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Daily Devotionals For August 2006

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday August 1st/06

The following quote is from Charles H. Spurgeon on Inspiration And Preservation:

To me it is an intense joy to search diligently in my Father's book of grace. It grows upon me daily. It was written by inspiration in old times, but I have found while feeding upon it, that not only was it inspired when written, but it is so still. It is not a mere historic document, it is a letter fresh from the pen of God to me. It is not a sermon once delivered and ended; it speaks still. It is not a flower dried and put in the hortus siccus, with its beauty clouded and its perfume evaporated; but it is a fresh blooming flower in God’s Garden, as fragrant and as for us as when He planted it.

"The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times." (Psalm 12:6) We believe that we have the words of God preserved for us in the Scriptures. We are exceedingly grateful that it is so. If we had not the words of the Lord thus recorded we should have felt that we live in an evil time, since neither voice nor oracle is heard today. I say, we should have fallen upon evil days if the words that God spake of old had not been recorded under His superintendence. With this Book before us, what the Lord spake two thousand years ago He virtually speaks now: for "He… will not call back his words" (Isaiah 31:2). His Word abideth forever; for it was spoken, not for one occasion, but for all ages. The Word of the Lord is so instinct with everlasting life and eternal freshness, that it is as vocal and forceful in the heart of the saint today as it was to the ear of Abraham when he heard it in Canaan; or to the mind of Moses in the desert; or to David when he sang it to his harp. I thank God that many of us know what it is to hear the Divine Word re-spoken in our souls! By the Holy Ghost the words of Scripture come to us with a present inspiration: not only has the Book been inspired, it is inspired.

If I did not believe the infallibility of the Book, I would rather be without it. If I am to judge the Book, it is no judge to me. If I am to sift it, like the heap on the threshing-floor, and lay this aside and only accept that, according to my own judgment, then I have no guidance whatever, unless I have conceit enough to trust my own heart. The new theory denies infallibility to the words of God, but practically imputes it to the judgment of men; at least, this is all the infallibility which they can get at.

Unchanged, unchangeable are the words of the Ever Blessed. They are as silver without dross, which will continue from age to age. This we do believe, and in this we do rejoice. Nor is it a tax upon our faith to believe in the permanence of Holy Scripture, for these words were spoken by Him who is Omniscient, and knows everything; therefore in them can be no mistake. They were spoken by Him who is omnipotent, and can do everything; and therefore His words will be carried out. Spoken by Him who is immutable, these words will never alter. The words which God spake thousands of years ago are true at this hour, for they come from Him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He that spake these words is infallible and therefore they are infallible.

Furthermore, these words of God are to be preserved. Give up no line of God's revelation. You may not know the particular importance of the text assailed, but it is not for you to assess the proportionate value of God's words: if the Lord has spoken, be prepared to die for what He said. This Book deserved the sacrifice of our all for the maintenance of every line of it.

Dear brethren, because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken the truth of God, we therefore endeavour to preach it with absolute fidelity. We repeat the Word as a child repeats his lesson. It is not ours to correct the Divine revelation, but simply to echo it. I do not take it to my office to bring you new and original thoughts of my own; but rather to say, “The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” Believing that “The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it,” it is my duty to repeat it to you as correctly as I can after I have heard it and felt it in my own soul. It is not mine to amend or adapt the Gospel. What! Shall we attempt to improve upon what God has revealed? The infinitely Wise, is He to be corrected in by creatures of a day? Is the infallible revelation of the infallible Jehovah to be shaped, moderated, and toned down to the fashions and fancies of the hour? God forgive us if we have ever altered His Word unwittingly; wittingly we have not done so, nor shall we.

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday August 2nd/06

Whose Battle?

"And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17:47)

Let this point be settled, that the battle is the LORD's, and we may be quite sure of the victory, and of the victory in such a way as will best of all display the power of God. The LORD is too much forgotten by all men, yea, even by the assemblies of Israel; and when there is an opportunity to make men see that the great First Cause can achieve His purposes without the power of man, it is a priceless occasion which should be well employed. Even Israel looks too much to sword and spear. It is a grand thing to have no sword in the hand of David, and yet for David to know that his God will overthrow a whole army of aliens.

If we are indeed contending for truth and righteousness, let us not tarry till we have talent, or wealth, or any other form of visible power at our disposal; but with such stones as we find in the brook, and with our own usual sling, let us run to meet the enemy. If it were our own battle we might not be confident; but if we are standing up for Jesus and warring in His strength alone, who can withstand us? Without a trace of hesitancy let us face the Philistines; for the LORD of hosts is with us, and who can be against us?

(Taken from Faith's Checkbook by Spurgeon)

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Daily Devotional for Thursday August 3rd/06

God is a Sanctuary

"Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come." (Ezekiel 11:16)

Banished from the public means of grace, we are not removed from the grace of the means. The LORD who places His people where they feel as exiles will Himself be with them and be to them all that they could have had at home, in the place of their solemn assemblies. Take this to yourselves, O ye who are called to wander!

