Before I Met My Husband

IMG_0892Before I met him, I was like you-anxious, struggling and impatient. Moreover, I was like you who is full of concepts about marriage. However, the Lord dealt with my heart. He changed my heart.

It took me time. It took me lots of tears. I was blinded by myself so the Lord had to do something. I thanked Him for that and I still do up to this day. It was worth it. It wasn’t easy but it was necessary. And it was out of love for Him and from Him. Otherwise, I would have chosen my own way. I would have followed my own concepts. His love is powerful. Let it subdue you. Let it cause you to surrender to Him. Let it make you helpless.

Don’t worry, it takes time. Give patience to yourself. Wait on Him. Believe in Him. Enjoy Him. Love Him. And let Him take care of you.

Believe me, He is responsible. He cares for you. Everything about you. About your situation. About your need. Even about the right one for you.

He already prepared him. Yet you have to learn. Learn to wait. Let to stop.

And now, I have no regrets. I’m everyday thankful. His way is the best. His timing is perfect. His choice is wonderful.

I feel His love. Through him whom He has given. I’m not deserving. Yet I’ve been chosen. Long before. Long before everything.

My advise to you is just to love Him. Serve Him while you can. Pray to Him. Tell Him your secrets and thoughts. Yet let Him speak in return. Not easy to learn this. But you have to. Ask for His mercy. Ask for His grace. Ask for His supply.

If you faithfully allow Him, you will have no regrets. It may take time. But it’s for sure. Sooner. Later. No one knows. It depends how soon you allow Him.

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How I Met My Husband

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(From one of our immigration documents, prepared by Jason:)

The following is, in brief, the story of how I met my fiancé, Mercy Grace Cabural. May it serve as evidence of the genuineness of what has become the deepest and sweetest relationship in my life and hers.

I have always intended to follow the example of my forebears, to find that special person who would match me and love me, to find my love for that person, and to marry her, to establish a union that would not only continue for the rest of our lives, but also grow, strengthen, and become something truly wonderful, both to us and to all whom we would contact, and even to those who would hear of us thereafter evermore. In my heart, I have always believed that a fitting context for such a relationship could only be found within the plan, work, and love of the God of the universe, who promises that all things work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. His love is, to my observation, a greater, deeper, richer, and higher love than any which humanity can attain apart from Him, and through His word and my life experience, I have come to know that all that is human is finite, mortal, and bound to a definite end sooner or later. So I have always prayed to this God that He would lead me and guide me to find another person who also knew and had tasted this love of His, so that it could be the vital strengthening and establishing factor in my marriage, such as neither I nor any other mere human possesses on our own.

I watched and searched for many years for this person, and I saw many who possessed desirable virtues, from beauty to diligence to temperance to wisdom to kindness and all manner of loveliness, and I took interest in various young women at different times, but over time I began to realize that neither these virtues nor even the possession of a love of God such as I perceived my own to be was enough; I began to realize that my love for Him must override all of these things, for if I would merely use His love for my own purpose—for the attainment of a wonderful marriage and a good life—then I would in so doing demonstrate that I did not truly love Him but myself. I realized that my marriage must also be for Him; it must serve His purpose and even align with His interests in every way; it must be totally under His leading and ruling within the deepest part of my heart. So I prayed that God would guide me to the right person—not to the person of my preference, but to the one whom He had ordained for me, whomever that would be, so that I could serve Him by her side according to His desire.

The result of this prayer has been nothing short of miraculous! I did not meet this person in a way that I ever would have expected or foreseen, but every aspect of my desire has been not only met but greatly exceeded in her.

For years, I resisted becoming involved in online social networking, refusing on the grounds that it was a distraction from school and work to those who did not believe in God as I did, or to those who did believe, that it was a means for the corrupt world to distract us from the love and purpose of our God, who desires to have the first place in our hearts. But as time passed, so many of those I knew, even in the realm of the church, began to use it simply as a normal means of maintaining contact and communication that it seemed to become more a necessity in the maintenance of fellowship with them, and so on February 28, 2016, I finally created a Facebook account and quickly located a number of my real-life friends, particularly fellow believers. The advice I first received matched my feelings on the matter at the time, and I was a little wary of going overboard by spending too much time on it or meeting new people. If I did not recognize a name, I would check their friend lists carefully to find out if they were associated with the right people. Few passed this test, but one person memorably did, one Mercy Grace Cabural.

