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My God is…Opening the eyes of the blind Psalm 146:8

Psalm 146:8a – The Lord opens the eyes of the blind

Have you ever been blind?white-cane

I have MS, and often times people ask me if I went blind in one eye (Optic Neuritis) as one of my symptoms. I didn’t. Over 55% of people with MS experience blindness from Optic Neuritis and often as their first symptom, but I didn’t have that at all. And I’m grateful. I think not being able to see with my eyes would be a major adjustment and extremely scary.

Full Definition of BLIND

1 a (1) :  sightless (2) :  having less than 110 of normal vision in the more efficient eye when refractive defects are fully corrected by lenses
   :  of or relating to sightless persons
2 a :  unable or unwilling to discern or judge <blind to a lover’s faults>
   :  unquestioning <blind loyalty>
3 a :  having no regard to rational discrimination, guidance, or restriction <blind choice>
   :  lacking a directing or controlling consciousness <blind chance>
   :  drunk 1a
4 a :  made or done without sight of certain objects or knowledge of certain facts that could serve for guidance or cause bias <a blind taste test> — compare double-blind,single-blind
   :  having no knowledge of information that may cause bias during the course of an experiment or test <physicians blind to whether the test drug is administered>
5:  defective: as
 :  lacking a growing point or producing leaves instead of flowers
 :  lacking a complete or legible address <blind mail>
6 a :  difficult to discern, make out, or discover
   :  hidden from sight :  covered <blind seam>
7:  having but one opening or outlet <blind sockets>
8:  having no opening for light or passage :  blank <blind wall>
God opens the eyes of the blind
In the New Testament, we can find many instances where Jesus heals the blind. In those days to be blind meant you were at great risk. Everywhere you turned there were dangers. Even in your own house you would be in danger of touching an open flame. Jesus knew that being blind was an awful thing for these people. He had compassion on them and healed them. Those healed were grateful. They couldn’t help themselves from telling people they met. A lot of times the blind were also beggars at the gate of the city, so many would even recognize them and marvel at their healing.
Blind Bart
I enjoy reading about the healing of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). Bartimaeus was not going to let Jesus pass by the gate without healing him. Bartimaeus was so sure that Jesus was who He said He was, that he was positive Jesus could and would heal him. He yelled out. He made a scene. He even got scolded, the scriptures even say “sternly”. He was so persistent and unwilling to be ignored or passed by that Jesus turned and told His disciples to call Bartimaeus over. I love what happens next. Bartimaeus throws off his coat and runs to where Jesus is. He can’t wait to see Jesus. Bartimaeus asks Jesus to make him see again. Jesus says to Bartimaeus that his faith had made him well, and Bartimaeus could see. But this story doesn’t end there. There is one more line in his story. When Bartimaeus was healed, he followed Jesus.
Unable or unwilling to discern or judge
Even though the closest I have come to being blind was being blindfolded, I do understand the second definition to blind. Sometimes we’re blind to the truth. We are unable or unwilling to discern or judge what is right in a certain situation. Sometimes our stubborn is because we are unable to see (blind) to the other persons situation. Is there someone you can’t or won’t try to see their perspective. It’s hard to fight this kind of blindness. It’s hard to get past old pain. God can heal this blindness too, and then our relationships have a chance to heal (even if you’re not in them anymore).
Having no opening for light or passage
There is an even more dangerous kind of blindness. Many people are blind to the love of the Lord. They can’t or won’t receive God’s love for what it is. They can’t see the light. They won’t let in the Holy Spirit and even try hard to keep all things about God far from them. Sometimes we allow things to blind us from the relationship the Lord wants to have with us. We allow our busy lives, self-centered ways and laziness pull us away from the Lord. We know that if we are in relationship with the Lord. If we open our eyes and see Jesus, our lives will change. Change can be scary. But Bartimaeus gives us a great example of how we should respond to the opening of our eyes. We need to run to Jesus and follow Him.
Ask God to heal your blindness
 Dear Lord, Open our eyes Lord. We want to see Jesus. Help us to see Him in our lives and grow our relationship with Him. Help us to not get distracted, blinded by the insignificant things of this world that occupy our minds. Help us instead, with clear eyes, to look on you and know you as our Lord and Savior. Help us to throw off our coats and follow you. Amen
Are you blind to God?
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My God is…desiring mercy, not sacrifices Matthew 9:10-13

