March 19, 2015

Strength For The Struggle

168276_4870051714587_1561016016_n(Mitch and me today)

I was a single parent until my son was five years old. Those were difficult days on many levels. Most of the time I felt tried and overwhelmed by all my responsibilities. There was no one to share them with me—no one to worry with, plan with or give a bath to my son when I just needed a break.

To make matters worse, we lived in an upstairs duplex. When my son was a baby, it was a daily challenge getting him, his diaper bag and groceries upstairs all at once. I didn’t want to leave him in the house or the car alone so I learned how to pack on the items. Once I climbed to the top of the stairs, my next challenge was unlocking the door. Eventually, I stopped locking my door all together. Not safe, I know, but when you’re a single paren you do the best you can.

Most days I felt like the whole world rested on my shoulders. While I tried to carry the load, I knew I was too weak. The load was crushing me, and yet, I continued to fight. I tried harder. I had too. I had to be strong. If I put down the load, who was going to pick it up?

One day, I came across a familiar verse that spoke to me in a new way.

“My grace is sufficient for you, My strength is make perfect in weakness.”

Suddenly, I realized that my situation was an avenue for me to experience God’s strength. I didn’t have to put on a brave face. I didn’t have to pretend to be made of steal. I simply needed to surrender my weakness to God in exchange for His strength.

This is what Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12:7. He prayed repeatedly about a difficult situation in his life asking the Lord to take it from him. God responded, “My grace is sufficient.” The good news is His grace is enough for you and me too.

If I’ve learned anything in my walk with God it’s that he may or may not remove our circumstances, but He will provide what we need to succeed. He gives us Himself, His power, His strength and His wisdom. God knows what we need before we ask Him, and He’s willing and ready to provide.

When I surrendered my situation to God, my circumstances didn’t change right away but I had a renewed sense of God’s Presence and power in my life. I no longer felt alone. My eyes were opened to God’s activity in the life of my son and me. I felt equip with power to achieve my daily tasks.

That’s not all. I also noticed that Paul not only surrendered his struggles to God, but he adopted a positive attitude as well. “I will boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (1 Cor 12:9).

I’ll be honest. Surrendering my circumstances to God and experiencing his strength in my weakness was more help than me grumbling about my singleness. Complaining was a dead end for me. Boasting in what God can do in me infused my faith causing me to depend on God’s strength more and more. His promise became a reality in my life. For when I am weak, He is strong!

In facing our struggles and fears, it’s vital that we yield completely to God. When we do, God can use our burdens as an avenue for His power and grace.                                                                                                                                                                        

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March 16, 2015

Prayer Brings Peace/Winner Announced

Congratulations to our winner, Amber Chapais at nishgirl_17_411@hotmail.com! You’ve won a free copy of Life Unstuck, by Pat Layton!!

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Fear is one area of our lives where we feel stuck. Because fear is such a powerful emotion, it’s hard to become unstuck. God must have knew we’d struggle in this area so He gave us Philippians 4:6-9. I love this passage of scripture because it gives us tools we can use to loosen fears grip and experience real peace. Consider these words:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peacewill be with you.”

These promises tell us…

1. When you feel anxious—pray. When you turn your thoughts toward God and his great love, power, and majesty, your fears will shrink in comparison. Plus, you can’t focus on your worries and God at the same time.

2. Guard your heart and mind by memorizing scripture. The power of God’s promises will soothe your troubled heart.

3. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

For example: If you think, “I can’t do this job. I should quit.” Replace it with “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

4. Finally, do what Jesus does. Put your faith in God and the peace of God will go with you.

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March 13, 2015

Experience A Life Unstuck/Giveaway

“When did my life fall so far out of balance?” I screamed while seraching through piles of papers on my desk and under my desk. My husband came to the top of the stairs to see what all the madness was about.

“I can’t find the papers I need.” I complained.

“Don’t you have that information on your Mac?”

“Yes, but I can’t reprint it because I forgot to pick of ink for the printer.”

“Micca” my husand said tenderly. “What you need is a life coach.” He was right. I was over scheduled, over committed, and overwhelmed. At some point, I had become stuck in a rut and couldn’t get out. Sound familiar?

Good news! My dear friend, Pat Layton, has written a book called, Life Unstuck. Through her book, Pat has become my life coach, leading me through scipture, helping me find balance, and teaching me to fall in love with God all over again. Today, I’m interviewing Pat about her book. And, I’M GIVING AWAY A COPY! Leave a comment below to enter to win!

51sInXYb1BL._AA160_ 1. Pat, what led you to write your book Life Unstuck?

