so that Pharaoh would know that the earth is Yahweh’s, Pharaoh and his people would still not fear Him.”

Please understand, I have no desire to judge anyone and how they live for the Lord, but the Spirit of Yahweh is so alive in me that at times I can sense His pain as His Spirit of conviction is denied, neglected, twisted or ignored – the way that Pharaoh responded to the authority of God.   I can feel  the sadness of Yeshua when those who say they know Him,  honor death for a few  weeks in October then turn around eight weeks later in winter to celebrate a birthday for the ‘light of the world’.   Even without any knowledge of the  unBiblical roots of these two festivals, there is a double-mindedness that stands in direct opposition to each other.

Then, of course there is the celebration of the birth of Yeshua and His resurrection on days which have nothing to do with Him and cannot be found anywhere in the Scriptures except where there are warnings to not do ‘as the nations’ or ‘do not follow other gods’.    Though believers seek to have their spiritual thirst quenched and honor they God they proclaim, they fall victim to the ways of the world and the deceptions of the adversary rather than being victorious through the Spirit and the Truth.  This is what happened to Pharaoh and people of Egypt until they were given a final choice between the blood of the lamb or death of their firstborn.  They could not be double-minded or mix the two, they had to choose.

The Double Minded Man

The Greek word dipsuchos is translated double minded man.  The word literally means a person with two minds or souls.   It describes a person who lives a life of inconsistency and contradiction – saying one thing and doing another.

James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” 

God’s ways and the ways of this world are polar opposites, black and white and do not include shades of gray.   One cannot love God and this world at the same time.   If a person loves God and His Ways, they will hear His voice and be called out from the world’s ways  to live a life separated to Him.  This is true holiness, true sanctification.   If one loves the world, they will have nothing to do with the ways of God and that’s okay.   God calls that lifestyle wickedness and there are and always will be wicked people.

“I am Yahweh; that is my name. I yield my glory to no one else, nor my praise to any idol” (Isaiah 42:8).

The double-minded man is different from either of these.   He tries to take the ways of the world and make them holy, sanctified, and spiritual.  This is not okay.  This behavior is taking on the attitude and character of a god emulating great pride and arrogance.   This is detestable to Yahweh and what happened with the Israelites and the golden calf in the wilderness.  They  made a calf of god (in the image of Apis, a god of Egypt) and then worshipped the God of Israel with it.   These mixed religious festivities were and still are unacceptable worship to Yahweh Elohim.  Yahweh is a jealous God and He will not share his worship and glory with an idol or other god, including us when we try to redeem profane and pagan observances.

Many believers today don’t see or don’t care to admit their double-mindedness, or they rationalize it with cutesy cultural quips with a spiritually unBiblical twist.    They think that God doesn’t care about their abhorrent practices because Jesus died on the cross for them.  What they seem to have forgotten is,  BECAUSE of their abhorrent practices, their sinfulness, and their complete separation from God,  Yeshua needed to die on the cross to reconcile them back to their Creator.

Others  believe and say  they are  nourishing their souls and spirit by covering their worldly secular activities and all its trappings with the blood of the lamb.  I personally would call this ‘trampling underfoot the Son of God and treating as common the blood of the covenant (Heb. 10:29).

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how you or I or anyone else views the double-mindedness of  idolatry and pagan traditions.  However, if someone says they love and  serve  the Holy One, salvation, Yeshua (even Jesus)  who gave his life for them, they should care how he views their divided minds, hearts, and souls.

When looking through the Scriptures for double-mindedness,  I came across Psalm 119:113, “I hate double-minded people, but I love your Torah.”  It seems that double-mindedness and Torah are in direct opposition.  In other words, if a person doesn’t live a life of faith founded on the teachings and instructions of God (the OT included as well), they become a double-minded person.  Like King David, who wrote this Psalm, I can honestly say, “I have a passionate dislike for double-minded people.”

Now I know that there are those who would judge me for being a ‘hater’, but I’m in good company.  King David was a hater and Yahweh is also a hater.  If you don’t believe me, read Proverbs 6:16-19.  There are six things that God hates: a prideful look, a lying tongue, a hand that sheds innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, those who are quick to do evil,  a false witness, and a person who creates strife among brothers.