Matthew 9:10-13 – And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were mercy sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Jesus is hanging with the “wrong crowd”

In this verse, we meet up with Jesus as He is eating with the tax collectors and sinners. He has just called Matthew to follow Him, and Matthew did. Now the Pharisees were freaking out because of the company Jesus was keeping. They didn’t like the idea that someone who spoke with such authority, who was teaching and leading people would spend His time with people who clearly had not been living well. They thought they should be getting a nod for their good behavior. Hadn’t they always tried to do what is right? Hadn’t they always given what they should to the Lord? Hadn’t they always gone and worshiped when it was required, and even when it wasn’t? Why would Jesus, if He was such an important religious figure hang out with people who were known to rip people off? People who had cheated on their spouses? People who hadn’t made it to the synagogue in quite a while? They asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.

What the pharisees didn’t get was that God came to save the lost. He came to help those who are helpless. He came to save the sinner from their sin. That each of us (because we all have fallen short of the Glory of God), each sinner, might be forgiven for their sins, and instead of spending an eternity in hell, we would be forgiven and be able to have everlasting life with Him in Heaven.

Here’s the crux of the problem. The Pharisees didn’t think they needed a savior. They felt they had done enough to secure their fate with God. After all, they had done all that was expected of them. They went to church, gave to the church, supported their family, stayed away from drugs and alcohol, didn’t have wandering eyes. Basically they were stand up guys. They weren’t used to having their self-worth questioned. So what was the problem? What was standing between them and God?

Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’

Jesus quotes His Father (Hosea 6:6). God was telling the people of Judah and Ephraim that He desired mercy, not sacrifice. The people of that time had been constantly distracted from their relationship with God. They were concerned about themselves and nothing else. They ignored the warning signs God had given them through prophets. They ignored God’s wishes. They would attack people, murder and other sins. They completely disregarded God. The pharisees in Jesus day would have known these stories well. They had done a lot of study of the Bible. They were the one’s teaching everyone else what the words of scripture meant. For Jesus to tell them to go and learn what is meant by “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”, means they clearly weren’t demonstrating it’s meaning. The pharisees were concerned with fulfilling the letter of the law, but not the intent behind it. God’s intent was not about the law, but that the people He loved (and loves) would be able to have the best relationship with Him as possible. His laws were intended to keep people safe, point them back to Him and to bless them. They weren’t intended as check boxes to be marked off. They have value, but when they are used to measure one’s salvation, they are misused.

For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners

The truth is we are all sinners. Should we be striving to be more like Christ? Yes, of course. The problem is, many of us think that what we do is what is going to get us into heaven. We think that our good has to outweigh our bad and then we’re set. I have heard many people say, “I’m a good person, I’m sure I’ll get into heaven.” Sadly that’s not going to work. Being a good person is not a requirement. Believing that Jesus died to save us from not being a good person is what is required. Faith in Jesus’ saving grace is the only way to get into heaven. It’s not only unbelievers who cling to this idea, those who profess to believe in Jesus also struggle (just like the pharisees). They are working themselves to death, trying to do the “right thing”. They help at church, give a lot of money to charities, sit on boards they hate, why? Often it’s because they feel it’s their duty. God isn’t interested in our duty. He only wants us to do these good things (very good things) if the reason we’re doing them is because we are so grateful for what He’s done for us. We’re not supposed to do them in some misguided attempt to earn our way to heaven. God has done everything necessary for us to get to heaven. We need only believe in Him and trust that He’s got us covered in His redemptive blood. So don’t worry if you make mistakes. God knows you. Instead of putting your faith in your actions, put your faith in Him.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in Matthew, not sacrifices

 

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My God is…our instructor Matthew 23:10

Matthew 23:10 – Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah.

They can't put it on the internet if it isn't true

They can’t put it on the internet if it isn’t true

Definition of INSTRUCT

1: to give knowledge to : teachtrain
2: to provide with authoritative information or advice <the judge instructed the jury>
3: to give an order or command to : direct

To give knowledge to : teachtrain
There is a lot of information out there that people want to instruct you on. There are books on nearly every topic known to man. Ever heard the phrase – “Everyone’s an expert”? The thought is that everyone knows a lot about something. Knowledge is a very important thing for us. We need information to work, live and provide for our families. We educate ourselves in numerous ways (computer, school, reading, tv and more). In the verse above, Jesus is reading the pharisees the riot act. He’s giving them a piece of His mind.

