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It’s a new year, and we have a fresh start. We have the opportunity to be who we want to be and accomplish what we want to accomplish.

 

So here’s the question I want you to think about tonight as you’re reading this.

What do you want to be about?   What are you going to represent?  What is going to define you this year?

You get to decide now.

 

Last year our Kids pastor and I did a first aid course.  I have to confess those mouth to mouth dummies freak me out as did the gory videos of what to do if someone has a knife in their thigh, burnt arms and all kinds of cuts and gross stuff!  I’m one of those people that love watching things like CSI and House but with my eyes closed through probably about 45% of it.  Usually I watch it with Tony and he is good at letting me know when its okay but this one time he was like, you can watch now but unfortunately it cut to the morge guy peeling back the guys scalp to look at the brain.  Yeah.  No.

Anyway first aid course.  I have a friend whose son did a first aid course through school then LITERALLY walked out the gates and saw a kid get hit by a car.  Literally.  He was right there on the scene and knew what to do because he had done the first aid course.  The course teaches you what to do in the crisis situation so that when you’re there in the moment you’re not having to make decisions – you know what to do and work through your checklist of what to look for.

 

One of the biggest decisions you need to make in life is who you will represent.  Some people wear tshirts to show what sports team they’re into, or what movies they love.  But I’m not talking about representing things like that but about making a decision about where you stand with God, about knowing God and making Him known.

What does it look like to represent Jesus?  What does it look like to live fully devoted to Jesus in real life?

Do you have to wear Christian tshirts?  A massive cross?  Does your ring tone have to be Jesus is a friend of mine?

There are heaps of ways that we can show that we know God and are Christians.

 

  1. what we say.

Did you know that the average girl speaks about 27000 words a day.  And the average guy about 18000.  Or if you’re Jessy about 263.  That’s a lot of words and a lot of conversations.  Sometimes the conversations are just about surface stuff – tv, youtube, the weather blah blah blah.  But sometimes they can go deeper – about what we’re worried about, how we’re stressed out, things going on that hurt us… in those moments we have a decision to make – will we encourage someone with the encouragement that God can give or just say nice things.  The bible says that God comforts us so that we can pass that on to others.  We go through things and God helps us so that we can help other people and encourage people to get to know our awesome God who loves us and helps us and gives us peace and is with us always. Read the rest of this entry »

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At HKC Youth this term we’ve been looking at the behind the scenes stuff – the spiritual stuff that goes on behind the scenes in our life, how that affects here and now, what we can see, how we feel, how we act, and how we are not victims but how God has given us tools to equip and empower us for any situation.

A couple of weeks ago one of our awesome youth leaders did a phenomenal message about the armour of God – who can remember the different parts of armour?

One of the parts that especially challenged me and made me go mmmmm was when he wrote on each nerf bullet a tactic or strategy that the enemy uses to mess with our minds.

Shame.

Fear.

Insecurity.

Guilt.

Hate.

And he shot them out of his nerf gun at his brother who was wearing his helmet of salvation and had his shield of faith up and the bullets just bounced off and were deflected.

Our shield of faith is made up of all the truth we know about God.

He is good.

He is for us.

He is powerful.

He gives us peace.

He heals us.

He is at work to make all things good.

When the enemy fires a lie at us, fires a dart at us, his aim is that it will hit us, penetrate us, wound us – kill steal and destroy us.  That we’ll get hit and then we’ll buy the lie and it becomes the way we think.

But faith identifies the lie and replaces it with the truth of the Word of God.

Jesus did this when the devil tempted him in the desert after he was baptized.  The devil would say “so if you think you’re the son of God do this or do that” and Jesus would hold up his shield of faith and say “it is written in the word of God” and the lie would just bounce off.

There is power in declaring who God is.  Regardless of our circumstances, regardless of what it looks like, God is faithful, He is good, He is mighty to save. When we declare Who God is, our circumstances have to bow to the truth.

But sometimes we have our own lies.  We have our own issues that fight against God.

The war is within us.  My will vs God’s will.  My ways vs God’s way.

There are things that I don’t want to do, that I end up doing.