The one in the list that sticks out to me is the ‘false witness’.  A false witness is a witness who doesn’t speak the Truth or combines the Truth with some little white lies falsifying the truth.   (False witnesses got Stephen stoned, Acts 7:13).  When we combine our testimony of Messiah with the world and its unBiblical ways, we bear a false witness to that same world of our salvation.     When we embrace cleverly created stories and embrace myths that corrupt Scriptures, we bear false witness to the Truth, the Word of God.   And, who do we think came up with these unBiblical celebrations and clever little stories that mix the Truth with lies?  I’m going to take a wild guess and say, the father of lies (Jn. 8:44)?

Yeshua speaks in Matthew 6:24 about the double-minded man. He is in a love/hate relationship with two masters.  “Yeshua says,  No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first…”  

It is interesting when I think about the different reactions of  individuals when they learn that we celebrate the Biblical Feasts.  Unbelievers are open, thoughtful and respectful, and ask intelligent questions.  Most unbelievers are aware of pagan roots of the holidays and are quite content celebrating them in their unholy ways.  That is okay.  They don’t claim to be followers of Messiah.

Believers, on the other hand have divided reactions.   Some are actually repulsed by the things of God because they consider Old Testament activities ‘legalism’.  Though they may realize that Yeshua only had the Old Testament from which to teach, somehow the New Testament nullifies more than half of the books of the Bible.   We who have embraced those ‘nullified’ Words from mouth of the Lord are legalists or lost.  Enjoining ourselves to God’s Holy Days is ‘against the law.’

Other believers are intrigued and cannot disagree with Truth being presented.  They act like they have an  interest in learning about the Biblical Feasts and seem convicted until, surprise! –  a feast arrives.   Then, they are too busy to stop their worldly, and in most cases church,  activities to attend a banquet of the King.  They continue on with their traditional unBiblical celebrations while seeking out conferences in hope of  spiritual nourishment.   Few ever consider that Yahweh has set a cycle of  ‘appointed times’ to meet with His people, to draw close to them, to reveal more of Himself to them and fill them with blessings of life and spiritual abundance.

Revelation 3:15-16 “I know what you are doing: you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other!   So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth!”

Yeshua prophesies against the double-minded man who mixes the holy and the profane, the spiritual with the secular, the Truth with the lie.  He calls it being hot, cold, or lukewarm.  He vomits  lukewarm people out of his mouth.    So, for me to feel sick over those who are double-minded, mixing the holy and the profane, is no different than the nauseous Messiah.

James 1:7-8 “Indeed that person should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord,  because he is double-minded, unstable in all his ways. Indeed that person should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord,  because he is double-minded, unstable in all his ways.”

According to James, the double-minded man is unstable. This unstable man, like Pharaoh,  will not receive anything from the Lord.  Anything!   This is a serious consequence as ‘anything’ would include answered prayers.  While Yeshua says, ‘ask and you shall receive,’  James says that a man with two souls, a double mind, will not receive anything.

Another word of Truth regarding unanswered prayer is Proverbs 28:9.  “If a person will not listen to Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.” The first Proverb stated that a double-minded man lives contrary to Torah.  Now, that same man who has a deaf ear when it comes to the teachings and instructions of Yahweh has detestable prayers.  Double-mindedness has serious ramifications no matter what rational defense a man gives for his dual souls.

James 4:8 “Come close to God, and he will come close to you. Clean your hands, sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded people!”

James not only points out the problem of double-mindedness, he also offer a solution.    It is a difficult solution for those who don’t like Biblical solutions.  It’s also a difficult solution for those who believe that “Jesus did it all on the cross” and they are so under grace that they have no need for ‘working out their salvation with fear and trembling.’  It is also a difficult solution for those who like their traditions, their church comfort zones, their warm fuzzies, and their own book of Second Opinion.    However, as difficult as the solution is, it is THE ONLY solution.

Double-minded people need to come close to God so that He comes close to them.  Double-minded people have to make the initial move toward God because He already ‘first loved us.’   The first commandment says that God’s people are not to have any other gods before Him which is the first move.   In order to eliminate other gods from a walk of faith in the God of Israel, it is necessary to know and understand first, that there ARE other gods.  Then it’s important to learn the names and commemorations of those other gods  and repent from embracing them either in ignorance or arrogance.   The Bible is full of discourses about specific other gods (Tammuz, Ashtoreth, Hades, Queen of Heaven)  if one takes seriously the Words of Truth written for us.   As one draws nearer to God and learns  and worships according to His prescribed ways,  other gods and goddesses will diminish in power and have less and less importance in a set apart life.