He’s giving them a piece of His mind. 
Jesus was warning the disciples and the people listening that the teachings of the Pharisees was true, but that their actions didn’t match what they taught. People looked up to them and followed how they were leading. Check out the preceding verses:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

A lot of what we’re taught is true, but not all of the actions of those teaching us are right. Many of the books we read, the schools we attend, and the self help books we read speak some truths. Some of the information is useful and necessary, but often they draw our focus away from what we’re really supposed to learn. It reminds me of classic parenting phrase, “Do what I say, not what I do.” Obviously that’s not a fantastic way to parent, instruct or teach. Just because someone calls themselves a guru, doesn’t make them one.

Bonjour

Have you seen this commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DZbSlkFoSU? It’s the commercial from State farm where the man is showing the girl some apps, and she says she didn’t think State Farm had apps? She says she read it on the internet. Then she says she’s meeting her date – a french model – a man (clearly not a french model) walks up and says “Bonjour”. She says in the commercial, “they can’t put it on the internet if it isn’t true”. We are bombarded with untruths all around us. It is sometimes hard for us to discern fact from fiction, but for the Christian, there is hope.  

For you have one instructor, the Messiah
We don’t have to look to others to see what is true and good. The Messiah, Jesus Christ is the Truth. When we compare the things of this world to what we’re taught by Jesus through His word, we can find truth. This world cleverly disguises truth, but we know the source of all truth. When we’re able to keep our focus on our Lord, spending time in His word each day, we’re less likely to end up with a french model we met on the internet. There are some useful things in this world that are outside the Bible. I’m not saying that the Lord has not blessed some with true wisdom, but as Christians we need to check it against the Truth of Jesus Christ. If it flies blatantly in the face of that Truth, we need to consider ignoring that advice, that instruction. In the end we have one instructor: The Messiah, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 

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My God is…Washing John 13:7-9

John 13:7-9 – Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter Regular or Decaf Coffeesaid to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 

Story of my life! Have you ever felt that way? That you don’t know what God is doing, but in retrospect you can see His hand at every turn? Some of you might still be waiting for later to arrive. Waiting can be hard. Even when God explains it to us, sometimes we still don’t get it. Kind of like Peter in these verses.

You will never wash my feet

At first Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet. He felt it wasn’t Jesus’ place. Being the most honored guest, someone should have offered to wash Jesus’ feet. Peter was sort of saying, “I’m good, I don’t need you to do that for me Jesus.” Peter’s intentions were good (not wanting to put Jesus out and all), but Peter wasn’t quite getting the point. Sometimes we’re put in situations like that too, aren’t we. We think we know what is the good and proper thing to do. We don’t like it when people rock the boat. Imagine sitting at restaurant, and you’ve been seated near the waiting staff’s station. Your waiter or waitress is swamped and hasn’t been able to refill your cup. Someone at your table gets up and grabs the coffee pot and pours some into the first cup. You might say, “I’m good”, because you don’t like how the normal way of doing things has been changed up. We don’t like when things go differently than we expect or is “normal”. We’re not always willing to “go with the flow” as my mother would say.

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.”

I know my coffee analogy has some holes, but work with me for a minute. Suppose you’ve just refused the cup of coffee poured by your friend. Your friend says to you, “Unless you let me serve you this coffee, you won’t get any.” That’s sort of what Jesus was saying to Peter. If you don’t let me serve you (not just coffee, but offering up His life), you’re not going to share in this salvation. If we want to do things the “normal” way or “our” way, we may find that we’ve missed the whole point. What is the point? To give glory to God. If we keep trying to do things the same way over and over again, we’re going to get the same results. When we trust God, we can be sure to be pushed out of our comfort zone, but we will also be enriched by a life spent focused on the Lord, and bask in the glory of our promised eternal life.

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!”

