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Healing Principles – Truth

MirrorFor the past couple of posts I’ve been talking about God’s divine healing that was provided by Christ on the cross. So far we’ve seen that sickness is a part of the sin nature and our healing is based in the authority of God.

Today I want to talk about a problem I see in the lives of some believers who erroneously believe that denial is the path to their healing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But first, I need to make it clear that I wholeheartedly believe in the confession of the Word of God. We need to speak out our faith. The words of our mouth must line up with God’s view of life as found in the Scriptures.

That being said, there are those who take this too far. If the doctor gives them some bad news, especially when it’s something like cancer, they start to deny it. When they’re with other believers they’ll act as if there’s nothing wrong. You ask them how they’re doing and they say, “I’m healed and whole.”

It actually all comes down to fear. They’re afraid that if somehow they slip up in their “faith confession”, God will never heal them.

The fact is that because sickness is a part of the sin package, it’s to be treated the same way that any other kind of sin is taken care of.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
I John 1:8

Because sickness is a part of this package, you can replace the word sin with sickness. The principle is that claiming you’re not sick, when you are, means that you’ve deceived yourself. We cannot sweep sickness under the carpet and expect to be healed. Denial is never God’s method for anything that needs to be removed from our lives.

God’s way is just the opposite.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

Never deny your sickness. Denial is based in fear and it causes us to leave the path of truth. What we must do with sickness is to confess it so that He can remove it. We do this to let Christ purify us – body and soul.

This agrees with the Word in other parts of Scripture.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.
James 5:13-14

This verse tells us some good advice. If you’re going through troubled times, then pray. If you’re cheerful, sing. If you’re sick in some way, call elders in Christ.

Please realize that depending on the church this may or may not be the official elder board. This verse is talking about those who know God’s Word concerning healing.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
James 5:15

This is God’s divine order for the sin package. Confession of the problem and removal by the prayer of authority based upon faith in God’s Word. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a physical sickness or a sinful activity.

Question: How have you experienced confession and removal in your Christian walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2015

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2015 in Faith, Healing, Power of God, Prayer

 

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The Truth about Spiritual Warfare

mhXQFuIWe’re in a battle. Not against people, but unseen spiritual forces. Do we really understand the nature of this conflict?

I’ve heard Christians use the term spiritual warfare in many different contexts. Does our teaching line up with Scripture? That’s what matters.

After watching many self-proclaimed spiritual warriors get flattened by the enemy, I have to ask myself what exactly is this about? We need to base what we’re doing in the Scripture if we want success.

The Bible is clear.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
2 Corinthians 10:1

Unfortunately, many take this verse too far out of context. Then the church ends up looking like an army of clowns going off to do battle. They’re unarmed and untrained in this spiritual battle. Then we wonder why the church is so devastated.

At one point the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and made a statement I found hard to accept. What I heard on the inside was, “Do you realize that there’s been no spiritual warfare for hundreds of years?”

How can this be true? I hear people say they’re doing spiritual warfare all the time. We sing about it. We preach about it.

Eventually I was able to understand what the Spirit of God was trying to get across to me. The key word is warfare.

In the above verse, the phrase wage war literally means to serve in a military campaign. This is where our definition of spiritual warfare falls short. Our skirmishes are not warfare.

According to the Webster’s Comprehensive Dictionary, war is “a contest between or among nations…carried on by force or with arms.” That’s where we miss it. War is between nations, not individuals.

For instance, what if I got upset about some things that Canada is doing (I’m not!). What if I then covered myself in weaponry, Rambo style, then walked to the border of Canada and declared that I was going to war against them. How long do you think that “war” would last?

As crazy as that sounds, that’s what many believers do in the spirit. Then they call what they’re doing spiritual warfare.

We need to realize that true spiritual warfare will not take place until the church wakes up from its sleep. Then, in the spirit, we must begin to pull down the strongholds of Satan. This is not just the job of one or two bold Christians. It’s something that the Lord is calling us all to take part in.