God is to His people a place of refuge. They find sanctuary with Him from every adversary. He is their place of worship, too. He is with them as with Jacob when he slept in the open field, and rising, said, "Surely the LORD is in this place" (Genesis 28:16). To them also He will be a sanctuary of quiet, like the Holy of Holies, which was the noiseless abode of the Eternal. They shall be quiet from fear of evil.

God Himself, in Christ Jesus, is the sanctuary of mercy. The Ark of the Covenant is the LORD Jesus, and Aaron's rod, the pot of manna, the tables of the law, all are in Christ our sanctuary. In God we find the shrine of holiness and of communion. What more do we need? O LORD, fulfill this promise and be ever to us as a little sanctuary!

(Taken from Faith's Checkbook by Spurgeon)

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Daily Devotional for Friday August 4th/06

John 3:16 - The Gospel In A Nutshell

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Daily Devotional for Saturday August 5th/06

When Do We Praise

"And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (John 11:41).

This is a very strange and unusual order. Lazarus is still in the grave, and the thanksgiving precedes the miracle of resurrection. I thought that the thanksgiving would have risen when the great deed had been wrought, and Lazarus was restored to life again. But Jesus gives thanks for what He is about to receive. The gratitude breaks forth before the bounty has arrived, in the assurance that it is certainly on the way. The song of victory is sung before the battle has been fought. It is the sower who is singing the song of the harvest home. It is thanksgiving before the miracle!

Who thinks of announcing a victory-psalm when the crusaders are just starting out for the field? Where can we hear the grateful song for the answer which has not yet been received? And after all, there is nothing strange or forced, or unreasonable in the Master's order. Praise is really the most vital preparatory ministry to the working of the miracles. Miracles are wrought by spiritual power. Spiritual power is always proportioned to our faith. --Dr. Jowett

PRAISE CHANGES THINGS

Nothing so pleases God in connection with our prayer as our praise, and nothing so blesses the man who prays as the praise which he offers. I got a great blessing once in China in this connection. I had received bad and sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul. I prayed, but the darkness did not vanish. I summoned myself to endure, but the darkness only deepened. Just then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these words: "Try Thanksgiving." I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return. Yes, the Psalmist was right, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord." --Rev. Henry W. Frost

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Sunday August 6th/06

What Shall I Do With Jesus?

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Daily Devotional for Monday August 7th/06

"I will love them freely." --Hosea 14:4

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges upon the word "freely." This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: "I will love them freely." Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then He would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, "I will love you freely." We complain, "Lord, my heart is so hard." "I will love you freely." "But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish." "I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely." "But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire." Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when He said, "He that believeth on Him is not condemned." It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! "I will love them freely." These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such -- "I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely." Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father's face.

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday August 8th/06

"He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:3, 4)

The Lord is my shepherd, and He will restore my soul. We know we are apt to go astray like a lost sheep; but when GOD shows us our error, gives us repentance, and brings us back to our duty, He restores our souls.

"He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." As we follow GOD's Holy Word, He leads us in the paths of righteousness. Why is GOD so gracious to us? It's for His name's sake - His mercy and love and grace are unsearchable!

Therefore, we know that even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, GOD will not leave us, nor forsake us.

Death is one thing we must all count on; there is no discharge in that war. But we find four words here that lessen the terror of death.

1. Death is just a shadow and there's no real harm in a shadow.

2. Death is the valley of the shadow, deep and dark, perhaps, but valleys are rich in comforts and beauty.

3. Death is a walk through the valley. The wicked are chased out of the world and their souls are required of them, but Christians cheerfully walk to another world.

4. Death is a walk through the valley to eternal joy and peace on the other shore.

"I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." GOD's presence in His Word and Spirit comfort us; therefore, we will fear no evil, but will say with Paul, "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

(Taken from Moments Of Meditation by Matthew Henry)

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday August 9th/06

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." (Psalm 23:5, 6)

In these verses, David climbs to new heights as he tells of GOD's goodness and mercy to His children.

"Thou preparest a table before me." It is GOD who provides a table of good things, a cup running over with an abundance of all that is necessary for our bodily needs. GOD also provides spiritual food for our souls to feast upon. We all know that if GOD does not bestow an abundance of temporal blessings upon us, it's our own fault if it isn't made up to us in spiritual blessings.

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." Here David's hope rises and his faith is strengthened as he sees all the streams of goodness and mercy flowing from the fountain of GOD's eternal mercy. He sees pardoning mercy, protecting mercy, sustaining mercy, supplying mercy, continuing mercy. GOD's mercy shall be new every morning like the manna that was given to the Israelifes.

