Archive for the ‘The Ways of the Nations’ Category

Post-Halloween Reflections

Menorah“There are those who rebel against the light, who do not know its ways or stay in its paths” (Job 24:13).

I guess if it’s okay for my Christian friends to post their dark and evil Halloween pictures on Facebook and other places, it must be okay for me to wonder why they took part in the holiday at all.  It just doesn’t compute in ‘my renewed mind’  how one can say they believe in the resurrection of the dead because Jesus rose from the dead and then dress like dead people, zombies, skeletons.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

It makes no sense that anyone would want to redeem this wicked, lawless, holiday for Christ.  I just can’t wrap my brain around how anyone who claims to be a Christian justifies honoring a holiday that Jesus would never have done or condoned because of its darkness.  Jesus called us “out of the darkness into His glorious light” (1 Peter 2:9). 

Do Christians even shudder at the thought of demons they play with and dress like?  They must have forgotten that Jesus cast demons out of people who knew what it was like to be possessed.

“You believe that “God is one”? Good for you! The demons believe it too — the thought makes them shudder with fear!” (James 2:13). 

“So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons” (Mark 1:39). 

God used Halloween  to set me free from demonic things in my life by showing me demons hanging on people who were ‘harmlessly’ dressed up and unknowingly partying with their possessor on Halloween.  It was the most eye-opening moment in my life and changed my spiritual direction drastically.    Unfortunately, the gift of discerning spirits isn’t one of the more tolerated gifts in the Body of Christ because so many who are supposed to be holy to the Lord have embraced the world and rationalize their behavior with the world. 

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” (James 4:4).

Whether or not a Christian realizes it, they will stand before God one day and give an account of their lives.  They will have to explain to the King of Kings why they celebrated a holiday that mocked the Father and Creator of Life and His Son who died to bring them life (Romans 14:10). 

Kirk Cameron.  He is a man who has embraced the world and the things of the world, and then teaches others to do the same with arrogance and ignorance.  He has become a spokesman for idolatry and is far removed from the will and purpose of God. He doesn’t know the Scriptures; he twists them as the Adversary did in the wilderness.   More importantly, He doesn’t know the God of the Bible except how he has divined Him to be with some ‘feel good about yourself message.’  I can honestly say, “I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes on judgement day.”

I pray for those Christians I know who embrace the death celebration and its trappings through Halloween.  The burden on my soul and spirit becomes so great during this time of year.  It’s  exhausting and draining because I can literally see the evil.  Each year my prayer list gets longer because there is a great falling away.  Those who didn’t take part in the darkness just a few years ago are doing so now.  This year my prayers included an entire local church.   I hope that someday each person who I prayed for comes to understand the darkness they have embraced and how the Light of the World continues to shine in the darkness calling them out.  

A friend posted a Scripture from Revelation 22:11-12 and it seems appropriate to conclude my post-Halloween thoughts.  

“Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done.”

©November 2014 Tent Stake Ministries

Chrismas is Yours, Not Mine and They’re Okay

I wrote this five years ago, but again this year had a discussion with one of my children about gifts at Christmas.  Once again, family and friends struggle with the idea that we do not celebrate this holiday nor do we buy or receive presents.  A few relatives have accepted our decision and instead send their gifts at Hanukkah.  Others insist that everyone NEEDS Christmas presents.  Well, we don’t.

Christmas is not our holiday.  It just isn’t.  It hasn’t been for nearly 30 years.  It’s just that simple.   Every year when one of my adult children says to someone who celebrates Christmas that they don’t, they are invariably asked, “How has that affected you?” making them feel like they have been deprived of something grandiose or that their parents are mean green ogres.

This year has been interesting to listen to their responses.   One said they ‘love’ this time of year because they don’t have to be stressed out like everyone they know trying to buy gifts, getting them wrapped and attending parties.  Another said she has LOVED wrapping gifts at her job knowing she’s helping relieve some of the stress of those who do celebrate!?  Another one said, they’ve never really thought about what they missed because there’s nothing to miss.  The discussion drifted into the conversations they have had with people and not one person ever  mentioned a spiritual connection to the holiday – not one.  And, we live in a town where there’s a church on every corner!

Though I know everyone I saw yesterday meant well when they wished me, “A Merry Christmas,” I wonder, however, what they thought when I said, “YOU have a Merry Christmas, our family does not celebrate.”  From their silence, they were dumbfounded.  They were probably thinking,  ‘Who would be so humbug as to not celebrate this holiday of cheer?’  But then, “How has not celebrating Christmas affected the Jews?”