Then, it’s time to wash our hands of them.   Washing hands implies to completely remove them from our lives so there is nothing separating us from that close relationship with our Father.  Washing hands lets everyone know ‘I am finished with this stuff.’

Just as important, James says that those who are entangled with other gods and their observances need to purify their hearts from double-mindedness. In Hebrew, purify is לטהר lathere and is active intensive.  It communicates the idea of causing something to go from unclean,  and sometimes shameful to spiritually and physically pure.   Almost every  instance the word ‘purify’ occurs in Scripture, it is something that individuals do for themselves.

1 Peter 1:22  “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have a sincere love for your brothers, love each other deeply, with all your heart.”

Peter explains that purification comes from ‘obeying the truth’  or living in obedience to the commands.  It’s not enough to just believe the Truth, a person needs to ‘obey the truth’.  Only then will a person have a sincere love for another because they have obeyed God and His Word, first (the first and greatest commandment).   Paul further explains what we must purify ourselves from:  everything that defiles our body or spirit.

1 Corinthians 7:1 “Therefore, my dear friends, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit, and strive to be completely holy, out of reverence for God.”

Once purified, the new single-minded man ascends the mountain of the Lord and stands in the holy, set apart place before Yahweh Almighty.  He has clean hands and a pure heart.  He doesn’t have idols or speak of false gods.  He is no longer conforming to this world, but transformed by the renewing of his mind (Rom. 12:1).   He has one heart, one purpose and one common love (Phil 2:1-2).  He equips God’s people for service, building the Body into maturity and unity of faith so they are no longer double-minded infants being tossed about by the waves and blown by every wind of teaching, at the mercy of clever people who devise ways to deceive and miss the mark (sin) as far as the Truth is concerned (Eph. 4:12-14, 2 Tim. 2:15-18).

Psalm 24:4-6 “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.  They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.”

Double-mindedness, two souls, two masters, mixing holy and profane. This person limps  between two divided opinions, without the teachings and instructions of God.  This unstable man receives nothing from the Lord, including answered prayers, blessings and eternal rewards.   This lukewarm believer, that makes no choice, takes no stand,  will be vomited out of Yeshua’s mouth.

Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you  limp on the two divided opinions? If the Yahweh is God, follow Him! But if Ba’al, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word” (1 King 18:21 NAS).

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries

Jeremiah and Modern Grace

I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah, my personal favorite prophet.  When I read Jeremiah 7:8-10, I stopped.  I re-read the verses several times until I heard the voice of the Lord ask, ‘How does this compare to the modern grace doctrine you are always hearing about?’

I began writing down the different arguments people have presented me or my family over the the years to try to discourage us from our Biblically based, faith brings action lifestyle.  The list went on and on, but mostly the arguments were about the law and the feasts. When I had compiled my little list, I wrote out Jeremiah 7:8-10 and compared the words of men to the Word of God.

Words of Men:

I’m free from the law.  I am not under the law, I’m under grace.     I can never do everything in the law, it’s impossible.  God knew his laws were impossible to keep.  The law was given to only point out our sin and need for Jesus.   Don’t you know about the Galatian error?  We are not saved by the law, only grace.   Because you think you have to keep God’s law, you are going to burn in hell for your distortion of grace.   God doesn’t care if we keep the 10 Commandments or not. All of our works are like filthy rags.  He looks at my heart.  Once I’m saved, I’m always saved.  I don’t celebrate other gods.  I know that Jesus probably wasn’t born at Christmas, but that’s when we celebrate his birthday.   He’s the reason for the season.  I know that Sunday isn’t the Sabbath; I go to church on Sunday because I want to celebrate the resurrection every week.   I also celebrate Easter as the resurrection ,too.  And, we do eat ham because we are free to eat all foods. Jesus set us free from the law therefore I am free from the law.