"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Here is David's promise to GOD that he will serve GOD all the days of his life and will praise and give thanks to Him for all His goodness and mercy each day. When this life is finished, he will go to a better world to dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

"O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever!" (Psalm 107:1)

(Taken from Moments Of Meditation by Matthew Henry)

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Daily Devotional for Thursday August 10th/06

We are posting a new commentary over on our study site. I have enjoyed reading it so far:

Joy Way: An Exposition of Philippians by Guy H. King

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Daily Devotional for Friday August 11th/06

If you have ever been blessed by the radio program called "Unshackled!", you will really appreciate the following book of testimonies:

THESE, TOO, WERE UNSHACKLED
15 DRAMATIC STORIES FROM THE PACIFIC GARDEN MISSION

Adapted from the "Unshackled!" Radio Scripts by Faith Coxe Bailey

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Daily Devotional for Saturday August 12th/06

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." (Psalm 46:1-3)

When things are dark and discouraging, we are encouraged to hope and trust in GOD and His power and His providence.

From his own experience, David teaches us that GOD is our Refuge and Strength.

- Are we pursued? Let us flee to GOD who is our Refuge and in whom we may be safe.
- Are we oppressed? GOD is our Strength, and by His grace He will give us strength to bear our burdens.
- Are we in distress? GOD is a very present Help, and we cannot find better help anywhere.

GOD is our Strength and our Help, a GOD all sufficient for us; "therefore will not we fear." If GOD is in our hearts, if GOD is in the midst of us by His Word dwelling richly in us, we shall be established, and we shall be helped. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) Therefore, let us trust GOD and not be afraid; all is well, and will end well.

Suppose that the earth should be removed, that the nations of the world should be filled with confusion, wars, and tumults, and that all the evil forces of the world were combined against GOD's people - yet we will not fear. Regardless of what happens in this world, GOD's people agree with David: "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies" (Psalm 18:2-3).

(Taken from Moments Of Meditation by Matthew Henry)

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Daily Devotional for Sunday August 13th/06

"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then willI teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee." (Psalm 51:10-13)

In this Psalm, so expressive of the cares and desires of a repenting sinner, David prays for grace - GOD's good will toward him and His good work in him. He is concerned to have his corrupt nature changed and so he prays: "Create in me a clean heart, O God!" He knew that GOD made his heart and that only God can "new-make" a sinful heart.

"Renew a right spirit within me" - renew a constant, humble, faithful spirit within me!

"Cast me not away from thy presence"; let me have divine protection, let me be under the guidance of divine wisdom, and let me not be forbidden communion with GOD.

"Take not thy holy spirit from me" - surely we are undone if GOD should take His HOLY SPIRIT from us. David begs for GOD's HOLY SPIRIT to perfect the work of his repentance, to prevent him from falling back into sin, and to enable him to perform his duty to GOD and man.

"Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation" - let the joy and comfort of divine grace be with me always.

"Uphold me with thy free spirit" - Lord, sustain me, for I am weak and sinful; let Thy Spirit inspire my soul with noble and generous principles so that I will always act like a child of Thine.

"Then will I teach transgressors thy ways." Surely through this Psalm, David is still teaching transgressors GOD's ways; and we who are sinners are still being converted unto GOD!

(Taken from Moments Of Meditation by Matthew Henry)

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Daily Devotional for Monday August 14th/06

"O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory." (Psalm 98:1)

We are called to sing a new song unto the Lord - a song of redeeming love, a song of triumphant grace, a song of praise, a wonderful song, an everlasting song. Let all the nations of the earth sing this song together. Especially, let all the redeemed from the earth sing this new song together!

As Christians we have a new song - the song of CHRIST's love for us! If, by His grace, He has given us a new heart, we will always have a song of praise and thanksgiving unto GOD for His almighty grace!

"He hath done marvelous things." From our own experience, we know that the work of our salvation is a marvelous work. I could not do it; you could not do it - only CHRIST could do it! Therefore, it is marvelous in our eyes.

"His right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory." Our Redeemer overcame all the difficulties that were in the way of our redemption; He subdued all the enemies that opposed it; He won the victory for us so that we, through Him, are more than conquerors. He did it, by His own power; there was "none to help... none to uphold" (Isaiah 63:5); but by His right hand and His holy arm, He won the victory!

Therefore, considering these things, we long to sing "the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints" (Revelation 15:3).

(Taken from Moments Of Meditation by Matthew Henry)

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday August 15th/06

"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." (Psalm 103:1-5)

From the depths of our hearts let us offer thanksgiving and praise unto the LORD! Let us give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness because He is the Fountain of all good. As we praise GOD, let us remember all the blessings we have received. David said, "Forget not all his benefits!"

He forgives all our iniquities! We sin every day; but when we repent, GOD is gracious and merciful to forgive us.

He heals our diseases! Our souls are sick because of the corruption of nature; but when sin is mortified, the disease is healed. And if, by pardoning mercy, GOD takes away the guilt of sin, He will, by renewing grace, break the power of sin in our hearts.

He redeems our lives from destruction! "The redemption of their soul is precious" (Psalm 49:8), and we are forever indebted to CHRIST who is our Redeemer.

He crowns us with His lovingkindness and tender mercies! "This honour have all his saints" (Psalm 149:9). What more could we want!