We have never felt comfortable about lying especially to our children about a hopping rabbit that lays chocolate eggs, the little lady with fluttering wings who steals from them while they sleep or the jolly man from the north pole who flies a sleigh through the sky led by eight wingless mammals with antlers.  Really?  He comes down the chimney?  We don’t even have one!

More than feeling uncomfortable, we realized we would begin a cycle of lying.  With the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus, we would be subtly teaching our children when they grew up and realized that they’ve all been a make-believe sham, they would begin to question our authority in knowing truth.  As parents, we wanted to set an example – a lifetime example.

The most important Truth to us is our faith in the God of Israel and the birth, life, death, resurrection and soon return of Yeshua.  To think that someday our children would doubt Yeshua as the Savior of the world and his Lordship in their lives because we fabricated cutesy games about other beings they couldn’t see, feel, touch, or hear was just not worth the price of their eternal life.   Lies are lies.  Not bearing a false witness IS a commandment.  There was someone other than their mommy and daddy that could claim the ‘father of lies,’ but not us.

Some  may not include Santa and his reindeer in their holiday festivities because they honestly do want to honor the time as Jesus’ birthday.  We also don’t celebrate Yeshua’s  birthday at this time of year.  At one time we did, but then learned that is another lie based on the lie that ‘we don’t know when he was born.’  When we were made aware of the timing of the Messiah’s birth through Scripture, we were honest with our first two children (4 and 2 at the time – now 29 and 31) about our own deception.  We repented and also removed that lie from our lives.   Christmas is not our holiday.   It may be yours and our children are okay.

Back to the original question from a different perspective, “How has not celebrating Hanukkah, Passover or Feast of Tabernacles affected your children, spiritually?”

©2013 Tentstake Ministries

Christmas Myths

“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions” (Mark 7:8).

Quotes from well-meaning believers compared to the Word of God.

Meaning of Christmas Tree

“First of all, the fir tree is an evergreen–it does not die or fade away or lose its needles in the winter. In this sense it has soon come to represent the immortality of the resurrected Christ.

“The lights in the Christmas tree also have a deeper meaning. Originally the lights used were candles, of course.  The candles too were meant to symbolize Christ, specifically his self-giving love and gift of life to us. As many of us know, the candle provides light and warmth as it consumes its own substance, the wax. So, too, did Jesus give of his own substance–his life–so that we might find divine light. And when we have found divine light for ourselves, we too are enabled through the power of the Holy Spirit to give of ourselves to others. After all, Christmas is the feast of love, where we share gifts with each other as Christ shared the gift of life with us.

Compare to Jeremiah 10:1-5

“Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is a tree cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. “They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good.”

Meaning of the Candy Cane

“The most obvious symbolism used in the candy cane is its shape. Turned one way, it looks like a “J” for Jesus. The newborn Lamb of God was named Jesus, meaning Savior, because He was destined to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Turned the other way, candy canes remind us of the shepherd’s staff. The first people to hear of Christ’s birth were shepherds guarding their flocks at night (Luke 2:8-20). Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd and the Bible frequently compares the actions of the Messiah to those of a shepherd searching for his lost sheep, feeding them, gently leading them, and carrying them in his bosom (Psalm 23; John 10:1-18; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 31:10; Micah 5:4; Hebrews 13:20).”

Compare to Matthew 1:21 where the name of the Messiah is not Jesus, but Yeshua, meaning ‘salvation.’  There is no “J” in the Hebrew language.

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua, [which means ‘Yahweh saves,’] because he will save his people from their sins.”

“The sweetness of the candy reminds us that we are fed on the sweet milk of the Gospel of our salvation and peace (Ephesians 1:13; 6:15).”

Compare to Psalm 19:9-11

“The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”

Though the foundation of faith is called the ‘milk of the Word’ in Hebrews, it is not called ‘sweet milk‘ and we are to grow into maturity eating the ‘meat of the word’.    The Word of God, the commandments of God are that meat and are sweet. The decrees of God are compared to honey from the honeycomb, not candy.

The hardness of the candy reminds us that Jesus is our rock of refuge (Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 18; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 22:32, 47; 23:3; Psalm 18:2, 31; 28:1; 92:15; 94:22; 95:1; Isaiah 44:8). In rocky lands like Israel, people often sought shelter from their enemies in the caves or rocky crags of cliffs. Rocks also remind us of the solidness of the promises of Christ who is a precious cornerstone and sure foundation to those who follow Him, but a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” to those who reject His gift of peace (1 Pet 2:6-8).

Compare to Zechariah 7:12

They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the Torah or to the words that Yahweh Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.”

