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Friday, October 28, 2016

Clergy Appreciation Month: Continuing Our Appreciation


“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy…”  (Philippians 1:3-4 KJV)

October is here a time set aside for appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge.  Of course, we should appreciate them the other eleven months of the year!  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted last October.



Photo Credit: C. Meissner

As we come to the end of this month set aside to honor pastors, let us not forget to honor and encourage our pastor and their families the other eleven months of year!  We all need to be encouraged and spurred on as we live in this world.  The same is true for our pastors, and perhaps it is even more so.  Pastors seem to incur more than their fair share of criticism; therefore, words of encouragement are precious as diamonds.    

In the New Testament, we can read how Paul frequently encouraged Timothy (see 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy), in his ministry. 





While Timothy was a young pastor, lacking in self-confidence, needing encouragement to fulfill his calling; the same is true for those responding to their call today—no matter how long they have been pastoring.  Ministry is not an easy road to walk—burn out rates are incredibly high. 

In today’s world, being a pastor is a rewarding, challenging call—sadly, it also sometimes is a thankless job.  You will likely never fully know how much your words of encouragement and support means to your pastor. 





Use your imagination in honoring your pastor and his or her family.  Just be sure to let them know how much you care.  Share a word or two of praise…be creative…it only needs to be heartfelt. 

What have you done personally (or what has your church done) to show appreciation to your pastor(s) during this month?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, as we come to the end of this special month, honoring pastors, help us to remember to encourage and affirm them and their families throughout the year.  Give us nudges through the Holy Spirit to encourage our pastor when needed.  We thank you for our shepherd and family that you have sent us.  Protect them from the attacks of Satan and encourage them.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Friday, October 21, 2016

Clergy Appreciation Month: Encouragement


“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  (Hebrews 10:24-25 KJV)

October is here a time set aside for appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge.  Of course, we should appreciate them the other eleven months of the year!  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted last October.




We are told in the Bible to encourage each other daily, while we still can (see Hebrews 3:13), this includes our pastor.  How are we doing in following the counsel of the writer of Hebrews?  

One area where we can encourage our pastor is in dreaming and or visioning for the church, one of the many parts of a pastor’s job description.  It is here that our pastors seek the Lord, ideally, for direction in leading the church.  For example, it is here that new ministries are born or new formatting for worship is realized.

Dreaming or visioning is simply planning, setting goals for the future.  Without goals churches, like people, tend to aimlessly drift through life.  Dreams or visions help get things accomplished.


Photo Credit: P. Whitlatch

Be supportive of those dreams—handling them with care because they are delicate—like soap bubbles.  Many times, those dreams are inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Dreams can be costly in terms of time, effort, and even money.  Yet Holy Spirit inspired dreams can change the direction of churches and of lives.  Holy Spirit dreams can (and have) set the world on fire!  Holy Spirit dreams are still setting the world on fire and making a huge difference in the lives of countless people. 

What dream(s) is the Holy Spirit giving you?

When the temptation arises to criticize the dreaming and or visioning of your pastor (or anyone else!), recall how it felt to have your dreams destroyed by someone who simply did not understand or simply refused to understand.  How did you feel?  What happened to those dreams?  Please encourage others to not criticize as well.

Encourage your pastor to keep dreaming!  Ask good questions and seek to understand your pastor’s ideas.  In so doing, I believe that you will learn more about the heart of your pastor.  Learning more about your pastor’s heart is priceless!  Deeply consider and pray about how you can help him or her in implementing those dreams, by using your gifts and talents.  

What dreams and/or visions has your pastor shared with you and/or your church?


Photo credit: P. Whitlach



Please join me in prayer:

Dear Lord, we pray that our pastor will find the freedom and courage to dream godly dreams and have the courage and strength from You to follow them.  Bless our pastor in planning for the future ministry of our church.  Help us to support and encourage our pastor to pursue the dreams and visions and not get in the way; encouraging others to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.  Open us to the ways we can assist our pastor in dreaming and visioning for the church and in pursuing those by the use of the gifts You have graciously given us.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.   

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Sunday, October 16, 2016

50 Day Spiritual Adventure Fall 2016: Week 8



Welcome to Week 8 (the final week), of this year's Fall 50 Day Spiritual Adventure!  I imagine you are discovering some new things and being reminded of things learned in the past, as you read in the Old and New Testaments. May we never take reading God's Word for granted!  