Life Unstuck is the result of over 30 years of life transformation! My first time reading Psalm 139 as a new Christian, led me on a journey to personal healing from a very broken past that had climaxed in having an abortion at age 23. God used the 24 verses of Psalm 139 to show me His redeeming love and grace and those words became the roots God used to lead me into full time ministry. Very soon after receiving my own healing God led me to open Tampa, Florida’s first crisis pregnancy center and write what is now an international post abortion recovery curriculum called Surrendering the Secret published by Lifeway in 2008. A few years ago God began to stir the Life Unstuck message in my heart which resulted in this new book!

2. What’s different about Life Unstuck compared to all the other books out there about God?

Life Unstuck is basically a life coaching, life FREEDOM plan using the 24 verses of Psalm 139! In this prayer/poem David addresses God in a direct and personal manner using the pronoun “YOU” 11 times twisted together with the use of the word “ME” 13 times! Life Unstuck breaks down this interaction between David and God and shows us how to apply it’s rich revelation to our own lives.

3. Your book is filled with scriptural truth. Can you share a sample or two of these verses and why you chose them?

Verse one kicks off the rich depths of Psalm 139 and prepares us for a deep dive. “Oh Lord you have SEARCHED ME and you KNOW ME!” David gets us at “hello”. God knows you, He sees you. Everything about you! How you think, how you talk, where go and who you go with! At first look, I was not so sure this was actually GOOD NEWS! I have done a whole lot of stuff in my lifetime that I don’t like thinking about being in front of a Holy God. As I have allowed God to work this verse out in my life and heart, I have come to find complete hope and peace in those words, God KNOWS me and Loves me Still!

4. Who did you write your book for? Who can benefit from this message?

My dedication page is “for the woman who secretly suspects there is nothing more but desperately dreams there is. The bottom line is, this book is ONLY those women who ever find themselves STUCK somewhere in life—relationships, finances, marriage, ministry, parenting….ONLY HER! J

5. What was your goal when you started writing Life Unstuck? Was it achieved?

My hearts desire with this book is to share the good and complete love of God with every woman who reads my book. I want her to know “God SEES YOU and has a plan for your peace, purpose and passion”! I also hope to inspire a feeling of community and conversation with other women. Yes, it was achieved, at least for me because I FEEL that already from this book!

6. What do you feel is the greatest obstacle people must overcome in order to make a deep relationship with God a priority?

Overwhelmed schedules and misplaced commitment. In other words, letting life AROUND of God overtake life IN Him!

7. What has been the biggest answer to your own prayers in the writing and publishing process of Life Unstuck?

My own reminders and recapture of the truths found in the 24 verses of Psalm 139.

8. How has Life Unstuck changed YOU?

The year of writing Life Unstuck was by far the toughest year of my journey as a Christian. I lost friends. I lost identity. I lost family physical closeness as each of my children and Grandchildren moved away from home. I even moved from my own home of over 20 years. My foundations were all rocked one by one, BUT GOD! As I dug into these verses every single day, by ORDER of a contracted deadline, God changed me. He unstuck me from many areas of bondage and burden that I never knew where keeping me away from my next adventure with Him. I re-learned that He sees me and has a plan for my life—a good plan. A God plan!

9. What is your prayer for anyone who reads Life Unstuck?

My hearts desire is that every woman who reads Life Unstuck will fold the last page of the book with a smile on her face and a feeling of peace, purpose and passion. I pray she is a different woman from the one who opened the first page. The foundational truths found in Psalm 139 are never “mastered” this side of heaven. We always need to be reminded of them and to re-embrace them, regardless of our level of spiritual maturity or experience. I pray that the Unstuck Manifesto becomes worn from wear and a part of her very core!

10. What are some practical ways your readers can implement the principles found in Life Unstuck

Life Unstuck provide the reader with personal hands on tools and exercises that will help them gain deeper insight into the one of a kind woman God created her to be; provide very specific steps for confronting the past in a healthy way; offer her steps to take for developing a more intimate relationship with Christ; help her intentionally discover her purpose in life TODAY just as she is living it and stir her heart and mind towards dreaming big God sized dreams for her future.

Thank, you, Pat for sharing your heart and passion with us today. I know your book will be a blessing!

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March 6, 2015

God Calls And Confrims

“What If I didn’t hear God correctly?” I asked my husband a bazillions times—maybe more. It was the topic of discussion each night at dinner. One evening, just as I was about to sing the same song, he interrupted me in mid-chorus and insisted I talk it over with our pastor.

Anyone called of God has asked him/herself this question at one time or another. At least that’s what my pastor communicated when I finally dumped all my doubts and fears onto his lap one Tuesday afternoon. He was patient. Listened carefully, and then, shared his wisdom. His words were comforting to my anxious soul. I’d like to share with you what I learned.

