Teaching Truth for Transformation

Exodus 3:11 – God can use You for His Glory

Exodus 3:11

God can use You for His Glory


Exodus 3:11 – But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”


God called Moses out of a burning bush to bring His people out of Egyptian bondage after 400 years.  Moses, of course, gives many excuses, but God’s command stood and Moses went.  Moses asked a good question though, “Who am I?”  At this time, he was 80 years old and had been in the desert for 40 years, tending sheep.  He murdered an Egyptian 40 years prior to this and ran for his life.  Then in God’s time, He called His servant to be the instrument He would use to free His people.  Moses was a meek man, Numbers 12:3, meaning he had power under the control and authority of God.  He knew there was nothing in him that would want God to call him.


In other words, Moses was humble and had a proper perspective of himself, though he had an anger problem and gave excuses.  The last part sounds like me!  All throughout the Bible, we see God calling men and women to serve Him and say things or do things or go somewhere.  Think of Noah who built the Ark. Think of Abraham, whom God called.  Think of Jonah, the rebellious prophet.  Think of David or Hezekiah, the Kings.  Think of Hannah or Mary, humble women of God.  Think of Saul of Tarsus who became Paul.  Think of Peter, who denied Jesus 3 times.  Think of James, the brother of Jesus who didn’t believe in Him until after the resurrection and became the leader in the Church in Jerusalem.  Many more examples could be given of people of different ages, from different backgrounds, different genders, both Jew and Gentile whom God called to do things for His glory.  Read Hebrews 11 to get more of a glimpse of this.  So what does this mean for us?


This means that despite our fallacies, weaknesses, education and money or lack thereof, cultural background, family situation and much more, that who God first calls to Himself, and He can use for His glory.  We often ask the same question Moses did, “Who am I?”  The answer is no one.  You may not like it, but that’s true.  I’m no one special.  While God does not need us for anything, He, by His grace calls us to salvation and service.  Imagine that!  The Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of the Universe gives us, His creation an opportunity to take part in His plan of Redemption foreordained before the foundation of the earth!  What could give more hope, more purpose and more wonder than that!  It will be expressed differently in and through people’s lives in different vocations and places.


No matter what we struggle with, God has given us victory in Christ and while we will sin, and say and do sinful things, He can use us and wants to.  Don’t get me wrong, we should repent when we sin because it hinders us and affects others, though it doesn’t imperil God.  You may say, “I have nothing to offer God.”  Neither do I!  Welcome to the Church!  “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”  When we recognize that all is by God’s grace, we will be willing and begin to be equipped to fulfill the calling God has in our lives, whatever that may be.  This is because, despite who and what we are and just like Moses, God can use you for His glory!

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Forgiveness

Ephesians 4:31-32



Ephesians 4:32 – Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor (loud quarreling), and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.


One of the most difficult things anyone can do is forgive.  We do not forgive for many reasons: 1) We think the other person should take initiative.  2) They hurt me.  3) They don’t deserve it.  4) We like our bitterness.  5) We “can’t” forgive.  6) They haven’t apologized, so why should I do anything?  7) I want to hurt them like they hurt me.  8) I need to prove I’m “stronger” and many more.  One way to describe forgiveness is “release.”  When we forgive, we release ourselves from the desire to “get back” at someone for hurting us.  I won’t get into the numerous ways people “hurt” us or offend us.  That’s not my point. My point is what we do with what is done to us.


Paul tells the Christians in Ephesus what a Christian “looks like” in their character.  Paul mentions bitterness, anger or malice, or things we do naturally when we get hurt, offended or if an expectation is not met.  We want to lash out, hold a grudge and hurt who has hurt us.  That is our sinful nature and it is evil!  This means forgiveness is supernatural.  Those who know how much they have been forgiven are more willing and able to forgive because they understand God’s grace and want to reflect that through the power of the Holy Spirit.  While some may forgive, for those who don’t know Christ, they can’t truly forgive because the capacity to do so is not there.