We can either spend our time complaining about our society, or do something that will make a difference. Time on our knees before God will bring great change on the earth. Prayer, fasting, intercession, and prayer in the spirit are what it will take to bring revival to our land.

Question: What’s your part in this spiritual battle?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2014 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Our Culture of Darkness

SunriseA little over a year ago I posted a series about Christianity as a counter-culture. I want to pick up that theme again for a few more posts. Too many believers want to keep their feet in both the church and the world. That’s going to become increasingly difficult as we approach the Lord’s return.

The world hates Christ and His people. Please understand what I mean by this. I’m talking about the world system and not the individual people themselves. It’s the system – the way our culture has established itself – that’s against the knowledge of Christ.

The Lord spoke about it.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19

We live in a society that hates the light – the knowledge of truth. This is because truth is an agent of change. When I begin to know and understand the truth, I’m responsible to do something with it.

Because of this, the default response of the world is, “I don’t want to know the truth.” They have found that ignorance is bliss – at least in the short term.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:17-18

Here’s what many people don’t understand. Christ didn’t come to condemn the world. And it’s definitely not our job either. We are not here to rebuke sinners for doing what is natural to them.

The problem arises when the light of truth becomes evident. Even though we may not directly condemn anyone, by rejecting the truth they stand condemned. In effect, they’ve condemned themselves.

When you know that there’s a right path, yet you knowingly chose the wrong way, you become self-condemned. At that point the only solution is to cram your life with so many distractions that you never think about this truth.

That’s where our society finds itself today. We have more opportunities to amuse ourselves than ever before. I chose that word on purpose. A-muse – it literally means to not-think.

On the other side of the coin, we as believers should be the ones who don’t fear the truth. We should delight in the presence of the Lord and His Word. We should be welcoming the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We can’t afford to pick up the attitude of the world. Don’t fall victim to the distractions of this age which will short-circuit your destiny in Christ. Spend time in the light of Christ and His truth.

Question: How does walking in the light differ from walking in the darkness?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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The First Move of Restoration #Revivals past

Bible1In my last post, I talked about the church’s descent into the Dark Ages.  It was a horrible time in history.  Many people ask, “How could all this have happened?”  What about all that the Bible teaches?

The bottom line is, that at that time, the Church was the ultimate authority in the life of the believer.  Their teaching was viewed as infallible.  The clergy would not allow the common people own a Bible.

“We’ll explain to you the truth you need to know.”

Around 1300 A.D., it seems that God finally said, “Enough – I’ve got to prepare my bride for my coming.”  The Lord had to rearm his church.  As I look at the flow of history, I see that God was restoring the armor of Ephesians 6.  The bride had to be dressed and ready for the Lord.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,
Ephesians 6:14a

First thing that was needed to be restored was the Belt of Truth.  This is what the church desperately hungered for at that time.  We need a foundation of truth.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17

I would never have known truth without Scripture.  I need to be taught the principles of God.

It seems that the church was without hope at this time.  The door to heaven was locked and the priests had the only key.

I think that it’s no coincidence that the printing press was invented during this period.  I also believe that it was a direct result of the move of God.  The first book printed with this new technology was the Bible.

The above verse tells me that sometimes I need to be rebuked, to be told when I’m wrong.  It’s how I react that tells whom I serve.  Am I willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and change, or am I hard-hearted and rebellious?

Thus, some of the greatest persecution of God’s people began.  Unfortunately it was not from unbelievers, but from the organized church, itself.

God started moving in the lives of His servants.  It was small at first.  Believers who wanted to read and study the Bible for themselves.

It’s hard for us in the United States to fathom this.  Most Christians have more than one Bible in their home.  We have access in stores and online.  We’re free to read Scripture whenever and wherever we want.

Throughout history this has not always been the case.  In my next post I’ll wrap up this series by recounting some of the precious saints of God who laid down their lives for us to have the abundance of Scripture that we now enjoy.