He satisfies us with good things! Nothing but the favor and grace of GOD can supply the desires and needs of our souls.

He renews our youth like the eagle's! When GOD, by the graces and comforts of His Spirit, fills us with new life and joy, then in a spiritual sense we return to the days of our youth.

When we think on these things, we humbly say with David, "Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name!"

(Taken from Moments Of Meditation by Matthew Henry)

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday August 16th/06

"Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me." --Job 10:2

Perhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing this to develop thy graces. There are some of thy graces which would never be discovered if it were not for thy trials. Dost thou not know that thy faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does in winter? Love is too often like a glow-worm, showing but little light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope itself is like a star -- not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black foils in which God doth set the jewels of His children's graces, to make them shine the better. It was but a little while ago that on thy knees thou wast saying, "Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith." Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials? -- for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy faith is exercised? Depend upon it, God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which thou art passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the reason why He is contending with you?

"Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there."

(Taken from Spurgeon's Morning And Evening devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Thursday August 17th/06

Make A Way

"I will make all my mountains a way" (Isa. 49:11).

God will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross -- we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.

"Oh, fools, and slow of heart!" These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long. Thou hast prayed for patience through long years, but there is something that tries thee beyond endurance; thou hast fled from it, evaded it, accounted it an unsurmountable obstacle to the desired attainment, and supposed that its removal would secure thy immediate deliverance and victory.

Not so! Thou wouldest gain only the cessation of temptations to impatience. But this would not be patience. Patience can be acquired only through just such trials as now seem unbearable.

Go back; submit thyself. Claim to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus. Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there. We know that God will not fail to keep His promise. "God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven"; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way. --Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer

"The meaning of trial is not only to test worthiness, but to increase it; as the oak is not only tested by the storm, but toughened by them."

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Friday August 18th/06

I AM RESOLVED BY THE HELP OF GOD

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I am resolved by the help of God that I will:

Like Paul, forget those things which are behind and press forward;

Like David, lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help;

Like Abraham, trust implicitly in my God;

Like Enoch, walk in daily fellowship with my heavenly Father;

Like Jehoshaphat, prepare my heart to seek God;

Like Moses, choose rather to suffer than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

Like Daniel, commune with God at all times;

Like Job, be patient under all circumstances;

Like Caleb and Joshua, refuse to be discouraged because of superior numbers;

Like Joseph, turn my back to all destructive advances;

Like Gideon, advance even if my friends be few;

Like Aaron and Hur, uphold the hands of my spiritual leaders;

Like Isaiah, consecrate myself to do God’s work;

Like Andrew, strive to lead my brother to a closer walk with Christ;

Like John, lean upon the bosom of the Master and imbibe of His Spirit;

Like Stephen, manifest a forgiving spirit toward all who seek my hurt;

Like Timothy, study the Word of God;

Like the heavenly host, proclaim the message of peace on earth and good will toward all men;

Like my Lord Himself, overcome all earthly allurements by refusing to succumb to their enticements.

Realizing that I cannot hope to achieve these objectives by my own strength, I will rely upon Christ, for “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

I want to give you four thoughts from this scripture to help us in this life as a Christian.

I. PERSONAL - “I”

This scripture was written with every believer in mind to be used personally in his or her lives. This is one of the few exceptions when you can use the pronoun “I” without having the taint of pride involved.

II. PERFORMANCE - “CAN DO ALL THINGS”

Anyone can do any thing the Lord wants him or her to do if they want to do so. The problem is that people don’t want to do the tasks that God wants to do. That is one reason why the minority of the people do most of the work of the church. The word “all” involves all of the things found in God’s Word that are for our dispensation of grace.

III. POWER - “THROUGH CHRIST”

The key to the success of any Christian is through Christ. Christ is the only reason why we can do the work of God anyway. The word “Christian” has three letters at the end of it. It is the letters “i”, “a”, “n”. Without Christ, I am nothing. That is what those three letters represent to me.

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

IV. PEACE - “WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME”

When I do all things through Christ, I can do all things for they will strengthen me for the next thing. By doing these things, it gives me the peace of God.

Pastor Mike Walls
[email protected]
Used With Permission

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Daily Devotional for Saturday August 19th/06

Wrestling With God

"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day" (Gen. 32:24).

God is wrestling with Jacob more than Jacob is wrestling with God. It was the Son of man, the Angel of the Covenant. It was God in human form pressing down and pressing out the old Jacob life; and ere the morning broke, God had prevailed and Jacob fell with his thigh dislocated. But as he fell, he fell into the arms of God, and there he clung and wrestled, too, until the blessing came; and the new life was born and he arose from the earthly to the heavenly, the human to the divine, the natural to the supernatural. And as he went forth that morning he was a weak and broken man, but God was there instead; and the heavenly voice proclaimed, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."

Beloved, this must ever be a typical scene in every transformed life. There comes a crisis-hour to each of us, if God has called us to the highest and best, when all resources fail; when we face either ruin or something higher than we ever dreamed; when we must have infinite help from God and yet, ere we can have it, we must let something go; we must surrender completely; we must cease from our own wisdom, strength, and righteousness, and become crucified with Christ and alive in Him. God knows how to lead us up to this crisis, and He knows how to lead us through.