Congratulations!  We have made it to the final week of this fall's 50 Day Spiritual Adventure.  Please scroll down for the readings.  My prayer and hope is that this special time whetted your appetite for God's Word.  I encourage you to keep on reading; many treasures await!  The words in the Bible are true--read them, heed them, and apply them!

Below the readings for week 8, I have listed the readings for the previous weeks, in case you are interested or if you have gotten behind.  Please do not get discouraged if you fall behind.  Persevere and keep on reading, this time is not a competition; it is a time to dig into God's Word and learn more about our God who loves the humanity He created.  

What have you learned as you have read during the last seven weeks?  For those of you who have read through the Bible multiple times, what new ideas has the Holy Spirit revealed to you? 


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Week 8 October 16-October 20, 2016

   October 16:  1 Samuel 27-29, 1 Kings 16
   October 17:  1 Samuel 30-31, 1 Kings 17
   October 18:  1 Kings 18
                                      October 19:  1 Kings 19
  October 20:  1 Kings 20-22


I want to encourage you to continue your daily Bible reading.  You will find that Second Samuel continues the story of the life of David.

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, thank You for Your amazing Word.  Please increase our hunger for You and Your Word.  In Your Word we find encouragement, direction, and inspiration to live radically changed and different lives from the world around us.  Thank You for the Holy Spirit's teaching, guidance, illumination, and inspiration as we read Your Word.  In Jesus' Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim
  




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Week 7:  October 9-October 15, 2016

   October 9:  1 Samuel 8-10, 1 Kings 9
                               October 10:  1 Samuel 11-13, 1 Kings 10
   October 11:  1 Samuel 14-15, 1 Kings 11
   October 12:  1 Samuel 16-18, 1 Kings 12
   October 13:  1 Samuel 19-20, 1 Kings 13
   October 14:  1 Samuel 21-23, 1 Kings 14
                               October 15:  1 Samuel 24-26, 1 Kings 15



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Week 6:  October 2-October 8, 2016

   October 2:  Deuteronomy 33-34, John 17-18
   October 3:  1 Kings 1-2, John 19
   October 4:  1 Kings 3-4, John 20
                               October 5:  1 Kings 5, John 21
                                October 6:  1 Samuel 1-2, 1 Kings 6
                                October 7:  1 Samuel 3-4, 1 Kings 7
                                October 8:  1 Samuel 5-7, 1 Kings 8


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Week 5:  September 25-October 1, 2016

September 25:  Proverbs 25, Deuteronomy 25, John 9
 September 26:   Proverbs 26, Deuteronomy 26, John 10
September 27:  Proverbs 27, Deuteronomy 27, John 11
September 28:  Proverbs 28, Deuteronomy 28, John 12
September 29:  Proverbs 29, Deuteronomy 29, John 13
September 30:  Proverbs 30, Deuteronomy 30, John 14
October 1:  Proverbs 31, Deuteronomy 31-32, John 15-16


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Week 4:  September 18-24, 2016

September 18:  Proverbs 18, Deuteronomy 18, John 2
September 19:  Proverbs 19, Deuteronomy 19, John 3
September 20:  Proverbs 20, Deuteronomy 20, John 4
September 21:  Proverbs 21, Deuteronomy 21, John 5
September 22:  Proverbs 22, Deuteronomy 22, John 6
September 23:  Proverbs 23, Deuteronomy 23, John 7
September 24:  Proverbs 24, Deuteronomy 24, John 8


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Week 3:  September 11-17, 2016

September 11:  Proverbs 11, Deuteronomy 11, Mark 11
September 12:  Proverbs 12, Deuteronomy 12, Mark 12
September 13:  Proverbs 13, Deuteronomy 13, Mark 13
September 14:  Proverbs 14, Deuteronomy 14, Mark 14
September 15:  Proverbs 15, Deuteronomy 15, Mark 15
September 16:  Proverbs 16, Deuteronomy 16, Mark 16
September 17:  Proverbs 17, Deuteronomy 17, John 1


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Week 2:  September 4-10, 2016