In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells a parable about how many times we are to forgive our brothers and the answer is 70 times 7, a Jewish way of saying, every time.  When we forgive, it is not that we deny or forget what is done, but we don’t hold it against them.  One who does not forgive does not hurt someone else as much as he/she hurts oneself.  Unforgiveness is a poison that seeps into every area of life and affects those we care about most.  Every time we don’t obey God and forgive, we add a “weight” to our life.  As these weights add up, the baggage damages us more as time goes on.  Though we forgive, it doesn’t mean things don’t need to change, nor does it mean we overlook sin or injustice.  Those who sin need to repent (Luke 17:3), as that is part of the process.  However, we should have the attitude of forgiveness and give them and the situation to God, rather than let bitterness arise in our hearts.  But because we forgive or release someone doesn’t mean there will always be reconciliation.  Reconciliation comes when someone repents and 2 people, groups, etc. come back together in fellowship.  Think of how powerful this is for a married couple.  If each forgives, their marriage will be very strong and able to get through any tough times.


How do I know if I have forgiven someone? One of my mentors said the way we know is if we can serve them with joy.  In many ways, forgiveness isn’t “releasing” someone else from what was done to us, but releasing ourselves from the bitterness and sin in our heart and giving everything to the Lord.  Sometimes it’s a process but it is ALWAYS a choice.  It’s not that we “can’t” forgive, but we won’t forgive.  How much have you been forgiven of?  Have we put away the things that are the foundation of unforgiveness Paul mentions: evil, wrath, slander and more?  Only when we understand God’s grace and forgiveness will we truly understand how to forgive.

The Dead Sea Scrolls



It was a January evening in 1947 when a few boys were looking after sheep in the area of the Dead Sea. One boy, Juma, decided to throw a rock into one of the thousands of caves in the cliffs, and to his surprise heard a crack of something breaking. The boys had to leave, but Muhammad, Juma’s cousin, the next morning returned to explore what they hoped was a vast treasure of money.


To his disappointment, the “only” things discovered were seven old manuscripts contained in many jars within that cave. Four of these scrolls ended up in Jerusalem’s St. Mark’s Monastery where scholars from the American School of Oriental Research examined them in great detail. The other three were sold to an archaeologist at the Hebrew University.


The word spread, and in 1949 many expeditions to the area were formed to search for more scrolls. This led to the discovery of 10 more caves, all containing scrolls. Scholars at that time (though additional research continues) studied the ruins of Qumran and those who lived there ––– possibly a sect called “Essenes” – establishing the origin of the scrolls at roughly 125 B.C. to A.D. 68 (though some are dated into the later second century).


The manuscripts appear to have been hastily stored in jars, probably because of the coming Roman army which stopped the Jewish revolts between A.D. 66-70. Archaeologists also discovered much about the lifestyle of these Jewish ascetics (those who separated themselves from society), along with a scriptorium where most of the scrolls were copied.  There are two types of scrolls – Biblical and non-Biblical, or “sectarian,” which describe the lives of those who lived there.


In February 1955, the seven original scrolls were placed into the Shrine of the Book – a special museum created to house these magnificent discoveries in Israel – at the Hebrew University. These include: a full copy of Isaiah; a partial copy of Isaiah; commentary on the first two chapters of Habakkuk; the Manual of Discipline; Thanksgiving Hymns; an Aramaic paraphrase of Genesis; and the Rule of War. This discovery is known today as the Dead Sea Scrolls.


The impact of this find cannot be overstated. Before this discovery, the manuscripts used to translate the Bible were called the Masoretic Texts, which date to roughly around A.D. 900. With the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars could compare the manuscripts to see how accurately they were transmitted more than 1,000 years prior to the Masoretic Texts. Thousands of fragments and more than 600 scrolls have been found in these 11 Qumran caves. Every book of the Old Testament, with the exception of Esther, has been found, with additional scrolls as well. Much to the scholars’ surprise, the similarity of these two sets of manuscripts was astonishing, with only minor variations such as style and spelling. This is just one of the evidences that God has preserved His word down through the centuries. We can trust His word and we can trust Him!