Question: How much do you appreciate your access to Scripture?  How do you show it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Revival, The Church

 

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The Rearview Mirror #Revivals past

Cathedral I believe that there’s a great revival coming soon to the church in America.  Sometimes we need to see how God has worked in the past, if we’re going to prepare for the future.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth.  When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many.
Isaiah 51:1-2

It’s important to see how far we’ve come.  Sometimes I get discouraged by the present condition of the church.  But when I look at where we started, it’s encouraging to know how close we are to Christ’s return.

Many talk about revival and restoration.  Do we really understand what that means?  We need to look at history because every move of God depends upon the truth He’s already restored.

Let’s go back 2000 years – to the infant church.  It was an incredible time in the spiritual realm.  Thousands of people were saved at a time.  Healings and miracles were commonplace.

The dead were raised.  Jails were opened up.

Yes, there were some “baby churches,” like Corinth, who weren’t walking in their call the way they should have been.  But the power of God was manifest throughout the known world.  The church grew incredibly for 300 years.

Then something earthshaking happened.  In 314 A.D., the Roman emperor Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.  In this act, he planted the seeds of destruction.  Constantine used Christianity to gain political power.

From then on that spirit started to infect the church.  Think about how the government runs the IRS, welfare, and healthcare.  Now picture the government running the church.

It’s no wonder that the descent to the Dark Ages began.  It was a downhill slide for the next 1000 years.

This spirit of earthly power took root in the church.  The Church, and specifically the popes, claimed the authority to rule over kings.  Many wars were started over this issue.

The practice of simony, the purchase of offices, was common.  Sanctuaries become more magnificent inside and out.  As the worship services increased in splendor, there was a decrease in spirituality.

At one point there was a meeting between Thomas Aquinas and Pope Innocent II.  The Pope showed Thomas the abundance of wealth that the church possessed – money, gold, and art.

Pope Innocent exclaimed, “You see, Thomas, the church can no longer say silver and gold have I none.”

To which Thomas replied, “True, but neither can she now say rise up and walk.”

These and many other abuses were prevalent in the Dark Ages.  As I look back and see what the Lord has taken us from, it gives me hope for our generation.

In my next post, I’ll talk about what God did to bring about a change in that dark period of church history.

Question: Are you expecting to see a great move of God in our generation?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2013 in Revival, The Church

 

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A Last-Days Deception

103_A_BonusPhotoThis post is the last in a series about our relationship to the Word of God.

The Book of Revelation mentions synagogues of Satan (Revelation 2:9).  These are places where the teaching of Scripture was done by satanic influence.  I need the Holy Spirit to help me interpret the Bible.  Yet, there are those who listen to the demon’s view of it.

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
1 Timothy 4:1

There are those who teach the Bible, but not the Word of God.  This is a great deception.  Of course no one would listen if a minister got up and said, “Satan says to do this.”  But if he reads a Scripture verse and puts a demonic twist to it, the church seems to fall for it most of the time.

Just because someone quotes Scripture doesn’t mean that what they’re preaching is of God.  I need the discernment of the Holy Spirit to protect me from false teaching.  How can I tell the difference between Satan’s teaching, man’s teaching, and the true Word of God?

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
Mark 16:20

This verse literally says that the Lord was a co-worker with them.  They did their work – proclaiming the Word of God.  God did His part – confirming the Word that was proclaimed.  Miracles were commonplace.  As the disciples went out, the Word of God spread, and there were signs and wonders everywhere they went.

When Satan quoted the Bible to Jesus (Luke 3:9-11), he used it to try and convince the Lord to jump off the highest point of the Temple.  If Jesus had jumped, would God the Father have confirmed that “word”?  Of course not.

Just because I quote the Bible, it doesn’t put God under any obligation to confirm it.  Even if I’m preaching from a text on healing, there’s no confirmation unless it’s a Word God wants preached at that moment.

There are questions I need to ask myself.  Is God working with me?  Am I proclaiming the Word of God for these people?  If the answer to both of these is “yes”, then I can expect a move of God.

We may not like it, but the truth is plain and simple.  If there are no signs following, then it wasn’t the Word of God that was preached.

When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
Acts 8:6

Scripture is very clear as to relationship between the preaching of the Word, and the response of the hearers.  When the Word of God is confirmed, there is a supernatural manifestation that draws people’s attention.