Is He leading you thus? Is this the meaning of your deep trial, or your difficult surroundings, or that impossible situation. or that trying place through which you cannot go without Him, and yet you have not enough of Him to give you the victory?

Oh, turn to Jacob's God! Cast yourself helplessly at His feet. Die to your strength and wisdom in His loving arms and rise, like Jacob, into His strength and all-sufficiency. There is no way out of your hard and narrow place but at the top. You must get deliverance by rising higher and coming into a new experience with God. Oh, may it bring you into all that is meant by the revelation of the Mighty One of Jacob! --But God

"At Thy feet I fall,
Yield Thee Up My ALL,
To suffer LIVE, OR DIE
For my Lord crucified."

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Sunday August 20th/06

No Miracles

"And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land" (Acts 27:44).

The marvelous story of Paul's voyage to Rome, with its trials and triumphs, is a fine pattern of the lights and shades of the way of faith all through the story of human life. The remarkable feature of it is the hard and narrow places which we find intermingled with God's most extraordinary interpositions and providences.

It is the common idea that the pathway of faith is strewn with flowers, and that when God interposes in the life of His people, He does it on a scale so grand that He lifts us quite out of the plane of difficulties. The actual fact, however, is that the real experience is quite contrary. The story of the Bible is one of alternate trial and triumph in the case of everyone of the cloud of witnesses from Abel down to the latest martyr.

Paul, more than anyone else, was an example of how much a child of God can suffer without being crushed or broken in spirit. On account of his testifying in Damascus, he was hunted down by persecutors and obliged to fly for his life. but we behold no heavenly chariot transporting the holy apostle amid thunderbolts of flame from the reach of his foes, but "through a window in a basket," was he let down over the walls of Damascus and so escaped their hands. In an old clothes basket, like a bundle of laundry, or groceries, the servant of Jesus Christ was dropped from the window and ignominiously fled from the hate of his foes.

Again we find him left for months in the lonely dungeons; we find him telling of his watchings, his fastings, and his desertion by friends, of his brutal and shameful beatings, and here even after God has promised to deliver him, we see him for days left to toss upon a stormy sea, obliged to stand guard over the treacherous seaman, and at last when the deliverance comes, there is no heavenly galley sailing from the skies to take off the noble prisoner; there is no angel form walking along the waters and stilling the raging breakers; there is no supernatural sign of the transcendent miracle that is being wrought; but one is compelled to seize a spar, another a floating plank, another to climb on a fragment of the wreck, another to strike out and swim for his life.

Here is God's pattern for our own lives. Here is a Gospel of help for people that have to live in this every day world with real and ordinary surroundings, and a thousand practical conditions which have to be met in a thoroughly practical way.

God's promises and God's providences do not lift us out of the plane of common sense and commonplace trial, but it is through these very things that faith is perfected, and that God loves to interweave the golden threads of His love along the warp and woof of our every day experience. --Hard Places in the Way of Faith

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Monday August 21st/06

I don't know about you, but this certainly was a hard-hitting exhortation for me!

You Can't Have Spirituality on the Cheap

"For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:19)

Buried here in Paul's discourse in the First chapter of Philippians is a reminder to us of the power of prayer, and with it, the IMPORTANCE of prayer. I was reading again through this epistle a few days ago, and sort of stopped at this verse, since I'd never noticed this particular force of the verse before then.

Paul depended upon the prayers of the saints. He evinces here a recognition that the outcome of his time spent in Rome (in prison, awaiting trial before Caesar) depended upon the prayers of God's people to the end that God's will would be done. How often do we act like we've forgotten this salient point - our prayers indeed do mean something, if they are empowered by the Holy Spirit as we live a life pleasing to God.

"...the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16b)

The prayer has to be energized (per the Greek word underlying "effectual fervent"), it has to be sincere, dedicated, full of vigour and effort, while also being done in the Spirit. The one praying has to be "righteous". Certainly, we know this means that they are made righteous by faith, they are saved. But even more, they have to be walking day by day in practical righteousness, keeping from sin, for if we regard sin in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us (Psalm 66:18).

This was the sort of prayer Paul desired from the saints, and knew he was being the beneficiary of from the faithful Philippians. Paul told his readers to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17). This brings us to another aspect of prayer, the sort of prayer that Paul sought and which he knew would be effectual per the text verse above. Prayer must be a labour of love. It must be something which is not easy or occasional.

"Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God." (Colossians 4:12)

"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me." (Romans 15:30)

Prayer is a discipline - which is probably why we don't pray nearly as much or as fervently as we ought to in today's Christianity. Prayer should be a sacrifice - of time, of energy, of emotional and spiritual comfort. We are to strive together with those for whom we are praying. We have a part in their walk - which is an aspect of what Galatians 6:2 means when it says we are to bear one another's burdens.