Acts 19:19-20 – Are Christians Called to Change Culture?

Acts 19:19-20

Are Christians Called to Change Culture?


Acts 19:19-20 – Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.  And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.


God did the miraculous through Paul in Ephesus like healing the sick and casting out demons.  Some Jewish exorcists wanted to try the same thing by using the Name of Jesus, with no faith, Acts 19:11-14.  The demons said they didn’t know these exorcists and the possessed man jumped on them and ripped off their clothing and injured them.  This became known and many believed and the Name of Christ was magnified, 19:15-18.  One of the results of believing was the burning of the occultic books, totaling 50,000 days wages!  That’s astounding!  They burned them because of their faith in Christ.  Culture was changed because the hearts of the people were changed!


We do not find in Scripture that Christians are called to change culture or society.  It’s not in there, despite the attempts, books and messages by some who say we are to do so.  Christians should address social and moral issues like abortion, homosexuality, poverty, marriage and more because those are Biblical issues.  We should vote and be involved in the legal process and praise God we live in a country that allows us to do this, for now.  But, some are too focused on “changing culture” and make plans, strategies and have ministries honed in on this.  God’s plan is different because some focus on changing society, they forget the people who live in that society.  God has not called us to change culture, but proclaim the Gospel, through which God changes lives, Romans 1:16 and make disciples, Matthew 28:18-20.  By doing this, people are changed and when people are changed, culture or society will change!


Culture or society is made up of individuals who believe certain things and have specific practices.  These individuals make up families, who in turn, grow up to work in the various vocations: education, government, entertainment, business, medicine and more.  This is what makes up any culture or society.  People cannot be dissected from living within that culture.  Yes, the past and “tradition” affects people and cultures as they hold on to certain practices common to them, which can be good or bad.  For example, many cultures have their own holidays. America has Thanksgiving, which others do not have.  But don’t forget, that it is people who celebrate this day, not a culture separated from people.


The ONLY way to change culture is for people to change.  By the way, people don’t lose their “culture” when they become a Christian.  Jewish people who believe do not cease to be Jewish nor does an Asian believer cease to be Asian and each has their “traditions,” though some need to change.  However, when their heart is changed, their response to sin and the wrong traditions within their culture will change. Rome changed from the inside out as Christians lived the Christian life in the first few centuries after Christ.  One example is at Ephesus.  These individuals, who focus on the Lord, His ways and His truth and proclaim and live that truth in love, will be the means God uses to change people by His grace thus changing the culture.  The same goes for us today.

The “House of David” Stone

Other than Jesus Himself, perhaps no other Biblical character has been attacked as often in regards to his existence as King David. Critics for many years stated he did not exist and the Bible could not be trusted in regards to its historical references to Israel’s greatest king. This all changed in 1993 when a stela (fragment of stone) was found in Tel Dan, in northern Israel, written in Aramaic and dated to the mid-ninth century (800s) B.C. and is stored today in the Israel Museum.


This basalt stela became known as the “House of David” stone, because lines 7-8 record a message from an Aramean King who claims he defeated the “king of Israel” from the Northern Kingdom and the “king of the House of David” from the Southern Kingdom, and captured Dan, a town in the far north of Israel. It’s important to remember that the Kingdom split in two after the death of King Solomon about 931 BC (1 Kings 11:40), which is why two different kings are noted on this black stone.

This was an extremely important find, though doubted by some. Most scholars hold that this stone refers to the probable campaign of Hazael of Damascus, who defeated Jehoram in Israel and Ahaziah in Judah. References for these kings are found in 2 Kings 8-9 and 2 Chronicles 22:5. Historically, there were many conflicts between Damascus and Israel at this time, as recorded in 1 Kings 15, which is why this discovery is of such significance.