First, Ministry is not something you and I choose. God does the choosing. Notice how Paul was called in 2 Timothy 1:1, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus.”

Paul became an apostle of Christ by the will of God. We can choose to do any other profession on earth, but ministry. To do ministry, you must be called and chosen by God. Once you’re certain of your call…doubt will turn to confidence.

You and I should be able to pinpoint a certain time when we heard/sensed the call of God. According to my pastor, we should write the experience down. There will be times when ministry gets hard. Doubts can settle in and you’ll need to go back to this moment for encouragement and confirmation to press on. I’m going on 15 years of ministry and I can tell you I followed this advice and very glad I did.

Secondly, God will work in unexplainable ways to confirm your call through circumstances and through others.

I’m married to an accountant with a personality. When I first began sharing with my husband, what I believed God was doing in my personal relationship with Him, he wasn’t completely on board. It was as new to him as it was to me. Looking back, I recognize that God had to speak to Pat in terms he could understand. As for me, I had to be patient.

Upon my pastor’s advice, I returned to our community college to enroll in classes. Since I had been a housewife for many years, it was a good idea. At the time, I didn’t even know how to use a computer!

My husband was sweet to go with me the day I registered. I filled out all the required papers with my birthday, name, both married and maiden, home address, you know, the usual. Then we sat in the office of administration for a long while before the young man, who took my papers, returned.

“Mrs. Campbell?” he inquired.

“Yes?” I answered.

“According to our records your first semester has already been paid.”

“What? How can that be?” I asked. My husband’s ears perked up too.

“When we put your information into the computer, it showed that in 1983 you had signed up for school, paid for a full semester, but never attended.” The boy explained.

He was right. After graduation, I had intended on going to school. Instead I met a really cute guy and ran off and got married. (That’s a story for another time.)

Now, many years later, the school was willing to honor my payment for the semester I never took.

My husband stood to his feet. “Son,” he started. “I’m an accountant and that doesn’t make sense. That payment would have been returned or written off the books years ago. There’s no way it should still be in your files.”

“We agree with you, sir.” Said the young man. “But it is there and my authority said to honor it.”

The car ride home was silent. Eventually, I asked, “Isn’t it nice to have my first semester paid for?”

“Uhhuh.” He mumbled. And that was that.

A few days later, Pat came around and said he was on board with whatever God was doing. When I asked what convinced him, he said it was what happened at the school that day.

Up until then, it hadn’t dawned me. God used that situation to speak to Pat in a language he could understand—mathematics. It was enough to convince him that God was up to something grand. We’ve enjoyed the ride ever since.

When God is calling you, He’ll confrim the call through your circumstances, His Word, sermons, and others. Often, other people can see your call before you can. Listen, walk through the open doors, and before you know it you’ll be right smack dab in the middle of God’s purpose for your life.

One last thought: God doesn’t call us to do great things, but He does great things in and through the servant fully yielded to Him and His will.

If you feel God is calling you into the ministry, you’ll want to check out She Speaks Conference 2015. You’ll walk away equipped and confident in your calling. I’ll be there. I hope to see you there too!

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March 4, 2015

Change Isn’t Always Bad

Growing up my pastor used to say, “Nobody likes change except a wet baby.”images-2

Change is difficult. We don’t like change in our relationships, our health, or in our jobs. We don’t like getting older. We don’t want our children to move away from us, and we don’t like changing times. Even if it’s good for us change is painful. It takes adjustments and new attitudes. It can be uncomfortable and scary.

Of course not all change is good. There’s loss, divorce, getting fired, or laid-off. Then again, change can have positive affects on us. They can even bring blessings. The bible is full of stories about change and how people adapted for the good.

Take Abraham for example. God asked him to make some significant changes. He also promised Abraham significant promises and blessings.

“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”

The changes God put before Abram were: Leave your native country; leave your relatives, and your father’s family. He was to make these changes without knowing where the Lord was taking him. For most, that would cause great anxiety.

My children played sports so our summers were mainly spent at a ballpark rather than on sandy beaches or at the Grand Cannon.

One summer, our son’s baseball team lost in the early round of their tournament. That left us with one week before school started with nothing to do. I suggested we pack for the beach, jump in the car, and take off to Florida. We didn’t have any reservations but I was certain we’d find somewhere to stay.

My husband didn’t share in my excitement of an unplanned adventure. Not knowing where we would land filled him with anxiety. He couldn’t switch gears and adjust to the idea so quickly. He examined all the possibilities as to why the plan wasn’t a good idea. I talked him into it anyway. And he fretted the whole way there.