I saw her name on a friend request very early on. I did not recognize her picture, but her name seemed like that of a child of very genuine believers, and her friend list included several believers I knew well. Perhaps I had met her long ago and just couldn’t remember her, I thought. How embarrassing! So I accepted and went on. I would have forgotten about it too, had she not continually posted pictures and videos of Christians from across the world, remarkable for their earnestness—and for the fact that I recognized not a single one. I was puzzled, but I took no action.

Just after midnight on the morning of April 10, 2016, she sent a message to me without prompting: “Amen, brother Jason!” (She sent a message because she thought I was a new believer in the church and was under the care and shepherding of my aunt, Debbie Villareal). I had made only one post since the one shown above, and it was about my work. What did she mean? I was sure it was well-intentioned, but I did not know who she was, or what she was referring to, so I ignored it in order to escape an awkward situation.

Two more months went by. I saw more of her pictures and became more confused and mystified as to how I could have become connected to her, but I realized due to the nature of her posts that she loved the same Lord and in much the same way as I did.

Then came the sudden, mysterious, and completely unexpected spark that ignited a relationship which today I can only conclude was always meant to be. As strange as it might seem, it was a smiley-face. It came late at night, at 11:13 pm, on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at a time when I should have already been asleep. I saw the previous message, recalled the nature of her posts, and replied. I said, “Amen!” and then went on, “I have seen a lot of your posts, but I recognize very few people. Where are you these days?” I still assumed she was a person I had met long ago and forgotten about. At any rate, she told me that she was “joyfully serving the Lord in Iligan City, Philippines.” I maintained my assumption and reasoned that she must have gone abroad to help the believers in that faraway country after finishing college to work full-time for the spreading of God’s testimony on the earth, so I said, “Praise the Lord! He is establishing His kingdom!” This launched a conversation about God’s purpose and the spreading of His kingdom on the earth, which continued until I admitted that I did not remember where and when I had met her, at which point she told me that we had never indeed met, but by then we were deep enough into the conversation that I had to continue, if only not to be rude, and yet also because I was now intrigued. Our conversation was cut short by the time and my need to go to work in the morning, but both of us expressed an interest in continuing it the next day.

On the next evening, we indeed continued our conversation. I had not been able to forget it for all of the previous day, and it was the first thing I attended to when I got home. When we spoke again, she had surprising news: my childhood friend Timothy Codia’s father, Andrew Codia, was in Iligan City where she lived, visiting the church there! She had heard that he was from Texas and asked if he knew me; the truth of the matter was that he had once lived only a few blocks away, and my father, my sister, and I had frequently gone to visit by bicycle—his house was within walking distance! In all of that time, I had never so much as considered where he could be from, but now he was right there with her? The coincidence was truly amazing!

But even more amazing was the fact that she had known my aunt Debbie for years via chat online. This was how she had met me, in fact. My aunt took care of college students in the church in College Station and had met Mercy online through Facebook and helped her through a very difficult personal struggle when she was in college. When Mercy saw me on my aunt’s friend list with few friends of my own, she had assumed I was another such young college student my aunt was caring for; after all, we do not share a name. We spoke for a time of our family backgrounds and upbringing, which was also so remarkably similar that coincidence no longer seemed possible. But the most precious aspect of it all was that we seemed to have both emerged from it with such a similar outlook on everything, which was continually confirmed at every turn. It was at this point in particular that I began to notice what I can only describe as a mysterious but unmistakable echo between her words and mine, between her story and mine, and even between her heart and mine.

Now Mercy told me about the struggle that my aunt had helped her through. When she was finished telling me her story, I told her that it was only fair that I should tell her my story, and so I told her of a struggle I had when I was in college, one that I had never told anyone in full. Her story and mine matched one another so well that when I was done, she could not help but say, “Why? Why do we have the same story? What are we for one another?”