There are things that I want to do, but I don’t do them.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride,  and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,  humility, kindness, , empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” Read the rest of this entry »

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So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.    Galatians 5:16-17

Matthew 16:24 [ Take Up the Cross and Follow Him ] Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.

when i became a christian i didnt know this verse – i didnt know any of the bible.  but somewhere deep in my mind i thought that if i gave my life to God that it would mean for the rest of my life i would have to be boring, good, nice and wear gray.  and listen to amy grant.  but yet, because i had jsut discovered that God was real and that i had to respond to that and that he was awesome and had died to save me and give me life here on earth and for all eternity and that he loved me and had a plan for me… i was willing to wear gray and be boring.  forever.  the exchange was worth it.  imagine my delight and surprize to discover that being a child of God ment more adventure and blessing and satisfaction than i could ever imagine! 

yet.  there is that passage.  in black and white.  take up your cross and DENY yourself. 

it doesnt conjure up images of delight and dancing. 

it brings to mind death and suffering and sacrifice and hardship.

but it doesnt mean wearing gray and living a boring life.  it doesnt mean that we need to take a sledge hammer to our tv, melt our cds, burn our clothes apart from the really fugly ones, have only 1 pair of shoes, eat stale bread and sardines, no social life, no friends, no fun…. 

it does mean we need to be discerning and choose to live according to the ways of God – ways to bless us and keep us safe and ways that lead us into the adventures of God and His love.

sometimes we need to turn the tv off and keep a clean heart.

sometimes we need to reign in our materialism and be generous.

sometimes we need to make choices about relationships that distract and lead us astray.

but the reward is so good.

when we choose the flesh we reap death.  when we choose obedience we reap spiritual rewards.

its about perspective.  we need to shake loose that idea that the stuff we’re denying is good and good for us.  its not.  really, its not.  we need to get in our heart that the reality is that God’s ways are sooo good and living for Him and living close is sooooo the way to live.  the world doesnt offer even a fraction of what God offers.

 

“In a day when believers seem to be trying to please both the world and the Lord (which is an impossible thing), when people are far more concerned about offending their friends than offending God, there is only one answer… Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him!” — Keith Green, No Compromise album, 1978.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”  Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.  Matthew 4:1-11

 

 

 

 

Temptation Comes To Us

  • For Test: Sincerity, faith, love, patience, are put to proof.
  • For Growth: It develops and increases our graces.
  • For Usefulness: We’re able to comfort and warn others.
  • For Victory: How glorious it is to overcome the enemy!
  • For God’s Glory: He vanquishes Satan by feeble men.

The Resurgence

 

 

 

 

We read in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was TEMPTED, but that He overcame the temptation and did not compromise or choose to give in to it. 

 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

 

So what are the lessons we can learn from Jesus’ example of overcoming temptation?

 

The devil slyly begins, "If you are the Son of God…." He’s basically saying to Jesus, "You may not be the Son of God at all. Prove it to me by doing this minor miracle." He was also pushing Jesus’ flesh buttons knowing that Jesus had been fasting and praying for 40 days in the wilderness – the enemy was tempting Jesus to satisfy the needs and wants of His flesh in ways that were disobedient to God. The second temptation is about authority and worldly glory. The devil leads Jesus up to a high place and shows Him the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Again, Jesus resists. Satan tries a third time. He brought Jesus to Jerusalem and took Him up to the highest part of the temple and told Him to jump off. He said that angels would come and lift Him up so that he wouldn’t be hurt. The devil even starts quoting scripture now, quoting from Psalm 91, "For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone." (Satan left out the part about ‘to keep you in all your ways’.) Jesus answered him, "It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’."

 

Satan came to tempt Jesus and question his sonship.    Satan began the whole series of his temptations by casting a doubt upon Jesus’ sonship. Has the enemy tried this with you? Has he tried to cast doubt on your salvation or your status as son or daughter of God?   Satan does not come with point-blank denial for that would be too startling; doubt and deception serve Satan’s purposes better than heresy. He opens with an "If" making the doubt look like holy anxiety concerning divine sonship. Yet, Jesus’ sonship is made clear in scripture (Ps. 2:7) and the Father had just pronounced him as his beloved Son (Mt. 3:17). Satan tries to make us doubt what God has told us is true. Resurgence

 

We see His temptation here and also in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46). In both instances, Jesus chooses His Father’s will over the temptation to pursue an easier path. But notice that He has no extraordinary weapons in his temptation; He used the same tools we have — the Spirit and the Word.