Jeremiah 7:8-10 (Various Versions)

“Look! You are relying on deceitful words that can’t do you any good.  First you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, offer to Ba‘al and go after other gods that you haven’t known. Then you come and stand before me in this house that bears my name (Yahweh)  and say, ‘We are saved (yeshuat)’ — so that you can go on doing these abominations!” (Complete Jewish Bible)

“Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot benefit [so that you do not profit]. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, And [then dare to] come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name (Yahweh), and say, [By the discharge of this religious formality] we are set free (Jesus)!—only to go on with this wickedness and these abominations?”  (Amplified Bible)

“Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name (Yahweh), and say, ‘We are delivered (yeshuat)!’—that you may do all these abominations?” (New American Standard)

“But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.  “‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known,  and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name (Yahweh), and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?” (New International Version)

So many other thoughts came to my mind after writing down these two views of God.    From man’s point of view, God loves them so much and sent His Son that He no longer cares what they do.  The teachings and instructions (Torah/Law) have become null and void, pointless, purposeless AFTER we are saved.  However, from God’s point of view, what man does apart from His Law while claiming his salvation (Yeshua) is an abomination.  This isn’t about ‘we all still sin’, this is about separating ourselves from God’s commands, teachings and instructions, and then continuing to do the same things we were ‘saved from’ our ‘out of’.

As I read Jeremiah 7 again, I grieved for all those believers who are literally spiritually separated from the very One they claim loves them unconditionally.   I hear and see their struggles, their identity crisis’.  They pray.  They don’t hear his voice.  They read the Word, but they don’t see His commandments as for them in this day and time.   They attend worship services, but don’t feel his presence or meet him face to face.  By not reciprocating the love that He so freely gives us through Yeshua, in the way that our heavenly Father asks, the relationship is only one-sided, and the power to overcome sin?  Sin remains in power.

A few Scriptures came into my mind as I considered God’s view of prayer, His Word, and a relationship with Him.

Proverbs 28:9  “If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction (law, Torah), even their prayers are detestable.”

John 14:23 “Yeshua replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.”

1 John 3:19-24 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Messiah Yeshua, and to love one another as he commanded us.  The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”

John 16:8-11 “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;  concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;  and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

1 John 3:7-8 “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”

Needless to say, I kept reading in Jeremiah and stopped  to consider the Queen of Heaven in Jeremiah 7:18.  Then, I stopped again at Jeremiah 10.

1 John 5:21 “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.”

At Jeremiah 20:9, I stopped again and remembered why I began writing this blog so many years ago.  Oh, Jeremiah ….

But if I say, “I won’t think about Him, I won’t speak in His Name any more,” then it seems as though a fire is burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I wear myself out trying to hold it in, but I just can’t do it.”

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries

November 21, 2012 – A Chat about Voodoo

Recently I had lunch with a woman who shared with me that she makes and uses voodoo dolls.  She explained that she believed because people have inherent powerful energy within their minds, they can transfer this energy to others through objects such as dolls.  I listened politely to her tell me how one time she attacked her husband by poking a doll in the knees.  For weeks he had knee pain and couldn’t walk.  She had not intended for it to be so debilitating and was somewhat shocked with the intense consequences, but did not regret what she had done.

When she was finished, I explained that she was not using mental energy, but demonic spirits.  She listened as I described the origination of these disembodied spirits as being the remnants of the Nephillim from the time of Noah’s flood.  I further explained that these spirits have power and want to control people.  I revealed to her that we can have victory over these demonic spirits only through Yeshua, the Living God.  I told her  that I had written a book about spiritual warfare, something she had never heard of and she asked where to get it. Though she didn’t renounce her practices and I’m pretty sure she won’t, she admitted she had never thought about demonic spirits being involved in her practices.  This woman is not a follower of Yeshua, but I believe she is no different than those who call themselves believers, but do not understand the power of the demonic realm and how it infiltrates even our most cherished doctrines and traditions.

©2012 Tent Stake Ministries

The Sons of Israel

When studying Genesis 29 and 30 for Parashah 7,  I decided to look at the Hebrew letters and word pictures for names Jacob/Israel, Rachel, Leah and the 13 children (12 sons and one daughter) written about.  What I found was really fascinating as the word pictures brought to life the message of salvation through a shepherd, life, door, binding, nails, and a finished work.