With that, we spontaneously began to pray—right there over Facebook chat. We prayed that our sovereign Lord, the Head of the Body, would make all things clear and lead us according to His desire. As we prayed, the peace within us grew, and though we had neither seen one another nor heard one another’s voices, we knew. Not only were we attractive to one another; not only did we have the same love for our God, but He, the unique Ruler of the universe, the One who was Lord in both of our hearts, had prepared us for one another from before we were even born, and now He was leading us in this way. The way in which it had happened was far from anything either of us had expected, but we knew that it was His will, and that as it was so, He would see it through. Earlier in the evening, in the context of our struggles, I had quoted a Christian writer who had served the Lord in China during the early-to-mid-20th Century named Watchman Nee, and now his words came back to us again:

“If God leads you to walk a way that you know, it will not benefit you as much as if He would lead you to take the way that you do not know. This forces you to have hundreds and thousands of conversations with Him, resulting in a journey that is an everlasting memorial between you and Him.”

Since that evening, many things have happened, yet through it all, we have never felt an ounce of regret, not even for a moment; on the contrary, our love and appreciation for one another truly grows day by day without fail. Every new experience has deepened our appreciation for one another, strengthened our love, and drawn us closer together, to the point that we have begun to feel that we are ceasing to be two separate people and are becoming one. Those who have been close to each of us, upon being introduced to the other, frequently observe that we are so alike, it is as though we are different manifestations of the same person! I believe that in a very significant way, they are right. At long last, we have each met the one who matches us, the one whom our beloved Lord has prepared for us, so that we, as one, may serve Him, our great Beloved, unto the accomplishment of His purpose.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

–Matthew 6:33

This is our testimony. Thank You, Lord!

Three Stages of Salvation

Three Stages of Salvation
Hebrews 2:3 says “How shall we escape¹ª if we have neglected so great a salvation,¹ª which, having had its beginning in being spoken by the Lord, has been confirmed to us by those who heard”.
Salvation here refers back to what is mentioned in 1:14. It is God’s full salvation, from the forgiveness of sins to the sharing of the coming kingdom with glory. It refers not only to what Christ has done and will do for us but also to Himself, the One who is able to save us to the uttermost (7:25). As the Son of God —as God —and as the Son of Man —as man —He is our salvation. His wonderful person plus His splendid work constitute so great a salvation, a salvation that none of us should neglect. Our negligence will cause us to miss this great salvation’s (1) most precious part —the enjoying of Christ as our saving life and rest in this age; and (2) most glorious part —the inheriting of Christ’s kingdom with glory in the coming age.

Man is of three parts: spirit, soul and body. God’s salvation is of three stages to fully save this three-part man.

The first stage of salvation is the initial stage. This stage saves our spirit. God has done this firstly by His death on the cross to take care of our objective problem before God. Second, as the life-giving Spirit, He has regenerated us in our spirit. This stage includes redemption, forgiveness of sins, cleansing of sins, justification and reconciliation. The result is regeneration. This is the beginning of the Christian life.
The second stage is the progressing stage. This stage saves us in our soul. Although God is now in our human spirit through regeneration, our soul is still full of Satan’s nature. We think evil thoughts. We lie and hate others. We are jealous and full of our own opinions. We love what God hates and hate what God loves. We are evil, we are sin, and even in a certain sense, we are Satan. But, we are also Christians who have received the divine life into us. In this stage, God deals with our evil soul. Regeneration only puts Christ into our spirit. We need to allow Christ to spread into our soul day by day. This will take our entire lifetime. By opening to Him, by praying and by confessing our sins, we allow Him to spread in us. This spreading is our sanctification. In this way, He deposits His holy nature into our soul from our spirit. At the same time He transforms us from an old man to a new man, from being full of the satanic life to being full of God.
The third stage is the completing stage. In this stage our body is saved and God’s full salvation reaches its climax. It is the result of the second stage. Leaving the starting block in the race is the initial stage. Running the course is the progressing stage. Crossing the finish line is the completing stage. You cannot cross the finish line unless you have started and progressed in the course of the race. The faster you progress, the earlier you will complete the race.