September 4:  Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 4, Mark 4
September 5:  Proverbs 5, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 5
September 6:  Proverbs 6, Deuteronomy 6, Mark 6
September 7:  Proverbs 7, Deuteronomy 7, Mark 7
September 8:  Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 8, Mark 8
September 9:  Proverbs 9, Deuteronomy 9, Mark 9
September 10:  Proverbs 10, Deuteronomy 10, Mark 10



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Week 1:  September 1-3, 2016

September 1:  Proverbs 1, Deuteronomy 1, Mark 1
September 2:  Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy 2, Mark 2
September 3:  Proverbs 3, Deuteronomy 3, Mark 3

Friday, October 14, 2016

Clergy Appreciation Month 2016: Laity Serving


“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethern, I would not have you ignorant.  ….  Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 12:1, 4-5 KJV)

October is here a time set aside for appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge.  Of course, we should appreciate them the other eleven months of the year!  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted last October.

To read the first and second posts in this series, please see:  Clergy Appreciation Month and Clergy Appreciation Month:  Pastor Appreciation Sunday.




In the United Methodist Church the third Sunday in October is designated as Laity Sunday, this year the special day falls on October 16. This is a Sunday in which the ministry of the laity is celebrated.  As Christians—as members of God’s family—we are to be exercising the gifts God has so graciously given us. 

Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift—a gift that God expects us to use for His glory and the benefit of His people.  Have you taken the time to discover your spiritual gifts?  If you have not done so, please consider doing it soon. 




If you know your spiritual gifts, it is your responsibility to use them.  By using your gifts, you will bless your pastor (and others) more than you will ever know.  One of the greatest gifts you could give your pastor is the voluntary use of your gifts.  You just might make his or her day (and year!), by going to him or her with an idea about how you could help and/or serve.

A pastor last year stated this regarding the ministry of the laity: “Pastors are always delighted to see laity that takes ownership of areas of ministry.  A good example is leading children and youth ministries and teaching the Bible.”

Remember, there are no bad gifts (see Romans 12:6), just different ones.  Spend some time thinking and praying about how you can serve others as a lay person—lay ministry is not just reserved for specially trained lay leaders or lay speakers of the church.  All laity are to be in some form of ministry within and without the church.




Where do you feel that God is calling to get involved?

What ways are you already serving—giving of your time, talents, energy?    

Remember, the Lord expects us to be salt and light in the world (see Matthew 5:13-14).  The people around us should see something different about how we live our lives and how we interact with and treat others.

Who can you share Jesus with today?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Lord, inspire us to use our skills and our gifts to be a blessing to others.  We desire to serve You humbly, along with our pastor.  Remind us that all gifts are important within the church and Your kingdom; encourage us to use them to glorify You.  Persuade us to not only encourage our pastor but others, as well, in using their gifts for Your glory.  May we all use our gifts for Your glory not ours.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.   

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Sunday, October 9, 2016

50 Day Spiritual Adventure Fall 2016: Week 7



Welcome to Week 7, of this year's Fall 50 Day Spiritual Adventure!  I imagine you are discovering some new things and being reminded of things learned in the past, as you read in the Old and New Testaments. May we never take reading God's Word for granted!  

Below the readings for week 7, I have listed the readings for the previous weeks, in case you are interested or if you have gotten behind.  Please do not get discouraged if you fall behind.  Persevere and keep on reading, this time is not a competition; it is a time to dig into God's Word and learn more about our God who loves the humanity He created.  

What have you learned as you have read during the first five weeks?  For those of you who have read through the Bible multiple times, what new ideas has the Holy Spirit revealed to you? 

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Week 7:  October 9-October 15, 2016

   October 9:  1 Samuel 8-10, 1 Kings 9
                               October 10:  1 Samuel 11-13, 1 Kings 10
   October 11:  1 Samuel 14-15, 1 Kings 11
   October 12:  1 Samuel 16-18, 1 Kings 12
   October 13:  1 Samuel 19-20, 1 Kings 13
   October 14:  1 Samuel 21-23, 1 Kings 14
                               October 15:  1 Samuel 24-26, 1 Kings 15



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Week 6:  October 2-October 8, 2016