 

 

An important lesson for us is this: temptation is not sin. The enemy may tempt us by putting evil thoughts into our mind, but we can push them right out again with God’s help and our choice. Martin Luther says "You can’t help it if a bird flies over your head, but you don’t need to let him make a nest in your hair." Temptation is not sin. It is that thing that stirs within us that desire to do something we know is wrong and not pleasing to God, something that compromises the lifestyle of holiness that we live as children of God.

"Temptation is inevitable. You have to decide whether or not it’s going to connect with a lust or vulnerability on the inside of you." -Casey Doss 

 

"For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want" (Galatians 5:17). The battle is both inevitable and necessary for you to begin to experience spiritual freedom in your life.

 

Note: God may test His children, a process designed to purify and strengthen them, but He does not lead them into sin. Without exception, sin results when temptation strikes a sympathetic chord in the human heart, and man has no one to blame but himself. 

But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread. Job 23:10-12

 

Notice how Jesus responded to temptation. The devil brought truths mixed with half truths to deceive and entice Jesus. Jesus answered with the Word. Even when the devil misquoted the Bible to Jesus, Jesus answered back with the Scripture He knew.

Jesus teaches us this: answer temptation with God’s Word. We need to know Scripture well enough to answer our doubts and fears and temptations with it. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), and as we learn to apply the Word to every circumstance of our lives, we too can emerge victorious from fierce temptations.

 

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

 

Jesus trusts the Father and overcomes the temptation. He does not give in, and he never gave in or gave up on his way to Calvary to pay for our sins and the times when we give in. When tempted, we must trust the Father’s words and promises as Jesus did when he was tempted. Satan only questions truth for he is the father of lies (John 8:44). Therefore let us stand strong in the truth that we are sons and daughters of God not because of our work, but because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.  Resurgence

Read the rest of this entry »

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“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  1 Peter 5:8

 

“Don’t stick your head into the lion’s mouth before praying, ‘Lord, save me from the lions!’” A much better strategy is to not go into the lion’s den at all. Then you don’t have to worry about getting devoured.

 

~ Joanna Weaver

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Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. It came about after these events that his master’s wife looked with desire at Joseph, and she said, "Lie with me." But he refused and said to his master’s wife, "Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.  Genesis 39:6-10

 

sin is sin.

no matter who sees it and how public it is.  it is sin.

and it has consequences.

between us and God.

 

joseph had an open door to sin.  his masters wife invited him to sleep with her.

but joseph said no.  because even though he was a slave he was a man of integrity and obedience unto God.

this passage teaches me to have my priorities right and to make a decision BEFORE i am in a position of temptation.  the easy road for joseph would have been to sleep with her, but he chooses to deny his flesh and selfishness and to obey God’s ways.   He priorities God’s pleasure and favour above that of his masters wife.

Read the rest of this entry »

fix-your-eyes

i was thinking some more about giving up giving into temptation and how Jesus is the sinless one, and our model, the one who overcame temptation and shows us the way to live…

and i was reminded in that instant:

let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

fixing my eyes on jesus is one of those things that i live by.

fixing my eyes upon jesus means i fall more in love with Him and i see Him and His ways and His Word and i hear Him calling me to draw near and to follow Him.  He gives me peace, courage, strength, hope, determination, conviction.

i fix my eyes upon jesus and see His goodnes, His mercy, His love, His sacrifice, His power, His justice, His holiness, His compassion, His friendship.

i fix my eyes upon jesus and see my Saviour who died for me.

and when i fix my eyes upon Him i want to draw near and walk as He walks and i want to throw off everything that distracts and diswades we from doing that.

fixing my eyes on jesus is one of my keys to giving up giving in to temptation.

 

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For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." 2 Peter 2:22

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  1 Peter 1:18-19

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said.    "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin." John 8:6-11

preparation notes for housegroup study:

 

 

The Temptation of Jesus – Luke 4

we read in Hebrews 4:15 that Jesus was TEMPTED, but that He overcame the temptation and did not compromise or choose to give in to it. 

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

So what are the lessons we can learn from Jesus’ example of overcoming temptation?

 

The devil slyly begins, "If you are the Son of God…." He’s basically saying to Jesus, "You may not be the Son of God at all. Prove it to me by doing this minor miracle."

The second temptation is to authority and worldly glory. The devil leads Jesus up to a high place and shows him the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.