This stage is glorious. It finally solves all our problems and consummates God’s eternal purpose. In this stage, our body is conformed to the body of the Lord’s glory. Our body is transfigured, glorified. We inherit God’s kingdom to reign with Christ as co-kings and obtain the topmost enjoyment of the Lord. By this stage, our spirit will be full of life due to regeneration. Our soul will be full of Christ due to sanctification and transformation. We will think the way God thinks. We will love what God loves and hate what He hates. Our will will always choose what God would choose, and our body will be full of the glory of the Lord. Then we will fully be sons of God, full of God’s life, expressing God and representing Him eternally. Through all of this process, we will be built together as the glorious church, the New Jerusalem. Hallelujah! God will be fully satisfied and we will be fully saved!
We can only arrive at this stage by being initially saved and then by being sanctified and transformed. Brothers and sisters, don’t you want to arrive at the third stage? If you do, then go on to enjoy Him as the Spirit and the Word. Then, cooperate with Him daily. Allow Him to spread in you by always following His leading within you and by confessing your sins and shortcomings to Him. In these ways, you will go on from the initial stage of your salvation through the progressive stage, and you will enter into the full enjoyment of your salvation in the completing stage.

Further References:
See Compendium of God’s Full Salvation (LSM),
Chapter 20 and 26;
Holy Bible- Recovery Version with foot notes

or
1.    Life-study of Matthew (Lee/LSM), p. 587.
2.    Life-study of Romans (Lee/LSM), pp. 13, 252-254, 273-275, 453-454, 494-495, 556, 565-566.
3.    Life-study of Colossians (Lee/LSM), pp. 245-246, 525-526.
4.    Life-study of Second Corinthians (Lee/LSM), pp. 33-34, 105-106, 524, 526-529.
5.    Life-study of Genesis (Lee/LSM), pp. 124-125.
6.    The Kingdom (Lee/LSM), p. 390.
7.    Life-study of Hebrews (Lee/LSM), pp. 104-105, 136-137, 230-231, 263-264, 422-423.
8.    Life-study of Ephesians (Lee/LSM), pp. 168, 314-315, 434, 480-481, 551-552.
9.    Life-study of John (Lee/LSM), pp. 67-68, 218, 383, 407-409, 458, 491, 565-567.
10.  The Divine Dispensing of the Divine Trinity (Lee/LSM), pp. 223, 234.
11.  The Spirit and Body (Lee/LSM), p. 25.
12.  Life-study of Philippians (Lee/LSM), pp. 86, 97-98, 328, 338, 340-342, 356-357, 364, 383.
13.  Life-study of Revelation (Lee/LSM), p. 428.
14.  Young People’s Training (Lee/LSM), pp. 179-180.
15.  Life-study of First Peter (Lee/LSM), pp. 92, 129, 134, 303-305.
16.  Life-study of Exodus (Lee/LSM), pp. 407, 550, 888-889.
17.  The Kernel of the Bible (Lee/LSM), p. 17.
18.  Life-study of First Corinthians (Lee/LSM), pp. 418, 523-524.
19.  Experiencing Christ as the Offerings for the Church Meetings (Lee/LSM), pp. 25-26, 52.
20.  Life Messages, vol. 1 (Lee/LSM), p. 256.
21.  Concerning the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (Lee/LSM), pp. 1-5.
22.  The Stream (Lee/LSM), vol. 4, no. 2, p. 13.
23.  Truth Messages (Lee/LSM), pp. 9-10, 16-18.
24.  Perfecting Training (Lee/LSM), pp. 341-343, 347-350.
25.  Experience of Christ (Lee/LSM), pp. 45-46.
26.  The Experience of Life (Lee/LSM), pp. 151-152, 244.
27.  The Economy of God (Lee/LSM), pp. 73, 90-93.
28.  The Parts of Man (Lee/LSM), pp. 21-22, 33.
29.  Life-study of Galatians (Lee/LSM), pp. 242, 251-252.
30.  Life-study of Second Peter (Lee/LSM), pp. 27-28, 45.

Photo credits:

https://www.google.com.ph/search?q=salvation&client=ms-android-om-lge&biw=320&bih=440&tbm=isch&prmd=ivmn&source=lnms&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiXtfyxoPDMAhWHjJQKHdvxBpIQ_AUIBigB

 

 

Take heed to yourselves…

I just want to share to you this portion which really nourished me these days while going though a certain situation. This is sent to me by an FTTA sister name Emily.