Once we arrived, found a place to stay, and were sitting on the warm sandy beach his anxiety melted away.

“This is a nice change of scenery.” He said to me while sipping a diet coke. I looked at him and grinned. Then folding my arms behind my head I leaned back in my chair.

“Yep. It’s gonna be a blessed week after all.”

Abram had no idea where he was going. Everything he knew was left behind. It was a painful change. Many uncomfortable adjustments had to be made if he chose to obey God and step out in faith. But that’s just what he did and the change paid off.

Take a look at God’s promises to Abram. “I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

That’s quite the exchange don’t you think? Abram thought so. He considered the change, weighed the pain and adjustments, and concluded that the blessings were worth it.

I don’t know what kind of changes you may be facing now or what’s coming down the road, but I encourage you not to stop short of the cost. Consider the blessings.

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January 20, 2015

It’s Not About Me

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There’s something wrong with today’s Christianity.

Recently, I was strolling through a bookstore in search of the perfect cookbook to give my mother as a gift. As I made my way to the back of the store where the cookbooks are shelved, I couldn’t help noticing the number of books that were written about me! That’s right, me.

Title after title was about my purpose, my pain, my dreams, and my spiritual success. Last I checked having Jesus was spiritual success. He was all I needed!

I understand God is a personal God who cares about the details. I’m thankful for that in my own personal relationship with Him. On the other hand, while Scripture clearly assures us of God’s love and blessings, the main focal point is not about us. It’s about God. In fact, Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, opens with this. “It’s not about you.”

His book is probably the most honest about our purpose than any other I’ve read. It’s simple.

You and I were created by God, for God. He is a holy God and His ways are right and true. Our main purpose is to glorify Him.

In Isaiah 43:7 God says, “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

In 1 Corinthians 10:31 we read, ” So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

If this is true, and it is, why are there so many messages, books, and conferences about this topic?

Could it be that we’ve switched or confused the principle of “doing God’s will” with “fulfilling my purpose?” Isn’t doing the will of God our purpose? Why are we making this so hard? The bible is clear about our purposefulness.

We are to glorify God by being obedient to His will. We are called to…

  • Love God and love others
  • Be a shinning light in our dark world
  • Share the gospel with others

The list is long. And it’s more than enough to keep us busy, satisfied, and fulfilled.

I use to think that God’s purpose for my life was to fulfill my dreams or make me successful. It is not. God’s purpose isn’t to make me healthy, wealthy, and happy either. Nor is His purpose always bright and wonderful as you and I imagine.

What if God’s purpose is pain, loss, or tragedy? Sometimes it is. And when it is our purpose remains the same.

We look to some end when the purpose of our lives is NOW. This minute. It’s the journey of growing and becoming more and more like Christ. When our focus is Jesus everything else takes care of itself.

One of Satan’s biggest schemes is to turn our attention toward self instead of God. Why? It’s to steal God’s glory and stunt the spiritual growth of men and women. I fear this has been our path for a long while. Let’s turn the tide. Let’s be courageous. Let’s commit to the message. Jesus is our purpose. He is the answer.

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I asked my friend, Lisa Whittle, to read this before I posted it because we have similar heart beats. I’ve included a short paragraph of her words. She says it so much better than me.

“I could not agree more about all the books, all the emphasis on worth, even. I’m tired of that conversation because what fruit does it produce? We feel better for awhile, during a retreat, etc, but then we sink back when life goes on as normal and we are again caught up in our insecurities and thoughts. I believe we do give way too much time and attention on ourselves. All the self-help books, seminars on how to be the best whatever, it’s all “me” focused and God is the hopeful result of all our working on ourselves. The problem is: we have it turned around. If we would just pursue God we would be naturally better. This is why I wrote, I Want God.”

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I highly recommend Lisa’s book. It stirred my heart and created a deep desire for God alone. If you’re tried of you, take a fresh look at God.

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January 1, 2015

A New Year Blessing

Happy New Year, friends!

You know, the great thing about walking with God in life is that there is always the opportunity to start anew – God always offers us a new day and a new dawn, no matter what has gone before. At the start of the New Year, why not take a moment to thank Him for last year, ask His forgiveness for where you have failed, and dedicate this new year to Him – to serve Him and love Him afresh.

Below is a beautiful blessing I came across. It is my prayer for you and me this coming New Year!

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December 29, 2014

Winner Announced!

Dear Friends, Thank you for your patience. I know I said I would announce the winner of the NIV Daily Devotional Bible for Women on Friday, but I came down with the flu on Christmas morning. I’ll spare you the unpleasant details. But, needless to say, I was checked out for a while.