Now certainly, this all depends upon the "supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ". We must always remember that it is not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit, that the work is accomplished. But, we are given a part in this ministry - as God's children, we have His ear, and can come before His very throne of grace to find grace to help in time of need. As the title suggests, if we are to be spiritual people, we must devote ourselves and our time and energy to fulfilling this important ministry. Spirituality does not come without a price.

by Tim Dunkin
Used With Permission

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Daily Devotional for Tuesday August 22nd/06

Here is an excellent series of devotionals by Kate Plourde on discouragement and overcoming it:

30 Day Devotional On Discouragement

So far she has posted 15 days dealing with discouragement - next she will be posting 15 days dealing with encouragement. I have been blessed through these Scriptural reminders, and it has helped me fight a battle with discouragement in my own life.

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Daily Devotional for Wednesday August 23rd/06

Wrestling Until The Day Break

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Daily Devotional for Thursday August 24th/06

HOW NOT TO QUIT!!!
Titus 1:9-16

Introduction: Titus was in a hard place. In out text verses, we see people who were hard to reach with the gospel or were going to the different houses to subvert these homes, so in verse 16, these people even tried to say they were saved. But the fruit of their lives revealed that there wasn't any root change.

In chapter two Paul admonished Titus to remind the older women to behave themselves. They had been false accusers, given to much wine and had not been teaching good things. It is a good possibility Titus was ready to throw in the towel when he received this letter. In the past few years in our church I have seen a large decrease in offerings, a decrease in attendance and a huge decrease in interest in the things of God, an increase in absenteeism without good cause and most of our people have left the church. Some left when moving away to different states. I do not remember a time that I have seen more people sleeping in services. It seems that very few care if they even come.

I thought of quitting the ministry altogether. I have heard men say for years that they felt like quitting every Monday morning. I used to think about that on Sunday nights. One of those times was in 1998. I had decided that I was going to my home church’s homecoming and preach it and then come back to resign from the church. But it seemed that everywhere I turned, I was running into some roadblocks. I bought some songbooks at a store called Second Chance. In these songbooks were songs to encourage us in the Lord or trusting in the Lord. As I was reading my Bible for devotions, I would run into some verses along the same lines. Then on the Thursday morning before I was to leave to go to West Virginia to preach, I was at the nursing home. I was taking my 30-minute break. I opened my briefcase looking for something to read when I ran across a newspaper that I had thrown to the back of my briefcase. I was flipping through it when I found an article that was entitled "How not to quit." When I saw the title, I said to the Lord, "Okay, Lord, you have my complete attention." That sermon by a missionary changed my mind, challenged my heart and charged my soul.

I know that some of you are in the same boat I was in. You have decided to quit and cannot find a gracious way to do so. I may resign from my church but I am not going to resign from the ministry with the help of God. So I want to give you 14 reasons why I cannot quit. I hope that this will do more for you. I want to give these quickly. I will not be able to great detail. I am sure this message is for some of you as well it is once again for me. I will try to quit on time. So don’t quit before I do.

1. I’M AFRAID OF WHAT GOD WOULD DO TO ME.

A. I fear God and His chastening. (I HAVE BEEN THERE, DONE THAT AND DON'T EVER WANT TO GO BACK.) I have the marks of the chastening hand of God on my body. Time will not permit me to go into details on what happened in that time. If you are curious, I will talk with you after services today.

B. I'm responsible for my call of life. God is the management but He left the stewardship up to me. Psalm 118:18 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” This confidence will even extend to me. When I trust myself, I fail and fall every time.

C. There is a sin unto death and quitting could be my sin unto death. I cannot say for certain but it could be in my case or even your case.

2. I CAN'T QUIT BECAUSE I'LL BE MAD AT MYSELF IN A FEW DAYS. Luke 15:17 “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!” We all know the parable of the prodigal son. He was mad with himself. He thought about those biscuits that mommy used to make and he was eating husks of corn. He was even thinking about the steaks that he could have had. He was thinking about those biscuits. If I quit, it will be probably a decision of impulse. It will be probably a decision of instability. And it will be probably a decision of insincerity. I love to preach. Since the church has gone down, I have some Sundays where there are just a few. I started going to the nursing home on a few Mondays of the month. I was going for them but I figured it out that it is good for me too. My wife told me a few months ago that I was not really fitting to live with because I was mourning over not being able to preach as much as I used to do until I started going to the nursing home. If I quit the ministry, I know I will be mad at myself in a few days.

3. I BELIEVE IN HELL. If I would quit, there will be people who would go to hell that may not have done so if I had not quit. I may never see great many people get saved but the few I do see get saved may not have done so if I had quit.

4. I DON'T WANT TO DISAPPOINT OTHER PEOPLE. I would not want to disappoint my Pastor. I would not want him to write a letter like Paul did in regards to Demas. 2nd Timothy 4:10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.” He invested time and money into our ministry throughout the years. He loves me like one of his sons. He gave me my first chance to preach.

