Tag Archives: inspire

What will they think?

 

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My sweet Sol and Kate.

Can you relate to my “Sol experience”? It’s all about the art of dog walking. My preference is with my sweet Border Collie Kate. It is a tranquil time of reflecting through the wooded trail behind our home. Now it has become a “Sol experience”. What is a Sol experience you ask? Well it’s walking the family rescue dog ,Sol–a “Jack-a-be”, or Jack-Russell and Beagle combo. The first time my husband and I walked her we were mortified. We had just become “those dog owners”.

You know them. You’ve seen them, and when you see them, you wonder, “Who is walking whom?” “Those dog owners” have no control over their dog. You consider turning around to avoid them altogether. It’s comical and scary at the same to time as they approach. Their dog is lunging forward with every step at the end of the leash no matter how long or short it is, huffing and puffing, straining to get to the next thing, zigzagging across the path, whimpering excessively, and barking. If you have experienced it then you can relate to my “Sol experience”.

Sol does it all, but everything becomes excessively exaggerated when we walk near another dog, she spots a squirrel, or notices a bird. The looks I get– and oh, the advice I get– when I’m trying to train her. All the time, Sol is barking and usually getting more aggressive looking by the moment. It is comical at times, because the advice is so important to girl-1245678_1280share they willing my agony of this incessant dog barking performance for what feels like an eternity. I nod my head and repeat, “She is a rescue in training.” I smile as much as I can through my complete embarrassment, all the time wondering to myself, “What does this person think of me?”

Growing up the same question seemed to always be on the grown-ups minds too. I would get questioned all the time. Should you being doing that? Should you say that? Why didn’t you________? With the follow on question/statement “because what do you think they think about you after_________?” I know the questions all came with the best intentions but they developed a habit I’m still struggling to break.
I wonder if you can relate? I became hyper sensitive to what I think people might think about my choices and behavior walking-349991__340big and small. It led to constantly evaluating and wondering if I was good enough in other people’s eyes. I became entangled in the web of real and perceived expectations in my mind. In our Christian walk it is important what others think of us to an extent. But I can get wrapped up in seeking to please others rather than the Lord. Especially when I worry about what they “might” think.

So let’s take a moment to be honest with our selves. How often do your thoughts wander to “What do they think, or will they think about me?” When you are deciding what to wear, what to post on social media, where to go, what to buy, etc., how often has that determined what you would do or not do? If you are like me your answer is images-25much more than I would like to admit. It is amazing the power other peoples’ opinions, perceived or true, that I will give others over my life–even a stranger’s opinion. At times I may even find my self fearfully making choices in hopes to not offend and disappoint people. This fear robs me of full enjoyment to experience life in freedom. Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
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25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, But whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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“ Fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” Since I discovered this truth images-27I have been growing in my ability to recognize my fearful thought patterns. It’s a work in progress but day-by-day I am getting more skilled at “taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ”(2 Corinthians 10: 52 Corinthians 10: 5
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5 throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;

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).

It is a transforming process. I’m thankful I don’t have to do in my own strength and knowledge. It is the Holy Spirits job to transform me from the inside out making me desire to be obedient to this foreign way of living (2 Thessalonians 2:132 Thessalonians 2:13
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13 But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth;

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). And just as I think I’m taking ground on this “fear of human opinion” disability I realize I have a long way to go. I need of a make over of my self-centered thoughts. The Lord wants to tree-84573__340completely remove this fear from my wardrobe. He wants to refit me with a style that is more flattering for His warrior-princess.

What woman would ever say “no” to a wardrobe makeover? Not me! The new designer label is “Fear of the Lord”! Just the name sounds fit for a warrior-princess. My first peak at the collection left me breathless. I would be stepping into a whole new way of thinking. He no longer wanted me to measure my choices and behavior by what others would think of me. He is asking me to be more concerned for what my choices would make others think of Him. Making this change would reflect righteousness from the hummel-1437243__340inside out. I would be putting on my spiritual garments of praise, robe of righteousness, and crown of salvation to send the message of love and hope found in Christ. My Christ- focused choices will spread His fragrance, thereby providing the opportunity to lead others in the direction to hope in my King. The new decision questions I will be asking myself are: What message am I about to send? Does it give others a glimpse of God’s love? Will it point others to Him? Can it send the fragrance of life in Jesus? How will it speak to those who need a loving God?