David was Israel’s greatest king. His life is recorded in 1 Samuel 16 to 1 Kings 2, and 1 Chronicles 10:14-29:30. He was a shepherd boy, the sweet Psalmist of Israel, of the tribe of Judah, anointed king by the prophet Samuel. After many years of being pursued by King Saul, David eventually became king and united the 12 tribes of Israel in the Promised Land. In 2 Samuel 7, God gave David an unconditional promise, or covenant, that one of his descendants would always sit on the throne, ruling Israel. Though David sinned greatly at times, and repented accordingly, God called him a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). David was and is the premiere king for the nation of Israel and beloved, then and today.

David ruled for four decades: “And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem” (1 Kings 2:11).

When studying the kings of Israel and Judah, we find references that David’s descendants were compared to him. King Asa is compared to David in 1 Kings 15:11: “And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.” Likewise, in 2 Chronicles 29:2, King Hezekiah, “…did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done.” David was the pattern for all of the kings descended from him, fulfilled in his greater Son, King Jesus.

Truly the rocks cry out proclaiming the reliability of the Bible. This is not only a testimony to Israel’s greatest earthly king, but also to Jesus the Messiah, the King of Kings who came and will come again to unite His people Israel under His Kingdom, fulfilling all of His promises to them. He is a descendent of the tribe of Judah, the Son of David, the fulfillment of the covenant promise God gave to King David.

We read in Luke 1:26-33: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.’”


Written by Michael Weis, a Bible Teacher, Missionary, and Manager of Social Media at Zion’s Hope.

The Pontius Pilate Stone

Pontius Pilate is an interesting individual, particularly when it comes to the Biblical narrative. As is often the case, there was a time when scholars and skeptics questioned the historicity of this man, denying the reliable accounts found in the New Testament.

Then in 1961, an Italian archaeologist was excavating in a Caesarea Maritma ampitheater and discovered a limestone block with three lines still visible.


Line one: Tiberieum,

Line two: …tius Pilatus

Line three: …ectus Iuda

Translation: Tiberius (Caesar at that time, to which the amphitheater was dedicated), (Pon)tius Pilate, (Pre)fect of Judea.

Scholars acknowledge this is the only known written historical record of the man Pontius Pilate. It was written in Latin and dated to about A.D. 30, as well as some bronze coins found dated from that same time. The original is now in the Israeli Museum, and a copy is at Caesarea Maritima for tourists to see.

Historically, Pilate was appointed as governor of Judea in A.D. 26. He dealt with financial, military, and civil matters. Pilate moved to Caesarea at that time, though his legal authority extended to Jerusalem. While the Jews had some freedom of self-legislation, any legal matters that involved the death penalty had to go through Roman authority, which at the time was Pontius Pilate. Though Pilate did some horrible things in regards to the Jewish people, the Jewish leaders had to bring their case against Jesus to him.

The Gospels record that Pilate was in Jerusalem during the time of Passover, to maintain civil order with the hordes of people traveling there for the Feast. The four Gospel accounts – Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19 – tell us of his encounter with the Jewish leaders and Jesus. Despite his wife’s dream and his attempts to sway the Jewish leadership and people, they continued to cry out for Jesus to be crucified. Pilate washed his hands of the situation and called for the crucifixion of their King.

In addition to the Bible, the Roman historian Tacitus, in his book the Annals, notes that Jesus was crucified when Tiberius was the emperor Rome and Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea (Annals xv. 44). Two Jewish writers, Josephus and Philo of Alexandria, also write about this man, showing further evidence that the Biblical account is historically accurate.

This stone is important as it not only shows the historical validity of Pontius Pilate, but encourages Christians to trust the Bible. While the Holy Spirit confirms His truth in our hearts and lives, it is also important to learn the historical reliability of the Bible and to tell others about it. Are we doing that?