I would not want to disappoint my family. I may not have been the perfect father but my quitting will disappoint them especially after the times they hear me preach on faithfulness.

5. I DON'T WANT TO BE UNGRATEFUL TO CHRIST.

A. He has given me salvation. I did not deserve salvation but He gave it to me. To be a traitor by quitting would show ingratitude to my Saviour.

B. He has given me a home in heaven. My heavenly home will better than I could ever imagine. But to quit would show ingratitude toward the Saviour.

C. He has given me the best wife in the world. If I have any ministry at all, it is because my wife has made up for my weaknesses in the ministry with her concern, compassion for people that is deeper and greater than I could ever have.

D. He has given me a ministry. Why would I want to quit the greatest calling of life?

6. I DON'T WANT TO QUIT BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE UNGRATEFUL TO THOSE WHO HAVE HELPED ME. I could take the time to name some of these folks but I would not want to leave some out. Some are here today or would want to be here today. Recently a friend called in regards to a car that they had for sale. I was not looking for another vehicle but the Lord dropped it into our laps. These folks sold me the car at a price that would seem to be robbery but if I quit, then I would be ungrateful to friends like this.

7. I DON'T WANT TO TAKE OTHERS OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD. Romans 14:7 “For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.”

A. Someone always falls with you. It may be our own family. It may be a young man who thinks that the ministry is the greatest vocation of the world because he sees it in you. But I quit and that young man may fall with me.

B. It could be one of a fellow pastor or missionary that sees us going on in spite of the failures and problems.

8. I DON'T WANT TO LOSE MY REWARD IN HEAVEN. 1st Corinthians 3:11-15 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

A. No matter how small of a reward it is. It is more than I deserve. I am not working for rewards in heaven. If that is my goal, then I mingled wood, hay and stubble in my work for Christ. Of course, we know that it will burn up.

B. I want to cast crowns at the feet of Jesus. No one wants ashes placed at their feet. This is true for Jesus also.

9. I DON'T LIKE THE FEELING OF BEING A BACKSLIDER. No one is as spiritual as we should be at all times. I don’t care who you are or think you are. But to quit means that I will be miserable. I don’t think that there is anything worse than a miserable, backsliding preacher who quits.

There are some truths to be quickly concerned here. Conviction will be a harder burden to carry. I know this from personal experience. You won't want to be around Christians who are right with God. Neither does the worldly crowd want you around. No one and I repeat no one wants to be around a backslider and quitting the ministry is definitely a sign of backsliding.

10. I DON'T LIKE TO BE IN A POSITION WHERE IT IS HARD TO BE CLOSE TO GOD. When you quit it will be hard to read God's Word. When you quit it will be hard to pray. The heavens will seem to be brass. When you quit, you can't have the fellowship of God that you once had.

11. I DON'T WANT TO RUIN MY CHANCE TO DO GOD'S PERFECT WILL. After all being in God's perfect will is the only place of joy; of glory for God and of true happiness.

12. I DON'T WANT TO PUT MYSELF IN THE POSITION OF BEING TEMPTED TO GET INTO DEEPER SIN. Do I really need to say much here? We have all gotten into deeper sin. Quitting could open the door for just that.

13. I DON'T WANT TO QUIT BECAUSE I KNOW THAT JESUS IS WITH ME MOST WHEN I AM DISCOURAGED, WHEN I'M DOWN AND WHEN I AM HAVING A TRIAL.

A. Discouragement should cause us to draw closer to God. Many times it does not but it should.

B. Trials should remind us that Jesus is not far off. The disciples were in a storm when Jesus came walking on the water. Did He know that they were in a hard place? Why of course He did. That is one reason why He came to where they were.

14. I DON'T WANT TO QUIT BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO MISS THE BLESSINGS THAT FOLLOW PROBLEMS AND OBSTACLES. If there is anything to be selfish it should be selfish for the blessings of God. But we want smooth sailing and life isn't that way. Mike Renfrow said this one time. “Smooth seas don’t make sailors.” God has a great work for our church and will reward us if we are faithful and hold on longer.

Conclusion: Did you come discouraged and thinking about quitting? I hope this will help you today as we saw these fourteen reasons why we should not quit.

Pastor Mike Walls
Used With Permission

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Daily Devotional for Friday August 25th/06

I have started a new series of devotionals on the Song of Solomon. There is so much in this book - I will be using it as a springboard, ie. using its themes or phrases to bring out further studies. This is what I did with those studies on Genesis, tracing out words, phrases, and themes that impressed me in my reading through Genesis, and then seeing how they were used throughout the rest of the Bible.

I hope this series is a blessing to you. Wrestling Until The Day Break basically marks the first study, and these two mark the next ones, though they are not in any specific order. I have been making a list of phrases or sections I wanted to dig deeper in this book, and am praying that the Lord will give me wisdom to develop them into studies or devotionals that will be a blessing and a source of spiritual strength to meditate on.

Draw Me And We Will Run After Thee

Beside The Shepherds' Tents

This second one is a stronger message than I originally intended, but I believe that the Lord led me to bring it out the way it is. Certainly food for thought, in examining our own lives and our churches.