The way I live every part of my life sends a message. Will I live each part out in such a way that I send a message, giving off a fragrance that points others in the direction of their Creator to discover His love for them? Even in my “Sol experience” I need to turn my thoughts to the Lord. In what area of your life is he offering you a wardrobe makeover? Will you accept the invitation and receive the gift?images-2

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Together!

I’d love to hear about your “Sol experience”. Please pray for Sol and I in our obedience school!

Here are some other scriptures the Lord is using in my make-over process:

Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
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8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

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- “….think on such things…”
Romans 13:14Romans 13:14
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14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.

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- “…clothe self with the Lord Jesus Christ..”
Colossians 3:12-14Colossians 3:12-14
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12 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. 14 Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection.

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- “…clothe self with compassion…over all of these virtues put on love…”

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Courage to Reflect

 

I remember that Sunday morning well. The summer sun peaked through the bedroom blinds before my eyes were ready to greet the day. Sounds of a squirmy infant and toddler encouraged one more attempt at squeeze just 5 more minutes of sleep before I faced the activities of the day. Then it happened– the whimpers of a hungry little guy. Before I knew I was awake I found myself settled in the rocker with a nursing bundle in my arm and my snuggly brown eyed girl in my lap. After the morning snuggle we were off to the races to get everyone, Dad, Mom, and three kiddos under 4, ready and in the van for church.

At some point, I called out “Where is Erika?” Our brown eyed, 19month old was not under foot and too quiet for my comfort. After an unsuccessful, thorough search of the three story home, panic set in Brian’s and I’s heart. Then came the knock at the door. Brian opened the door to find little Erika standing there, hand in hand, with a wombonding-1407833_1280an he did not recognize. She proceeded to ask in a sweet voice “Is this your little girl? I found her wandering along the road.” He immediately lifted Erika into his arms and held her tightly while answering “Yes, thank you so much!” When he turned to follow-up with the kind woman, she was nowhere to be found. It was like she had vanished. He and Erika looked down the street and around the corner, but it was like she was gone without a trace. Brian was puzzled and smiled as Erika announced, “Bye-bye, all gone, bye-bye” in her sweet little voice.

He rounded the corner of the stairs to share the mystery of Erika’s morning adventure outside. After hearing the story of the disappearing lady, Sara, our 4 year old, declared, “She’s an angel! She brought her back!” Brian responded “Your right Sara. She must be an angel, because I’ve never seen her before and she disappeared so quickly.” We took a moment to say a prayer, thanking the Lord for protecting Erika and a blessing be given to the angel that returned Erika safely. Then off to church we went with full hearts.

Has your desire ever taken you on a dangerous adventure like Erika that summer morning? She had a strong desire to go outside that morning, and she was inspired by the sunshine to go explore. All she needed for her adventure to begin was the courage to open the door and take that step out. In my previous post, The Journey, I talked about having the “courage to take the first step”, following through on the desires and inspirations the Lord places in your heart. Today I want to follow up with having the courage to challenge your hearts desire. Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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instructs: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Have you ever let your guard down? Have you ever regretted doing or saying something? My answer is a resounding “Yes!” I have reduced the regularity of such regrets and moments of a lax guard over my heart and mind with the Slide4practice of self-reflection and others to help keep me accountable in my walk with Christ. It takes courage to be honest with yourself and listen with an open heart when you ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any wickedness or pride that lingers. It takes courage to align your thought life to Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
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8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

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. Are my thoughts focused on whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? When I’m on a short time line and my family is on their own time line, my thoughts are not very lovely. Or when I’m driving and the drivers around me seem to have forgotten what it means to merge, yield, or go at a green light; I struggle to turn my thoughts to admirable truth. The natural human tendency is to pridefully elevate my needs above the needs of others. It takes courage to be selfless and keep my selfish desires in check.

I struggled with my desire to elevate myself above my husband in the situation of Eriblue-925209__340ka escaping on her adventure that summer morning. After all “He was responsible for her…she never would have got out if it was my responsiblity.” I’m thankful I had the courage to catch myself in the unloving thought pattern and to change it to one of praiseworthy thoughts before my thoughts became my words.

Luke 6:42Luke 6:42
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42 Or how can you tell your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck of chaff that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the beam that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye.