The Twelve Sons of Jacob, the father

Jacob (Supplanter) – Hebrew,  Ya’akov or יעקב

Yod, Ayin, Kof, Bet – ‘seen as the least in the house’

Israel (Overcomer) – Hebrew, Yisra’el or ישראל

Yod, Shin, Resh, Alef, Lamed – ‘hand destroys the first shepherd’

 

Rachel and Leah, the Mothers

Rachel (Ewe, female sheep)  Hebrew, Rachel or רחל

Resh, Chet, Lamed –  ‘head authority in the inner room’.

Leah (Weary or tired) –  Hebrew Leah or לאה

Lamed, Alef, Hey –  ‘behold the first strength’.

 

Leah gives birth to six sons and one daughter.

1. Reuben (See, a son!) – Hebrew, Reuven or ראובן

Resh, Alef, Vav, Bet, Nun – “head strength is secured to the house of life’

Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob.

 

2. Simeon (Hearing) – Hebrew, Shim’on or שמעון

The root is related to the word, Shema or Hear.

Shin, Mem, Ayin, Vav, Nun – “consume the chaos the eye ties to life”

 

3. Levi (Joining) – Hebrew, Levi or לוי

Lamed, Vav, Yod – “shepherd joined to the hand”

 

4. Judah (Praise) – Hebrew, Y’hudah or יהודה

Yod, Hey, Vav, Dalet, Hey – “behold the hand bound, behold the door”

 

9. Issachar (Hire, reward) – Hebrew Yissakhar or יששכר

Yod, Shin, Shin, Kaf, Resh – “hand consumes doubly, allowing head”

 

10. Zebulun (Living together) – Hebrew Z’vulun or זבולן

Zayin, Bet, Vav, Lamed, Nun – “house weapon that ties shepherd to life”

 

Daughter, Dinah (Controversy over rights) – Hebrew Dinah or דינה

Dalet, Yod, Nun, Hey – “finished work of the door (hand) behold life’

 

Bilhah, the maid of Rachel, gives birth to two sons.

5. Dan (Judged) – Hebrew, Dan or דן

Dalet, Nun – “door of life”

 

6. Naphtali (My wrestling) – Hebrew, Naftali or נפתלי

Nun, Peh, Tau, Lamed, Yod – “life flows from the mouth sign of the shepherd’s hand’.

 

Zilpah, the maid of Leah, gives birth to two sons.

7.  Gad (Good fortune) – Hebrew, Gad or גד

Gimel, Dalet – “raised up at the door”

 

8. Asher (Happy)- Hebrew, Asher or אשר

Alef, Shin, Resh – “first consumes the head”

 

Rachel, gives birth to two sons (one in this parashah; another in the next)

Mandrakes

The Hebrew word translated as mandrake is דודים (dudim) meaning ‘love plant’.  It is a Mediterranean herb (Mandragora officinarum) that includes some of the most poisonous plants such as nightshade, jimsonweed, tobacco and, paradoxically, some of the most common vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, green pepper, and eggplants.

The plant consists of several large, wrinkled, dark green leaves that lie flat upon the ground forming a rosette. In the center of this rosette a cluster of attractive purple flowers appears in the winter. The root of the mandrake may be several feet long and weigh several pounds. It has bizarre often human-like shapes and for this reason is highly regarded by the superstitious.  The root of a mandrake was used especially to promote conception, as a cathartic, or as a narcotic and soporific.   The mandrake often grows as a weed in wheat fields.

11.  Joseph  (May he add) – Hebrew, Yosef or יוסף

Yod, Vav, Samech, Peh – “hand ties and supports mouth (like a beginning river)”

 

12. Benjamin (son of the right hand), Hebrew Benyamin or בנימין

Bet, Nun, Yod, Mayim, Yod, Nun – “house of life is finished (closed hand), chaos of life is finished (closed hand)

Putting the word pictures of the children of Jacob all together:

The strength of the shepherd is secured to the House of Life.  It consumes the chaos that binds the eyes to life.   The shepherd is bound (by nails) the finished work.  Behold the finished work, the nails, the door, behold.  The door is life.  Life flows from the mouth (words), a sign of the shepherd’s finished work and raises up the pathway.  Strength consumes the head, but the hand allows the the finished work to be the weapon of destruction securing the shepherd to life.  The finished work supports the words.  The House of Life is finished; the chaos of life is finished.  Behold life, the finished work of the hand, the pathway.

©2013 jsixrock

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