Compare to Matthew 13:15

“For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’

Compare to Hebrew 3:7-9

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did.”

It would seem that the hardness of people’s hearts keep them from obeying the commandments and living according to the Words of the Spirit from the prophets.

If you want to continue reading about the candy cane, here is the link.  Make your own comparisons with the fabricated stories and the Scriptures regarding the colors of red and white in the candy and the flavor being compared to hyssop.

Santa Claus from Christianity Today

“But what if Christians embraced the Father Christmas myth while rejecting the materialism attached to it? Myths, after all, are time-honored methods of communicating truth through story, and the Santa Claus myth is no exception. (Please, don’t tell me his name is an anagram for Satan. Santa comes from the Latin sanctus, meaning holy or saint. Santa’s name likely evolved from a real person, Nicholas, a Christian man whose extreme generosity helped strangers.) I’d like to propose that teaching children about Santa Claus does not conflict with teaching them about Jesus. In fact, I propose that the Nativity story and the Santa myth may have more in common than we’re prone to believe.

Some stories, such as fables and parables, are not empirically true, but they are true in that they point to realities about God’s world and the human condition. Some stories are empirically true and also communicate this kind of truth. The Nativity story is a perfect example of the latter. The Santa Claus myth is a great example of the former. Santa Claus embodies Christian values such as kindness, generosity, forgiveness—every child soon realizes that even if they have not been perfect all year, Santa comes through. Santa brings gifts to children both deserving and undeserving. While Santa is not a Christ figure—that must be clear—the Santa myth is not the problem. The problem is that we have let advertisers hijack Santa, turning Christmas into a retail event.”

Compare with 1 Timothy 4:7 

“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.”

Compare with 2 Timothy 4:3-4

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Compare to Titus 1:14

“Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith  and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth.”

This is taught like this: As long as the myths and pagan practices can be Christian-ized, they are okay.  However, anything Jewish that may bring light to Biblical Truth is to be rejected.

©Tentstake Ministries

Yoga and “other gods”

Today I read an excellent article by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird about yoga and its relationship to Hinduism.  He is a very courageous man to step out and reveal the hidden agenda of yoga.

For years I have had similar beliefs and explained to my children, family and friends who consider yoga a wonderful exercise program that it’s roots are in demonic practices.  Of course, everyone rolls their eyes at me and considers me a nut case.

Like the man who wrote this article, I have the ‘unfortunate’ gift of discerning spirits.  Those of us in the Body of Messiah who have been given this gift have an ignored voice because of the great deception not only in the world, but also in the church.   No one wants to be told what they are doing has ‘spiritual roots’ let alone ‘evil spiritual roots’. Heck, they don’t even want to hear about things with Biblically holy roots!

The world only accepts spirituality and spiritual awareness apart from Bible.  The church believes that either nothing is inherently wrong because of Jesus or we can take unholy things and transform to be holy to God.   Because the Rev. Dr. Hird writes exactly what I have believed over the years,  I am going to share a few thoughts from his article.  If you are considering yoga classes or have already taken part in them, reading the entire article will be more informative than my personal observations.   All quotes come from the article written by Rev. Dr. Hird.

“We naively think that we can arrogantly detach anything from its heritage, and snatch its alleged benefits without any downside.”

This is the problem with Christianity today.  No one believes the roots or heritage of a practice has any influence on what they ‘think’ they are doing.  Because Sha’ul (Paul) said that ‘idols’ have no influence on us, it is deceptively believed we can embrace ‘other gods’ with no consequences.   However, Sha’ul also said, “If the root is holy, then so are the branches” (Romans 11:16).    This means that if the root is unholy and has its heritage in ‘other gods,’ then every branch that has emerged from that root is also unholy.

Though the Scriptures outline ‘appointed times’ to worship and honor yod-hey-vav-hey,  Christians are ignorant of their Biblical heritage.  They embrace holidays like Easter and Christmas that have unholy roots and honor other gods, holidays with activities the Bible warns against.   Well-meaning Christians claim they have detached the false gods from these holidays and put God into them.  They forget Yahweh’s first commandment is to have ‘no other gods.’   Just because Yeshua died on the cross and disarmed the powers and principalities, doesn’t mean that those powers and principalities don’t continue to exist.  They will until they are thrown into the lake of fire at the final judgment.

“Yoga is the Hindu word for salvation.”