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“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

 

Have the courage to guard your heart and reflect on the purity of your desire.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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The Journey Continues…

What are you doing with the heartbeats you have been given?  Where is your life journey taking you?   Some of us are enjoying the ride and maintaining a steady heartbeat.  While others are holding on wondering what is around the next corner, with hearts beating out of their chest.  Wherever you’re at along this journey of life I know we have a common beginning- our first heartbeat in our mothers womb. It was there life began, our first heartbeat, undetected by our mothers but heard with anticipation by our Creator, God.  Experiencing life, as we now know it began later, with an audience, as we were ushered into this amazing world and naturally inhaled our first breath.  Take a moment to soak in the miracle of life.   As I emerged myself in the miracle of my life I became captivated by the realization of the intentionalness of God  in my life!  He alone heard my first heartbeat,  he gave me my first breath, and he heard my first cry.  The very thought left me breathless.  I was struck with wonder to reflect on his intimate connection with each of us.  We are his first and destined to be his for eternity. He alone was there for my firsts and I know He will also be there to usher my soul into eternity after my final dun-dunt and exhale.  His love brings me to my knees. Each of us is between our first and last so the question is “what are we doing with the heartbeats in-between?”

The “heartbeats in-betwee”n is our journey lived out in this world that is not our home but preparation for our eternal home. It says in Ecclesiastes 3:11Ecclesiastes 3:11
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11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their hearts, yet so that man can’t find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end.

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that the Lord has placed eternity in our

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The Journey

hearts. What does that mean? Some would say it is the “God shaped hole” in our hearts and others it is the underlying “knowing” in our soul that there is more beyond this life.

The purpose of having eternity placed in our hearts is to spark the desire to seek after the Lord, ignite the inspiration to live in connection with Him, and the courage to take each step on our journey.  Eternity in our hearts leads us to relationship with our Heavenly Father. Relationship with him changes our identity and redefines our purpose as we live out our “heartbeats in-between”.

When your identity changes from how the “world” defines you to who God has made you in His Son, Jesus Christ, your purpose is refocused on eternal relationships. Discovering your identity in Christ opens your heart to the desire to follow after him. It inspires you to choose him over this world and awakens the courage to follow in his footsteps.

Hebrews 12:1-3Hebrews 12:1-3
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12 1 Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him who has endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, that you don’t grow weary, fainting in your souls.

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says it best. It instructs us to be strong on our journey that is “marked out for us” by throwing off all that hinders and entangles us. Encouraging us to remain eternally focused with our eyes fixed on Jesus following his example. He traveled his life journey, his “heartbeats in-between”, with the “joy set before him”, the redemption of the world and his glorification at the right hand of God the Father.   Jesus’ life provided a road map dotted with crossroads where he chose to live for eternal reward rather than worldly recognition. He lived a sinless life of love, was not entangled by the opposition from sinners, endured the cross, and perfected our faith pioneering the path marked out for us to follow.

Why is it so hard to follow Christ’s example? Apostle Paul answers that well in Romans 7:14-25Romans 7:14-25
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14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin. 15 For I don’t know what I am doing. For I don’t practice what I desire to do; but what I hate, that I do. 16 But if what I don’t desire, that I do, I consent to the law that it is good. 17 So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For desire is present with me, but I don’t find it doing that which is good. 19 For the good which I desire, I don’t do; but the evil which I don’t desire, that I practice. 20 But if what I don’t desire, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. 21 I find then the law, that, to me, while I desire to do good, evil is present. 22 For I delight in God’s law after the inward man, 23 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will deliver me out of the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then with the mind, I myself serve God’s law, but with the flesh, the sin’s law.

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. He shares the struggle to do what he desires in his heart,  to delight the Lord, but he doesn’t always win the battle. He describes a war waging between his body (a prisoner to sin nature) and his mind (delighting in law of God), which he loses more than he would like. Can you relate to Paul’s struggle? I can! Too often I find myself daily wanting to do what is right but then find myself doing the very thing I did not want to do. The influence of our sin nature doesn’t stop just because we have a new identity in Christ. The battle rages and we must fight and purpose to keep our focus on Jesus the perfect source of our desire, inspiration, and courage to take each righteous step toward eternity.

It is so easy to get off course and follow after wrong desires, of the sin nature. I find I must have courage to honestly assess the source of my desire and inspiration to make wise daily choices of the direction I will move.  Can you relate to any of these choices?

  • To buy or not to buy..IMG_2048
  • To say or not to say…
  • To do or not to do…
  • To stay or to go…
  • To look or look away….
  • Now, later, or not at all…

Depending on the day and situation some choices are easier to make and stay on course. I have found that the more grounded I am in my identity in Christ the clearer the right choice. When I am seeking in stillness with the Lord I have greater desire, inspiration, and courage to follow through with the God honoring opportunities set before me.