Acts 18:24-26 – Wrong Religion or Right Relationship

Acts 18:24-26

Wrong Religion or Right Relationshiplift-high-the-cross-1311747-1918x1356


Acts 18:24-26 – Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.  This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.  So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue.  When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.


This Jew born in an Egyptian city with a large Jewish population knew the Old Testament or the “way of the Lord” and properly proclaimed the morality, ethics and truth of the Mosaic Law.  He may have even proclaimed Messiah was coming?  He was accurate in what he spoke, but limited in only knowing the baptism of John the Baptist.  This was a baptism of repentance in preparation for the Messiah and wasn’t the baptism one partakes of after salvation, which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 28:18-20.  He was in the Synagogue, where Jews would go to hear the Old Testament scrolls read and explained and where there would be “guest speakers” at times.  A Christian couple, Aquila and Priscilla heard him, took him aside as to not humiliate him and explained salvation to him and that Messiah had come.  He proclaimed truth, but it was incomplete.  He had religion, but no relationship with the Messiah.


The Jews of the first century had many religious practices.  They would pray, give, go to Synagogue, hear God’s word explained and of course they had the sacrificial system given to them in the Mosaic Law.  Yet, most did not know the One who gave them those things.  How sad.  Today there are numerous religions in the world.  A religion could be defined as a person or group holding to a set of teachings as true.  These include what they believe and various practices that are done.  There are thousands in the world and they vary on their teachings and practices, but all have 1 thing in common – they are ALL based on “working your way to heaven.”  Without exception, all man made religion in history is man’s faulty attempt to reach a god they have created, that they want to reach or find favor with or appease.


This is an offense to the true and living God, who provided 1 way of salvation – by His grace through faith in the promised Messiah, Jesus who died on a cross for sin, was buried and physically arose 3 days later and by faith in HIM, we can be saved. Christianity can be defined as a “religion” with its teachings and practices, but is more often described as a “relationship.”  While this is true, we must remember that any relationship is based on objective, true information and knowledge about the one known.  This also includes God.  We cannot know Him without knowing something about Him.  It’s a concept we are forgetting and we MUST remember.  Every human has a relationship with God – as His enemy or as His child.  Man made religion leads to eternal damnation and only knowing the truth about Jesus and putting your faith in Him to establish the right relationship with God, can you be forgiven and reconciled or brought back into a right relationship to God.  Many know about Jesus, but do not know Him!  The difference in mere knowledge is repentance and faith or belief in Him.  Have you repented and do you believe?  Do you have wrong religion or a right relationship?

Acts 16:6-7 – Need Doesn’t Necessarily Determine Direction

Acts 16:6-7

Need Doesn’t Necessarily Determine Direction


Acts 16:6-7 – Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.  After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.


This was during Paul’s second missionary journey with Silas.  They traveled towards Asia Minor, modern day Turkey and God forbid them to go.  Why?  Didn’t these people need to hear the Gospel?  Of course they did.  Everyone does.  But, though there was a need, God didn’t want them to go that way.  God would get the Gospel to those areas, but not through Paul, nor the way Paul thought.  He wanted these 2 men to go to Macedonia, which He showed them in a vision soon after this, see verse 9.


There are needs all around us every day.  The poor need help, people are in pain and there will always be children with swollen stomachs that need food, abused women, addictions and people on the street.  Should the Body of Christ help them?  Absolutely!  The Church should do everything possible to appropriately help those in need through ministries within each local Church and specific ministries dedicated to providing both the spiritual and physical needs as God leads.  We must remember that we are not to enable irresponsibility or sin.  In addition, because there is a need, it doesn’t necessarily mean God is leading someone to go in a specific direction to fill that need.