This statement shocked me when I read it. Yoga is the Hindu word for salvation!  Every time the word yoga is spoken, the Hindu word for ‘salvation’ is announced.  Wow!  Selah.  Pause and reflect on this!  Yoga is the Hindu word for salvation.  How many Christians know the Hebrew word for salvation written in their Bibles?  How many Christians know the given Hebrew name of their Savior is Yeshua and means ‘salvation’?  Most don’t know and most likely don’t care as they go to their Hindu ‘salvation’ classes as faithfully as Sunday school.  In Exodus 23:13, God says the names of ‘other gods’ are not even supposed to be  on our lips.  Joshua is told never to invoke or swear by the names of other gods (Joshua 23:7).

“Yoga is the very heart of Hinduism.  Without yoga, there is no Hinduism.  Without Hinduism, there is no yoga.”

This is the fullness of a false religion with a salvation message that is expressed in an outward work disguised as  exercise.   As one practices yoga, they are actually validating Hinduism in their lives.  Being that yoga is the heart of Hinduism, what is happening to the heart of the individual who practices yoga?

From my experience with numerous Christians, if  I say I celebrate the Sabbath and don’t eat pork because I love God and want to obey His commandments,  I am called a legalist or told I have denied the work Yeshua did on the cross.  It doesn’t matter if I quote from John 14:15, “If you love me (Yeshua), you will obey my commandments,” or James 2:18, ‘Faith without works is dead’, I am the lost one who has stumbled into the bottomless pit of the Galatian error.   Yet, the person who goes to the rec center and takes Hindu ‘work out your salvation’ classes is just exercising!

“The term ‘yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yug’, which means to yoke.  Few people in community centre yoga classes ask what they are yoking themselves to.  Yogic practice is designed to yoke or bring psychic union with Brahman, the highest of the Hindu deities.”

When I read this statement, I immediately thought of Yeshua’s yoke being light and not a burden (Matthew 11:28-30). In rabbinical thought, a ‘yoke’ is following the teachings of a certain rabbi.  In the case of the Jewish Rabbi Yeshua,  his ‘yoke’ is the Torah or the instructions of Yahweh, his Father.   If yoga is the heart of Hinduism and comes from a word meaning ‘yoke,’ to what are those doing yoga yoking themselves?  Most Christians would never ever consider ‘yoking’ themselves to Torah because that would be legalism, but yoking themselves to Hinduism through exercise is okay.   They really aren’t consciously trying to have a psychic union with Brahman, the highest of Hindu deities, which is no different than celebrating Ishar or Saturnalia!

I love when people say, “Well, God looks at my heart.”  Yes, He does, and that should be more frightening than comforting.   He knows exactly what’s in your heart.  He knows how you feel about His Torah.  He knows about your arrogance over His chosen people.  He knows about how ignorant you are about Yeshua’s ‘easy yoke.’

“Unlike Christian prayer and meditation on God’s Word, the purpose of Eastern yogic meditational practices is to ‘kill the mind’.

Through the Beatles infatuation with eastern religious practices, yoga infiltrated the western world.  Because Americans have the right to ‘freedom of religion,’  this religious practice has  flourished.  Love is not sacrificial as God’s love, but an ‘all you need is humanistic love’ that feels good.   ‘Imagine there is no heaven or God’  is still the enlightened one’s mantra for some manmade utopia that sin-infested people will never be able to attain.  Our post-modern world tolerates religious cultures and beliefs to such an extent there is no purity of any religion.  The merging of all religions into one lump of spiritual awareness has ‘killed the mind’ of the masses rather than ‘renewed the mind’ through the real Spirit of life Romans 12:2).  There is little to no connection to a Creator because they, themselves have become gods and create their own spiritual universe with each individual at its center.  This is more than polytheism, it is self-worship and idolatry at its pinnacle.

“While yogic philosophy is polytheistic, it is also monistic, in the sense that it holds that, through yoga, we become the universe and/or god.”

My brother was born again into God’s Kingdom quite a few years ago.  My brother’s faith walk was nothing short of amazing.  The Scriptures he knew as a child came to life and the Spirit gave him immediate understanding.  He felt his heart become circumcised and joy bubbled out of a new light in his eyes and countenance.  He made restitution for numerous things from years before and enjoyed restoration of many broken friendships.  His girlfriend immediately ended their relationship because she had an occult bent and wanted nothing to do with a ‘Jesus freak.’   Then, he met another woman.

He was excited about her because she was ‘spiritual’ like he was.  Unfortunately, her spirituality was embedded in Hinduism as she was a yoga instructor.  Because my brother was still a baby believer and he didn’t want me to judge another of his girlfriends (every time I was right), he not only continued dating this woman, but he began to take part in yoga practices.  He bought a mat, learned the many positions. Though he claimed it helped residual pain from a horrific car accident years earlier, it was really changing his life – his spiritual walk.