   October 2:  Deuteronomy 33-34, John 17-18
   October 3:  1 Kings 1-2, John 19
   October 4:  1 Kings 3-4, John 20
                               October 5:  1 Kings 5, John 21
                                October 6:  1 Samuel 1-2, 1 Kings 6
                                October 7:  1 Samuel 3-4, 1 Kings 7
                                October 8:  1 Samuel 5-7, 1 Kings 8


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Week 5:  September 25-October 1, 2016

September 25:  Proverbs 25, Deuteronomy 25, John 9
 September 26:   Proverbs 26, Deuteronomy 26, John 10
September 27:  Proverbs 27, Deuteronomy 27, John 11
September 28:  Proverbs 28, Deuteronomy 28, John 12
September 29:  Proverbs 29, Deuteronomy 29, John 13
September 30:  Proverbs 30, Deuteronomy 30, John 14
October 1:  Proverbs 31, Deuteronomy 31-32, John 15-16


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Week 4:  September 18-24, 2016

September 18:  Proverbs 18, Deuteronomy 18, John 2
September 19:  Proverbs 19, Deuteronomy 19, John 3
September 20:  Proverbs 20, Deuteronomy 20, John 4
September 21:  Proverbs 21, Deuteronomy 21, John 5
September 22:  Proverbs 22, Deuteronomy 22, John 6
September 23:  Proverbs 23, Deuteronomy 23, John 7
September 24:  Proverbs 24, Deuteronomy 24, John 8


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Week 3:  September 11-17, 2016

September 11:  Proverbs 11, Deuteronomy 11, Mark 11
September 12:  Proverbs 12, Deuteronomy 12, Mark 12
September 13:  Proverbs 13, Deuteronomy 13, Mark 13
September 14:  Proverbs 14, Deuteronomy 14, Mark 14
September 15:  Proverbs 15, Deuteronomy 15, Mark 15
September 16:  Proverbs 16, Deuteronomy 16, Mark 16
September 17:  Proverbs 17, Deuteronomy 17, John 1


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Week 2:  September 4-10, 2016

September 4:  Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 4, Mark 4
September 5:  Proverbs 5, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 5
September 6:  Proverbs 6, Deuteronomy 6, Mark 6
September 7:  Proverbs 7, Deuteronomy 7, Mark 7
September 8:  Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 8, Mark 8
September 9:  Proverbs 9, Deuteronomy 9, Mark 9
September 10:  Proverbs 10, Deuteronomy 10, Mark 10



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Week 1:  September 1-3, 2016

September 1:  Proverbs 1, Deuteronomy 1, Mark 1
September 2:  Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy 2, Mark 2
September 3:  Proverbs 3, Deuteronomy 3, Mark 3

Friday, October 7, 2016

Clergy Appreciation Month 2016: Pastor Appreciation Sunday


Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;” (Romans 15:30 KJV)

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October is here a time set aside for appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge.  Of course, we should appreciate them the other eleven months of the year!  October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted last October.

To read the first post in this series on Clergy Appreciation Month, please see Clergy Appreciation Month.

This coming Sunday, October 9, 2015, is Pastor Appreciation Sunday.  Some churches honor their pastor(s) on this Sunday with a special service.  

A variety of ways exist to honor our pastors—it does not have to be flashy or glamorous.  It can be something as simple as a short presentation during the service or a simple potluck after the service.  (Be sure to include children and youth!)  The idea is to let your pastor know that they are loved and appreciated. Of course, this appreciation should happen more often than in October!


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Have you ever stopped to consider how much a pastor does during a given day or week?  Dedicated pastors work far more than 40 hours a week.  Likely their work week is closer to 60-70 hours!  Discover your pastor’s day off each week and guard it.  They need some down time to care for themselves.   

Being a pastor is a huge and demanding job; something that can only be done through the strength of God and much prayer.  How often do you pray for your pastor(s)?  It is only right that we pray for our pastor; after all, pastors pray for their flocks. 

To get an idea about “a day in the life” of a pastor see Thom Rainer’s article A Day in the Life of a Pastor


Photo credit: P. Whitlach

Pastors truly need and deserve all the support and encouragement they can get.  Recognize and affirm the sacrifices they make—do it orally or in writing.  Do not forget how meaningful, the seemingly small things can be!  Share your appreciation from your heart.  It will mean far more than you will ever know, this side of heaven. 