I encourage you to take time this week to be still with the Lord, breath in His goodness, and be infused with his strength for each moment. He hears your heartbeat and will guide your steps as you listen to His heart.

What are you doing with your “heartbeats in-between”?

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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The Journey

You can take the first step!

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“Listen to your heartbeat”

When is the last time you took a moment to be quiet and listen for the sound of your heartbeat….dun dunt – dun dunt? Or experienced yourself breathe…the still air drawn in as it lifts your chest and extends your abdomen before the release…awe. I think it takes courage to be still with yourself.  I believe we don’t take enough time for stillness in our overstimulated lives,though that is just what we need.  Stillness before the Lord. Have you ever considered that our very life began with a heartbeat, followed by a breath of life that awakened the anticipation of our first step in life’s journey. I have learned the importance of being brave and taking the first step to be still with the Lord.  Because it is there that I find the courage for the next step of each journey even when the path is difficult or unclear.

Much like a child learning to walk, we are driven by the desire and inspiration that power our courage to take each step and keep get up when we fall.  I’m sure we family-822558__340each have an image in mind of a precious child taking their first steps. For me, it’s the twinkle in her eye that reveals a desire within to just get to her daddy’s hands. Because she’s inspired to be swept up into his safe and loving arms to celebrate her accomplishment or pick her up when she falls, she is courageous.  She trusts her daddy.

How trusting are you of your Abba Father?  I know the level of trust that I have of my Abba Father is reflected in the courage with which I live my life. Maybe you can relate?  It’s not a natural thing to be still before the Lord. But as I shared earlier I have learned to “just do it”, like the Nike motto inspires us.  I remember a time when

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“Just Do IT!”

I had to do just that- choose to be courageous.  The choice became evident one day when I was wrestling with the feeling that I was missing out on life. Part of me argued that missing out didn’t make sense because I was involved in so many “good” things for the kingdom. That argument won the first round.  I let the feeling linger just setting it aside as I trusted that it would pass while I kept doing “good” things.”  Then, unexpectedly, came round two as I was reading in my devo time.  There it was!  A message from Christ himself about how abundant life with him is intended to be something we experience now. (John 10:10John 10:10
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10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

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). I was missing out!  I was not experiencing much joy in my life, no matter what I did.

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John 10:10John 10:10
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10 The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

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To my knees I went.   I chose to be brave, to pray, and seek the Lord about why I was missing out on the abundant life he has for me. The feeling I had was a nudge to reflect and be still with the Lord. When I did, it become clear I had been letting the thief rob me without putting up a fight. I needed to be still with the Lord and delight in Him so He could refocus my desire, he could inspire me for His Kingdom, and cultivate my courage to step out with confidence as he shows me his ways. A verse that I turn to often is Psalm 25:4-5Psalm 25:4-5
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4 Show me your ways, Yahweh. Teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth, and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation, I wait for you all day long.

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. One day it literally kept me from a complete breakdown…but that faith adventure is for another time.

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Psalm 25:4-5Psalm 25:4-5
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4 Show me your ways, Yahweh. Teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth, and teach me, For you are the God of my salvation, I wait for you all day long.

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What is your desire?  Listen for it.  Where is your inspiration found?  Experience it as you breathe.  Are you living with courage? What steps are you taking to live out the desires and inspirations the Lord has placed in you?  No matter what your answers are, know that   you can find courage in the Lord.

We can be courageous and take the next step!   We need to just come to the Lord with childlike faith (Luke 18:17Luke 18:17
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17 Most assuredly, I tell you, whoever doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.”

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) even the size of a mustard seed (Mathew 17:20) and trust our Father in Heaven. In Psalm 37:4-6Psalm 37:4-6
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4 Also delight yourself in Yahweh, And he will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to Yahweh. Trust also in him, and he will do this: 6 He will make your righteousness go forth as the light, And your justice as the noon day sun.

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we are reminded that when we delight ourselves in the Lord he gives us the desires of our heart. How will you delight in the Lord today? This week?

Are you looking for renewed desire, inspiration, and more courage for your journey?

Can you relate to needing to be still with the Lord and just breathe? He is waiting!

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“You can take the first step with God!”

Please share how you spend time delighting in the Lord.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess  Sherry

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