Slowly, his demeanor changed.  The light in his eyes wasn’t as bright and a different ‘spirit’ began guiding him that caused confusion in his soul and mind.  Though he really liked this woman because of her ‘spirituality,’ she kept him at an uncomfortable distance. She intentionally used words with double meanings (semantics is definitely important) and secrecy to make her spirituality seem to be like his, but enough different that he needed to keep striving for more ‘light and peace.’   Though my brother could not see it, he slowly fell into a deception that still remains with him today.  It will remain with him until he discerns the ‘spirits’ around her and took hold of him are not the same as the Spirit that was given to him by Yeshua.  The ‘light and peace’ from the Spirit of Elohim is now hidden under a bushel barrel.

“With yoga and Hinduism, nothing is what it seems.  This is why it has been described as the embrace that smothers. Trying to separate the so-called physical from the spiritual in yoga is like attempting to remove arsenic from a bowl of sugar.  Yoga has always been shrouded in illusion and secrecy, and can intentionally look like whatever you want it to in the short term.”

Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic practice or ritual.  Divination is condemned by God in Leviticus 19:26.  King Saul, when he disobeyed God’s command to destroy the Amalekites,  was told by the prophet Samuel that his rebellion was like the sin of divination and his arrogance like idolatry.  His rejection of the word of God and his disobedience made him lose his kingship over Isra’el (1 Samuel 15:23). Rejecting God’s Word is the same as idolatry and divination.  As believers, we should flee from these things rather than try to rationalize our disobedience.   We can lose the Kingdom just because we want to embrace our yoga-salvation exercises.

“Yoga is an ancient form of divination…. The Bible does not encourage us to see how close to the line we can get before we fall in, but rather to flee idolatry.”  

Soon after we were married, my husband and I attended a conference with Dave Hunt, the author of  “The Seduction of Christianity.”  During that conference he spoke about the mantras given to those involved in Transcendental Meditation.  He said there were only 7 or 10 because they are literally the names of Hindu gods.  Inductees were told not  to share their mantra with anyone else –  because they would  find out that 1 in 7 had their same mantra.  He said once you had your mantra, you would perform this ceremony with a white table cloth and an apple.  While he was speaking about all of this, my husband leans over and whispers in my ear, “I did all of this.”

I responded, “What?”

He repeated, “I did all of this.”

When we returned home, I asked him what he was talking about.  He had, at one time, become involved in TM.  He received his mantra and offered his sacrificial apple on the white-table clothed altar.  He had no idea his mantra was a ‘god,’  but he did forget it and had to get another.  The yogi-dude was angry with him for forgetting.  I asked him if he remembered the name of the ‘god.’  He did though he did not say the name because we both realized he had embraced a false god.  My husband repented from ever taking part in this religious practice with its deceptive practices and other gods.

“Transcendental Meditation, a form of Mantra yoga, initiated countless westerners with Sanskrit puja rituals that were never explained to them, but still had a significant impact on their core identity.

Yeshua’s atonement for sin is the cornerstone of faith from Genesis through Revelation.   Through his life, death and resurrection, we receive fullness of life now and into eternity.  Anyone who does not trust in Yeshua’s atonement for their sin, does not receive the fullness of their faith – forgiveness and a restored relationship with their Creator.

However, an individual does not have to openly worship a false god for it to impact their lives.  This is the power of Astarte (Easter), Tammuz (Christmas trees), Samhain (Halloween) in the lives of Christians.   These ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’ have  impacted their spiritual lives and hearts so much they will argue to the millionth power to defend their practices.  My husband came to the reality of the impact of Hinduism on his life and identity; my brother needs to come to the same place.  All of those who actively participate in yoga or its exercises also need to realize the subtle ways the Adversary uses to draw them into false religious practices in order to glorify himself.

“Unlike Judaism, Christianity and Islam, one does not have to believe in  or worship something to be impacted by Hinduism.”  

What Christians tend to forget is that we are commanded and warned against idolatry and ‘other gods’.  Those commandments and warnings through the Torah, the Prophets and the Apostles are still in force until Elohim establishes his eternal throne in the New Jerusalem and there is a new heaven and a new earth.  When we defile ourselves with false gods, we pay a huge price in our relationship with our Father.

“When you offer your gifts … you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. Am I to let you inquire of me, you Israelites? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will not let you inquire of me” (Ezekiel 20:31).

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

©2013 Tentstake Ministries

 

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