So your friend with the coffee said you might not get another chance to get more coffee. If we responded like Peter, we might get out our thermos and say, “not only in the cup, but fill up my thermos too”. Again, not a perfect analogy, but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say. Peter was vacillating between not wanting God to do anything and not believing what God was going to do was enough. At first Peter didn’t want Jesus to wash his feet, but to prove how much he was part of Jesus, he wanted Jesus to wash all of him. What God does for us is enough. Sometimes we try to augment our salvation, what Jesus did for us on the cross. We think yeah, that’s good and all, but I’m pretty sure it comes down to me being a good person too. We don’t like it when things don’t go the way we’re used to. In the world, it does often come down to being a good person. But fortunately for us our salvation is not based on that. We don’t have to do more to earn our salvation. Jesus died on the cross, and that was enough. Even the martyrs who gave up their life to tell people about Jesus didn’t up their chances of being saved by their immense sacrifice. It was only the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that has provided us with our sharing in His kingdom.

Sometimes we just go over the top.

 

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My God is…our judge Isaiah 33:22

Isaiah 33:22 – For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler,gavel
the Lord is our king; he will save us.

He will save us
We don’t have to worry how other people judge us. The Lord is our judge. We don’t have to live our lives for the approval of those around us. We live our lives for Jesus. God is our judge. He is the one who decides our value, our worth and our destiny. Other people base our worth on our looks, work, friends, status or car. God has a different way of judging us. It’s not about who we are, but whose we are. We can trust Him with our life and our future. He will save us!

Definition of JUDGE

transitive verb
1: to form an opinion about through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises
2: to sit in judgment on : try
3: to determine or pronounce after inquiry and deliberation
4: governrule —used of a Hebrew tribal leader
5: to form an estimate or evaluation of; especially : to form a negative opinion about <shouldn’t judge him because of his accent>
6: to hold as an opinion : guessthink <I judge she knew what she was doing>
For the Lord is our judge
“The Lord is our judge”, is a statement that can bring fear to the heart, but fear is not what it should conjure up. Why not? We all know we’ve done bad things, we have not always put God first, pretty much we’re falling short (sinning) a lot everyday. Since God knows everything we do, it could be scary to think about the God who knows all about us measuring our rights and wrongs, but it doesn’t have to be. God is going to form an opinion about you and your life. He’s going to look at all that’s gone on in your life and will make known His opinion. He will evaluate your situation and form an opinion. 
Here’s the good news! 
When He is judging our lives, He is listening to the evidence from Jesus. He will be speaking on our behalf, telling God of our faith and our trust in Him as our Lord and Savior. He’s telling God that we are part of His family and we belong to Him. We don’t have to worry, because we have the best Lawyer (Jesus) and the fairest Judge (God the Father). We’re in good hands, and the merit to live in heaven is not based on our goodness or ability to keep the laws of God. It is based on whose we are, that we belong and believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that He died and rose again so we could go on living and knowing Him more. 
 
 
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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Isaiah, My God is our judge

 

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My God is…the authority Mathew 28:16-20

Mathew 28:16-20 –  Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed

Professor Gülgün Köroğlu holding a piece of the chest that is said to possible hold a piece of Jesus Christ’s cross (Photo credit: NBC News)

Professor Gülgün Köroğlu holding a piece of the chest that is said to possible hold a piece of Jesus Christ’s cross (Photo credit: NBC News)

them.  When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.  And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Who has authority in your life? 
Are you clinging to the hope that you have power over everything that happens in your life? Or have you given in to the idea that some things are out of your control. Many of us struggle with the idea that we can’t fix some things. We don’t like to be out of control. We don’t like to be questioned. We don’t like to have to prove ourselves. We want to be the authority. Some of us feel like others are always in control of our lives (I’m sure my boys feel that way some times). There is one who should have authority in our lives. He’s the only one who truly has the power to back up His claims, and that is Jesus Christ.