Can God put in someone’s mind to create a ministry to help pregnant unwed women?  Completely!  Most ministries have begun this way.  We should listen to those things in our hearts and pray, study and seek the Lord.  He may be leading someone to create a unique or specific ministry to people or an area.  Numerous great ministries have been founded based on a need that God leads someone into.  Yet, how often do people use only emotions to try and guide them or others into supporting or starting a “ministry?”  Some use manipulation in order to support their own vision and not God’s. We must be willing for God to say, “No.”  Paul and Silas wanted to go one way, but were willing to hear the opposite and listened to the Spirit of God and submitted to Him to lead and not the need.  If they went the way God didn’t want them to go, not only would they have disobeyed God, but things would have been far different and they would not have shared the Gospel with those God wanted them to share it with.  God obviously would have found another way but chose Paul and Silas to go.  This is so important to remember today, particularly when those on social media are crying out for support.  No doubt some are legitimate, while others merely want to contact others to ask for money while not ministering to anyone but themselves.


There was a need in Macedonia too!  The need is determined by God, not man.  God’s plan was that Paul and Silas not go Asia or Bithynia.  How about us?  Do we focus on what we think is a need so much we forget or neglect what God says is the true need?  It is our “vision” or God’s direction?  We must be wise.  Paul and Silas were wise, discerning and listened to God’s word, as we should with prayer and Scripture, which is God’s word because we will find that, though there are times when it will happen, the need doesn’t necessarily determine our direction in life.


Acts 4:12 – Don’t Try Jesus

Acts 4:12

Don’t “Try Jesus”

Acts 4:12 – Nor is their salvation in any other, for there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Peter, John and others have been brought before the Sanhedrin, the religious counsel of the day, because they preached Jesus and the resurrection.  Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit, preaches the Messiah to them and says there is no other Name anyone can be saved.  That is, Jesus is the only way of salvation.  This is the way it has always been.  Those in the Old Testament were saved by grace through faith just as we are today, under what they understood.  God pointed to the death of Christ as a sacrifice in the Garden of Eden when He shed an animal’s blood providing covering to Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:21.  The sacrificial system in the Mosaic Law pictured the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God who would come to take away the sin of the world.

In the world today, while Christians believe this is true, we have belittled this truth by using the pithy and demeaning phrase “Try Jesus.”  This is said perhaps in an attempt to reach people, but it conveys the wrong idea.  Jesus is not a brand of shoe, show, drink or food to see if we like Him or not.  This phrase conveys this thought because we live in a society of market driven philosophy.  We treat the Lord of Glory as a commodity, the Holy One of Israel as “something to try” to see if we like Him or not.  This is nothing short of blasphemy.  You may think I’m going too far with this… but think about this for a moment.

This needs to be repented of immediately.  Would Paul, Peter, John or others in the New Testament say something like, “Try Jesus.”  Imagine Isaiah in chapter 6 of his prophecy, where he confesses he is a man of unclean lips and lives among a people of unclean lips.  Imagine him who hears the Lord is “holy, holy, holy” from the lips of the seraphim.  Imagine him who saw the Lord high and lifted up with His glory filling the Temple of Solomon saying “Try the LORD.”  NO.  He never would have said that and nor should we.  What about John the Baptist.  Would he tell someone to “Try Jesus?”  How about the martyred saints down through history and even today?  Do they tell people to “Try Jesus?”  No.  This is only done in a society that has so much to choose from, thinking it is all equal, where absolutes are called ignorant opinion and experience is more important than truth.  We believe in Him or not, trust Him or not and put our faith in Him or not.  No matter what we do or don’t do, say or don’t say, believe or don’t believe it doesn’t change who He is!

He is not a fad, but God Almighty, the only One who can change the heart and the only One who has risen physically from the dead and returning again, as Peter said.  He is the Lord of glory, whether or not we admit it.  He is the only way of salvation.  There is NO other way.  He is not someone or something we “try” but someone we bow before in humility and love, in repentance and faith trusting in Him alone by his grace.

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