Be sure to pray for his/her family, as well; do not forget the many sacrifices they make!  The families of pastors make far more sacrifices than we will ever know.  How many family meals or gatherings do you suppose pastors miss?  Even pastors without a family make many sacrifices in serving their congregation.


HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR PASTOR TODAY?  

How will you show appreciation to your pastor this week?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, we pray that You will strengthen and encourage our pastor.  Help us to pray effectively for our pastor and family each day.  Lord, please protect our pastor and family from the attacks of the enemy; we plead the blood of Jesus over them.  Grant our pastor the wisdom to guide and care for us.  Thank You for all of the sacrifices pastors and their families make in service to You.  Reveal to us how to best show our appreciation to our pastor.  In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim


Sunday, October 2, 2016

50 Day Spiritual Adventure: Week 6


Welcome to Week 6, of this year's Fall 50 Day Spiritual Adventure!  I imagine you are discovering some new things and being reminded of things learned in the past, as you read in the Old and New Testaments. May we never take reading God's Word for granted!  

Below the readings for week 6, I have listed the readings for the previous weeks, in case you are interested or if you have gotten behind.  Please do not get discouraged if you fall behind.  Persevere and keep on reading, this time is not a competition; it is a time to dig into God's Word and learn more about our God who loves the humanity He created.  

What have you learned as you have read during the first five weeks?  For those of you who have read through the Bible multiple times, what new ideas has the Holy Spirit revealed to you? 


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Week 6:  October 2-October 8, 2016

   October 2:  Deuteronomy 33-34, John 17-18
   October 3:  1 Kings 1-2, John 19
   October 4:  1 Kings 3-4, John 20
                               October 5:  1 Kings 5, John 21
                                October 6:  1 Samuel 1-2, 1 Kings 6
                                October 7:  1 Samuel 3-4, 1 Kings 7
                                October 8:  1 Samuel 5-7, 1 Kings 8


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Week 5:  September 25-October 1, 2016

September 25:  Proverbs 25, Deuteronomy 25, John 9
 September 26:   Proverbs 26, Deuteronomy 26, John 10
September 27:  Proverbs 27, Deuteronomy 27, John 11
September 28:  Proverbs 28, Deuteronomy 28, John 12
September 29:  Proverbs 29, Deuteronomy 29, John 13
September 30:  Proverbs 30, Deuteronomy 30, John 14
October 1:  Proverbs 31, Deuteronomy 31-32, John 15-16


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Week 4:  September 18-24, 2016

September 18:  Proverbs 18, Deuteronomy 18, John 2
September 19:  Proverbs 19, Deuteronomy 19, John 3
September 20:  Proverbs 20, Deuteronomy 20, John 4
September 21:  Proverbs 21, Deuteronomy 21, John 5
September 22:  Proverbs 22, Deuteronomy 22, John 6
September 23:  Proverbs 23, Deuteronomy 23, John 7
September 24:  Proverbs 24, Deuteronomy 24, John 8


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Week 3:  September 11-17, 2016

September 11:  Proverbs 11, Deuteronomy 11, Mark 11
September 12:  Proverbs 12, Deuteronomy 12, Mark 12
September 13:  Proverbs 13, Deuteronomy 13, Mark 13
September 14:  Proverbs 14, Deuteronomy 14, Mark 14
September 15:  Proverbs 15, Deuteronomy 15, Mark 15
September 16:  Proverbs 16, Deuteronomy 16, Mark 16
September 17:  Proverbs 17, Deuteronomy 17, John 1


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Week 2:  September 4-10, 2016

September 4:  Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 4, Mark 4
September 5:  Proverbs 5, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 5
September 6:  Proverbs 6, Deuteronomy 6, Mark 6
September 7:  Proverbs 7, Deuteronomy 7, Mark 7
September 8:  Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 8, Mark 8
September 9:  Proverbs 9, Deuteronomy 9, Mark 9
September 10:  Proverbs 10, Deuteronomy 10, Mark 10



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Week 1:  September 1-3, 2016

September 1:  Proverbs 1, Deuteronomy 1, Mark 1
September 2:  Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy 2, Mark 2
September 3:  Proverbs 3, Deuteronomy 3, Mark 3

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