Definition of AUTHORITY

1 a (1) : a citation (as from a book or file) used in defense or support
     (2) : the source from which the citation is drawn
   b (1) : a conclusive statement or set of statements (as an official decision of a court) 
     (2) : a decision taken as a precedent (3) : testimony
   : an individual cited or appealed to as an expert
2 a : power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior
   : freedom granted by one in authority : right
3 a : persons in command; specifically : government
   : a governmental agency or corporation to administer a revenue-producing public enterprise <the transit authority>
4 a : groundswarrant <had excellent authority for believing the claim>
   : convincing force <lent authority to the performance>
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
The verses for today are an account of what happened after Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus told the disciples to meet him in Galilee. When Jesus met up with them there, some of them worshiped Him, and some had their doubts. Jesus reminds them that He has the authority that they seek.
This morning, there were claims coming from Turkey that a piece of the cross that Jesus died on may have been found in a small box with crosses on it. My son and I were watching, and I asked him, “Do you think it’s real?” We had our discussion about it and discussed our doubts. We couldn’t believe it. The news then brought on a priest to talk about it, and he similarly said he was withholding judgement until the archaeologists had dated the item in the box. The priest wanted someone with more authority to help him decide. He wanted proof from a trusted authority before he decided.
 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
Are you looking for proof? Jesus understood that seeing him risen from the dead was a hard paradigm shift to make. For most people you die, and you stay dead. But Jesus wanted His disciples to know that they could trust Him. He’s the authority. He’s the evidence. He’s the truth.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations
It was with His authority that Jesus then commissioned the disciples. He is the one who has the evidence, the power, the might and is the truth. It is that authority that the disciples would base their ministries. They were basing their faith on the authority of Jesus Christ as Lord of all.
Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
This is an amazing command, and one that Jesus is asserting His authority. If they didn’t get it before, this phrase should have nailed His point home. Jesus is God. He was telling them that He is part of the trinity. He is one of the persons of the Almighty that they have known through faith their whole lives.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age
We too can have faith in Jesus Christ who is the authority. He is who we look to when we need support. Because of who He is we can trust what He has to say. He knows what He’s talking about, He is the Almighty. Because He is the authority, He should be the greatest influence on what we think, say and do. He is in charge, He has power over death and the Devil. It is in being raised from the dead that we are able to see His amazing power and gives us grounds for our faith. He is with us, ever the authority, forever. We can trust Him to always be there and for His word to always be true. He is the authority.
 
 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in My God is the authority

 

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My God is…Received John 1:12-13

John 1:12-13 – But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

receiving-departmentBut to all who received him, who believed in his name

When Jesus came into the world, the world He created, He was not received or believed in by many of the people to whom He actually was promised. The same is true today. Jesus Christ, true man and true God, came to earth, lived perfectly, died and rose again, so that I would be able to have eternal life with Him in Heaven. Many people hear that as rubbish. They have heard, yet they don’t believe. They haven’t received Him.

Definition of RECEIVE

transitive verb
1: to come into possession of : acquire <receive a gift>
2

: to act as a receptacle or container for <the cistern receives water from the roof>

   b : to assimilate through the mind or senses <receive new ideas>
3

: to permit to enter : admit

   b : welcomegreet
   c : to react to in a specified manner
4: to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate : believe
5

: to support the weight or pressure of : bear

    b : to take (a mark or impression) from the weight of something <some clay receives clear impressions>
    c : acquireexperience <received his early schooling at home>
    d : to suffer the hurt or injury of <received a broken nose>
Did you receive the message? 
So many times in this technology driven world, we find ourselves out of sync with others. We go the wrong place, bring the wrong thing or forget an appointment all together. Often we hear our friends, family and coworkers say, “Didn’t you get my text?” The information was out there, but either I wasn’t paying attention, ignored it, silenced my phone or left my phone at home. I didn’t receive the information I truly needed. Many people are the same way with the Word of God. They aren’t paying attention, they’re ignoring it, silencing those who want to tell them about it or are truly out of tune with the Spirit all together. They’ve missed the message.
He gave power to become children of God
Those who have gotten the message, who received Jesus and believed are promised that they become children of God. Not because of anything anyone did (themselves or those around them), but through God’s will. Through His Holy Spirit He changes hearts, minds and souls, so they might receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
(looking at the definition of receive)
Receiving God
When you receive God, you will come into possession of His Holy Spirit and become part of the family. You only have to open yourself up and

act as a receptacle for God’s Spirit. As you grow to know God more, you will change and

assimilate or become more like Him through your mind and senses. Because you receive Jesus’ Spirit, you are 

permitted to enter heaven, you gain admittance. The Lord will be there to greet you, He will meet you where you are. You may

 react to in a specified manner, full of power as part of God’s family. When you receive God into your life you accept His Word as authoritative, true, or accurate. You believe in Him.You may have bear some hardships because of your faith. As God makes an impression on your life, you will have a whole new experience. He suffered and died for you so that you may receive all He has for you.

Did you get the message?
 

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