Satan tries a third time. He brought Jesus to Jerusalem and took him up to the highest part of the temple and told him to jump off. He said that angels would come and lift him up so that he wouldn’t be hurt.

The devil even starts quoting scripture now. He quoted from Psalm 91, "For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone." (Satan left out the part about ‘to keep you in all your ways’.)

Jesus answered him, "It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’."

We see his temptation here and also in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46). In both instances, he chooses his Father’s will over the temptation to pursue an easier path. But notice that he has no extraordinary weapons in his temptation; he has the same tools we have — the Spirit and the Word.

An important lesson for disciples is this: temptation is not sin. Satan may tempt us by putting evil thoughts into our mind, but we can push them right out again with God’s help. Martin Luther says "You can’t help it if a bird flies over your head, but you don’t need to let him make a nest in your hair." Temptation is not sin.

"For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want" (Galatians 5:17). The battle is both inevitable and necessary for you to begin to experience spiritual freedom in your life.

Notice how Jesus responded to temptation. The devil brought truths mixed with half truths to deceive and entice Jesus. Jesus answered with the Word. Even when the devil misquoted the Bible to Jesus, Jesus answered back with the Scripture he knew.

Note: God may test His children, a process designed to purify and strengthen them, but He does not lead them into sin. Without exception, sin results when temptation strikes a sympathetic chord in the human heart, and man has no one to blame but himself. 

Jesus teaches his disciples is: answer temptation with God’s Word, too. We need to know Scripture well enough to answer our doubts and fears and temptations with it. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17), and as we learn to apply the Word to every circumstance of our lives, we too can emerge victorious from fierce temptations.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

 

passages on temptation:

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 

additional passages:

Galatians 5:13, 16-17, 24 You are called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Romans 8:5 puts it like this: Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

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“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.  It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world.  It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night.  For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20).  The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts.  And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth.  For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable and almost incurable. –John Piper,

“You must walk the path of temptation.” Molinos from 100 Days in the Secret Place

An interesting quote isn’t it. We must walk the path of temptation. Most would say flee from temptation – but to do that first we must face temptation. Though we pray in the Lord’s prayer “lead us from temptation and deliver us from evil” we learn from facing and overcoming temptations. We learn obedience. We learn surrender. We learn to be led by the Holy Spirit within us, who is transforming us into the character of God.

Jesus was tempted.

Luke 4:13 And when the Devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, having been tempted, He is able to rescue those who are being tempted.

Jesus was tempted, not only by the devil in a determined pattern of distraction and attack, but throughout life, because Jesus was human. Because of that he has full understanding of what it feels to be tempted and is the one to run to in our time of trial.

What is the purpose of temptation? Does it have a purpose???

I do think God uses temptation for a purpose. Does he tempt us? No.

James 1:13 Let no one being tempted say, I am tempted from God. For God is not tempted by evils, and He tempts no one. But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them.

But He uses all things together for good for His purposes and glory. So thus God uses temptation. Temptation is a fire that refines us. It shows us our weaknesses so we can cast them upon God and draw upon His mercy, grace and strength. It allows the work of Grace to be wrought within us.

Temptation comes from within us. It is the fleshly desires we have for things. Be it another person, something we don’t have, power, to react just as we want to, to lie – to whatever.

The good thing is we are not alone in facing temptation. As said above Jesus is with us. So too should our friends. We ALL go through temptation. Be honest with each other and support those who need support.

The other and the most good thing is that God makes a way to escape. He delivers us from temptation. We must take HIS road, HIS way. Sometimes that will be to flee, to remove ourselves from that place (ie nightclub, boys bedroom, shop etc) Other times it will be to talk with someone and share the burden and with the grace and help of God tough it through (so to speak).

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has taken you but what is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but with the temptation also will make a way to escape, so that you may be able to bear it.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, because having been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation

Now I am NOT SUGGESTION we deliberatily put ourselves in harms way (in temptations way). But temptation will happen in the course of normal life. Dont go looking for trouble. Dont go looking for temptation. Keep living a life walking to please God.

2 Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. Therefore if anyone purges himself from these, he shall be a vessel to honor, sanctified and useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. But flee youthful lusts, and follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

So where does this fit in the 100 Days series… we are studying the “way of the cross”, embracing the changes and the path of change that God outworks in our lives. We must walk the path of temptation and allow it to transform us. We must walk a close walk with God, drawing near to Him.

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