-“In our Full Ministry of Christ class, I appreciated that every situation is arranged to sink us into our spirit. At midnight, Paul and Silas were in prison and instead of murmuring and reasoning, they were praying and singing hymns of praise to God (Acts 16:25). When we are in our situations and circumstances, we need to realize that they are arranged by the Lord to sink us into our spirit. Instead of murmuring and reasoning, we should pray and sing.

This week, I enjoyed just singing, praying, praising, and thanking. It’s not easy all the time to turn from your situation(s) and turn to your spirit, but when you’re desperate to get out of your situation, you’ll do anything to touch the Lord.

I was really touched and exposed in our young people’s fellowship on Wednesday. The brothers were sharing with us about how to rely on the Lord especially durning this time of the term when you’re tired and your self effort has almost run out.

Acts 20:28 says, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among whom the Holy Spirit has placed you as overseers to shepherd the church of God, which He obtained through His own blood.” It doesn’t say take care of the flock then yourselves. It’s important to take care of yourself first. In our service, the most important thing is our person. It’s not what we do or how we do it, but how your person is doing.

It was nice to be reminded that the training is designed to break down your person. The training is not to make you suffer but for you to be terminated. I know this may sound bad or strange or totally contrary to what the world teaches us, but when you realize who you are, you also realize that you need another life (Gal. 2:20).

When you are in the training, you may be able to fake it for a period of time (I’ve gotten pretty good at this), but who you are eventually gets exposed. “Take heed to yourselves…” Take care of your personal contact with the Lord first. Before contacting anyone, contact the Lord first. Come to the Lord again and again. Never graduate from coming to the Lord. Come to the Lord as a source of supply.

How do we take care of our contact with the Lord? We must be persons of prayer. As persons who serve the Lord, we first need to learn and exercise not to be serving ones of prayer but persons of prayer.

To pray is to contact and absorb God. The longer you serve, the easier it is not to depend on the Lord because you know what to do; you get settled into a routine. You know how to lead the singing, read the Bible with the young people, explain ministry to the young people, etc. These are all good things, but what is the source? Are you the source or is the Lord Himself the source? Sometimes we are burning, but our fuel is our capacity and disposition. If you are a person of prayer, contacting and absorbing God, the source will be God Himself.

You may be the model serving one, but if you are the source, sooner or later, you will burn out. How do you serve the Lord year after year? You have to come to the Lord as the source of supply. The time will come when you have to rely on the Lord.

Another problem is that we know too much. To pray is also to say that He is and we are not. We often know so much that the source of what we do is us.

We need to be persons who have a prayer life. That means that when we pray, He is and we are not. Whatever we are means nothing. 1 Tim. 2:1 says that we need to first of all, pray…The main prerequisite to taking care of the flock is to pray. Do you feel like you are useful if all you could do was pray? Don’t you think brother Nee was useful when he was praying? Dont you think many of those prayers touched the throne and were answered? We need to spend time with the Lord in prayer.

The most crucial time with the Lord is in the morning. Every morning, we need to have a solid, personal contact with the Lord. How do we come to the Lord to spend time with Him? When we come to the Lord, we should come to Him without any persons, concerns, or situations. Just come to Him.

Many times your service becomes your “source of supply.” Just come to Him because you want Him. If you don’t contact the Lord on a daily basis, it will be very hard to continue. All of us will have many years to serve the Lord, but we need to become Him in order to be the right kind of person to serve Him. You need to become Christ in life and in nature. The only way to do this is to contact Him day by day.

Towards the end, I was really exposed when brother Peter said that we need to learn to be weak. We don’t like to be weak. We like to be sufficient and strong. We defend ourselves and justify ourselves. In 2 Cor. 12:4-8, there is a suffering that Paul is going through with a thorn in his flesh. But in verse 9, he says that the Lord’s power is perfected in weakness. The footnote says that our weakness is needed. We are just too strong, capable, and faithful. We need a healthy dose of weakness. Often times we dont pray because we are too strong.
When I came to the training, I thought I was a weak person. But in the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that I am stronger in my self than I realize. This also touched on some things sister Ann Buntain had touched on in our fellowship times as well. Eventually, if the training does what it is supposed to do (if I cooperate and allow it to do what it is supposed to do), I will be brought to the point where I am weak in my self and my source is only Christ.