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Daily Devotional for Saturday August 26th/06

83. Soul Writing

Proverbs 3:3; John 19:22; Revelation 20:12

The art of expressing ideas by hieroglyphics, or alphabetical characters, is very old; but there is a writing that antedates these; it is the writing of the soul.

In recent years men have invented many recording instruments - all kinds of "graphs": - seismographs, dictographs, phonographs, polygraphs and what not?

But no invention of man can be compared to the record keeping soul of man.

I. ITS UNIVERSALITY

Without one exception, whether they can read or write, every man writes his own record.

II. ITS CONTINUITY

From the cradle to the grave, no matter who he may be, the writing goes on; every thought, word, deed, emotion; voluntary or involuntary - knowing or unknowing.

III. ITS PONDEROSITY

Not a mere outline or synopsis; what an elaborate work - every day a page, every year a volume.

IV. ITS ACCURACY

Authors may be prejudiced, one-sided, in writing biographies; but it is out of our power to falsify our record so much as by a single word: things most trifling, secret, personal, are transcribed without any diminution, exaggeration, alteration. Even liars cannot do otherwise.

V. ITS IRREVOCABILITY

Cannot be recalled.

VI. ITS IMMUTABILITY

Much as we might desire to change some things, it cannot be done. "What I have written, etc."

VII. ITS INDELIBILITY

Cannot be effaced; we may forget temporarily, but the record remains; Time cannot obliterate it - Accident cannot touch it - Tears cannot blot it out - Death cannot destroy it - Pardon cannot efface it.

VIII. ITS INDESTRUCTIBILITY

The very fabric on which it is written is immortal - the soul cannot die.

Memory is immortal: the man of years remembers the scenes of childhood.

IX. ITS UTILITY

Records are kept for a purpose.

1. It is used in bringing men to GOD; the HOLY SPIRIT uses it to show men their exceeding sinfulness and points them to the only SAVIOUR and Deliverer.
2. It will be of use in inspiring the saints throughout the ages as they worship Him who loved them and washed them in His own blood (Revelation 1:5). It will cause the redeemed to fall on their faces again and again (Revelation 5:8, 9) as they look upon the LAMB slain for their sins.
3. It will be used at the judgment of the great white throne; the opening of the books will be all that is needed.
4. In hell it will give rise to that remorse of soul whose fires are never quenched - Pilate - Judas - Dives.

(Taken from Preach The Word by Frederick Rader)

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Daily Devotional for Sunday August 27th/06

Isolation

"And he took him aside from the multitude" (Mark 7:33).

Paul not only stood the tests in Christian activity, but in the solitude of captivity. You may stand the strain of the most intense labor, coupled with severe suffering, and yet break down utterly when laid aside from all religious activities; when forced into close confinement in some prison house.

That noble bird, soaring the highest above the clouds and enduring the longest flights, sinks into despair when in a cage where it is forced to beat its helpless wings against its prison bars. You have seen the great eagle languish in its narrow cell with bowed head and drooping wings. What a picture of the sorrow of inactivity.

Paul in prison. That was another side of life. Do you want to see how he takes it? I see him looking out over the top of his prison wall and over the heads of his enemies. I see him write a document and sign his name -- not the prisoner of Festus, nor of Caesar; not the victim of the Sanhedrin; but the -- "prisoner of the Lord." He saw only the hand of God in it all. To him the prison becomes a palace. Its corridors ring with shouts of triumphant praise and joy.

Restrained from the missionary work he loved so well, he now built a new pulpit -- a new witness stand -- and from that place of bondage come some of the sweetest and most helpful ministries of Christian liberty. What precious messages of light come from those dark shadows of captivity.

Think of the long train of imprisoned saints who have followed in Paul's wake. For twelve long years Bunyan's lips were silenced in Bedford jail. It was there that he did the greatest and best work of his life. There he wrote the book that has been read next to the Bible [Pilgrim's Progress]. He says, "I was at home in prison and I sat me down and wrote, and wrote, for joy did make me write."

The wonderful dream of that long night has lighted the pathway of millions of weary pilgrims...

Oh, the heavenly consolation that has poured forth from places of solitude! --S. G. Rees

"Taken aside by Jesus,
To feel the touch of His hand;
To rest for a while in the shadow
Of the Rock in a weary land.

"Taken aside by Jesus,
In the loneliness dark and drear,
Where no other comfort may reach me,
Than His voice to my heart so dear.

"Taken aside by Jesus,
To be quite alone with Him,
To hear His wonderful tones of love
'Mid the silence and shadows dim.

"Taken aside by Jesus,
Shall I shrink from the desert place;
When I hear as I never heard before,
And see Him 'face to face'?"

(Taken from Streams In The Desert devotional)

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Daily Devotional for Monday August 28th/06

If you enjoy reading great sermons about our Saviour, you will certainly love the latest one we have posted at our study board:

Jesus Christ The Same by Vance Havner

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