The good news is it’s day 5 and I feel much better. I’m well enough to announce the winner of the devotional bible! Yay!

The lucky winner is Linda at dogmom623@gmail.com

Congratulations, Linda! May you use this bible to hide God’s Word in your heart. It will never lead you down the wrong path but take you places you never thought possible. It will lead you to the heart of God!

 

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December 24, 2014

All Is Well

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Merry Christmas! I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t know what brought you to my blog today. Maybe you’re searching for hope. Maybe you clicked over after reading my devotion, God Is With Us. Whatever the reason is, know this. You have been prayed for. I thought about you as I wrote this post. I don’t claim to know what you’re experiencing at the moment, but God does. And I have asked Him to meet you here, to love on you, and to encourage you that all is well no matter your situation.

You may know the song, All Is Well, by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Michal W. Smith. If not, it goes like this.

All is well, all is well;

Lift up your voice and sing,

Born is now Emmanuel,

Born is our Lord and Savior,

Sing Alleluia, sing Alleluia, all is well.

To many that song is comforting at Christmas time. Yet, others are unable to absorb the message because “all is not well” in their lives. Perhaps their lives are in turmoil. Or maybe they’ve recently experienced the loss of a loved one, a job, or their health. Depression consumes them and the cry of their heart is… “All is not well for me!”

Perhaps this is the cry of your heart this Christmas Eve.

If so, you are not alone in your pain. God is beside you and He has promised to never leave you (Hebrews 13:50). He is, Immanuel, God is with us.

He promises that His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9).

He promises to meet all your needs (Phil 4:19).

He also promises you the amazing gift of eternal life (John 10:27-28).

And let’s not forget that there is nowhere we can go that God is not already there (Ps 139).

NIVRealLifeDevotionalBible_1024x1024God’s Word is full of His promises to you and me. As believers, we are spiritually wealthy because of the exceedingly great promises we have in Jesus, our Savior. Because we have His guarantee, we can be certain that no matter what, in Christ, all is well. Hold on, friend. Hold on to His precious promises and though it seems dark now, soon you will sing, “All is well because of my God and His promises.”

Because the bible is full of God’s promises to you, I’m giving away a copy of the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Women. Leave a comment to enter to win. The winner will be announced on Friday.

May you experience the love and promises of God this season and all year long.

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December 12, 2014

Read Through the Bible in a Year with Wendy Pope!

Have you ever read the entire bible? When someone asked me that question years ago I blushed. I felt guilty for not reading the entire bible, but MERCY! It’s a difficult book to wrap your mind around, am I right?

What If the bible read like a storybook ? Would you read it? Good news! The Chronological Bible does just that. Unlike your everyday bible and mine, the events are written in the order they happened. This wonderful format helps you read and understand the bible as if you were reading a great novel. In fact, the bible is the greatest story ever told (and written.) It’s exciting that someone developed a time line of bibical events that paints God’s story. That’s not all.

The Word of God teaches us who God is, why we are here on Earth, and the meaning of life. If those questions have ever entered your mind, then you’ll find what you’re looking for in God’s Word. I know did.

I began reading my bible shortly after I was widowed in my early twenties. I’ll be honest. I didn’t pick up the Word of God to know Him better or for any spiritual reason. At the time, I was interested in the bible because I had questions—questions about why God allows loved ones to die.

As I sought understanding and comfort, God didn’t disappoint. Soon my relationship with God deepened. My trust level grew to new heights. My broken heart began to mend. I learned things about God, and about myself, I would have otherwise never known. That’s not all. I fell in love with God’s Word.

So when my church offered to read through the bible using The Chronological Bible, I was all in!

What a beautiful picture played out in my mind as I read the bible in order of events for the first time. It’s a picture of God’s love toward us, and His willingness to provide a way back to Him no matter how far we stray.

wendypopeIf you’ve ever wanted to read the bible with understanding, your opprotunity has arrived. Each year my friend, Wendy Pope leads a group of women through the One-Year Chronological Bible. Now’s the time to join in!

Wendy love’s the Word of God. She is passionate about helping others understand the hope it provides. And she is a gifted teacher.

For the past nine years, Wendy has lead women, just like you, through the bible in a year. Many follow her study year after year! Together they’ve become more than a bible study group. They’ve become a community.

Do something life-changing for your life. Join Wendy’s study, Read Through The Word, and discover God’s heart toward you.

To learn more or sign up, visit Wendy at www.WendyPope.org

To order your copy of One Year Chronological Bible click below http://www.p31bookstore.com/collections/bibles/products/the-one-year-chronological-bible

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