With all this being said, I’ve been practicing coming to the Lord in the morning in prayer without anyone or anything on my mind. Although I’m still quite concerned for some of my friends, family, yp, etc..my goal in the morning is not for those things, but to contact and absorb the One who needs to be my source of supply. I’ve even been skipping a few breakfasts just so I can spend at least 40 minutes or so with the Lord. This has really been a supply to me this week and I recommend doing it.

“Our experiences are experiences that we wouldn’t buy for a penny but wouldn’t sell for a million dollars.”-Brother Peter Harvey

Hymn #671:
Deep down into the depths of this Thy Name,
My God, I sink and dwell in calm delight;
Thou art enough however long the day,
Thou art enough however dark the night.

Thou art my God — the All-Sufficient One,
Thou canst create for me whate’er I lack;
Thy mighty hand has strewn the lonely track
With miracles of love and tender care.

For me Thy trusting one. My God I dare
Once more to fling myself upon Thy breast,
And there adore Thy ways in faith’s deep rest,
And there adore Thy ways in faith’s quiet rest.”

-Emily

Being Ruled by The King

God’s kindgom is a realm where He is the King, the One who is ruling and reigning.

Lord, such a light I received this evening. Thank You for impressing me what Your kingdom is. I have heard this word kingdom since young but I did not know what Your kingdom is in experience. Lord, Your kingdom is Your ruling, Your reigning and Your governing in my being. So many times, I am rebellious and disobedient to Your ruling. Lord, I repent. I change my and and turn my mind to You. Subdue me that You can rule in me!

However, my experience can testify that without the enjoyment of Him, I cannot be under His ruling. I cannot pretend as if I am already being ruled by Him. What I need is the enjoyment of Him as grace. Then, spontaneously, my living is according to His ruling.

The God of Resurrection

Brothers and sisters, everything in your life must pass the supreme test of death to make a way for the God of resurrection. If you only know the living God, your knowledge will be too objective. God will be God; you will be you. You need to know the God of resurrection; and it is only through death that He can cleave a way for Himself into your life.

What is the significance of suffering? This, that the devastation it brings to the old creation provides an opportunity for the God of resurrection to impart Himself to His creatures, so that they emerge from the death process with a divine element in their constitution. The primary purpose of suffering in this universe, particularly as it relates to the children of God, is that through it the very nature of God may be wrought into the nature of man. “If indeed our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day.” Through a process of outward decay an inward process is taking place that is adding a new constituent to our lives.

We may know the living God without such drastic experiences, but only through death can we come to an experimental knowledge of the God of resurrection.

Beloved brothers and sisters, do you want to be partakers of the new creation? Do you want to know perennial newness? Then you must give your consent to God when He seeks to lead you through devastating processes. And you need have no fear, for God knows how to apportion suffering. He is an expert at matching our suffering to our state. He measures all things with unfailing accuracy and selects the peculiar trial suited to the peculiar need. He invariably chooses the lot of each one with this goal in view—an increase of the divine content in our lives. If He chastises us, it is always “for our profit that we might partake of His holiness.” “God causes all things to work together for good to those…who are called according to the purpose.” What good? This, that we may be “conformed to the image of His Son.”

Taken from the book The God of Resurrection by Witness Lee. Published by the Living Stream Ministry.

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The Spirit Gives Life for New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem - the Consummation

In resurrection we walk in newness of life and we serve in newness of spirit. Resurrection, the divine and eternal life, the Spirit with our spirit, and newness are all essential qualities of New Jerusalem. These qualities all proceed from God.

In 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 Paul says that “our sufficiency is from God, who has also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant, ministers not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

New JerusalemServing in spirit is new and ministry of the Spirit is new and life giving. Without the Spirit moving through and with our human spirit, our service and ministry is old and of the killing letter.

Paul also says that in the New Testament way we “serve by the Spirit of God and boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in…

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