America needs a revival of hearing the Word of God.  It will only come from those who have received and planted the Word into their lives.

Questions: How hungry are you for a revival to sweep our nation?  Are you willing to seek God for it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2013 in Revival, The Church, Word of God

 

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The Law and the Power of God

PowerlessI’ve posted in the past about the power of God and the power of sin.  How do I know which power I’m using?  When I understood the answer to this, I was shocked.  I always thought that I was as far from legalistic as you could get.  Be prepared, I think that the answer might change your whole outlook as well.

My goal is to answer two questions over the next few posts.  Why does the church seem to have no power?  And what do we need to do to get it back?

When I say this, I’m comparing us to what I read in the book of Acts.  I’m also thinking about the stories I heard from my grandparent’s generation.  They came to the Lord in the wake of the Azuza Street revival.  When they were saved they saw miracles, healings, signs, and wonders.  What has happened to us since then?

You may think as I did, “I’m not legalistic.”  But do we even know what legalism looks like?  Let’s find out what the New Testament has to say about it.

You foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?  Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?
Galatians 3:1-2

The word translated foolish in the above verse literally means not thinking.  Paul is asking these Galatian Christians why they are not thinking about what they’re doing.

The next line he writes literally means, who has fascinated you by false representations?  It’s obvious from the way he writes that these believers were not being convinced by the truth, but rather a clever counterfeit.  Paul reminds them of the fact that they first believed Jesus Christ was crucified for them.

He then asks a simple question – how did you receive the Spirit?  The implied answer is that the Spirit was received by faith, trusting in God to do the work.

Paul was re-emphasizing to them that the law can’t save anyone.  The law only condemns.  Paul, however, continues along this line with another question and we have all but ignored its implications.

Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
Galatians 3:5

What most people don’t realize is that the word translated miracles in the New Testament is the Greek word dunamisPOWER.  Usually it is just the context that the translators use to decide whether to use miracle or power as the English word.

The question Paul asks is fundamental to our understanding of the power of God.  How does God give His Spirit and work power in the church?  Obviously, the answer is by faith.

Question: Why does following the law never lead to the power of God?

© Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Faith, Legalism, Power of God

 

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Choosing to Understand

Music SmokeWe live in a society where we have all but given up on understanding.  In many schools we’re taught how we need to think.  Don’t ask why, just agree.

We now have a generation of people who voice opinions, but don’t know why they have them.  The media is constantly telling us what we need to wear, listen to, and watch.  After all, “This is what everybody thinks.”

Scripture gives us a different perspective.

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7

As believers, we are told to seek wisdom and understanding.  We don’t just blindly follow the crowd.  There is a reason we are on the earth and it’s our job to find out why.

God has a plan for everyone’s life.  We’re not just random.  Life has meaning.  The problem is that most people are afraid to find out the meaning of life.  They would rather just “go with the flow.”

The issue is that wisdom and understanding will cost you something.  They bring responsibility with them and that’s what we’re really afraid of.

If we don’t understand, then we are not responsible for what we do.  That’s the key.  Understanding and the resulting responsibility requires self-control.

That’s the reason that many people choose atheism.  If there is a God, then I’m responsible to live under that understanding.  My actions will have to be controlled.

But there’s even more to it than that.

Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
2 Timothy 2:7

Paul literally tells Timothy to apply your mind to understand.  Understanding takes initiative – it doesn’t just fall out of the sky.

The good news is that if we take this first step, then the Lord will give you the next level of understanding.  The word insight that Paul uses is the Greek word suneisis.  It means to put together.

The fact is that understanding puts truth together.  We have to do this with many truths if we are to live a fulfilled life.

For instance – there is a God, He will judge the world, and I will live forever someplace.  These are all truths that are important all by themselves.  But when I put them together by wisdom and understanding they take on a whole new level of importance.  Now my choices are more limited than when I thought there were no consequences.

That’s why understanding is the foundation of coming to Christ.  We have to put together our need and His provision.  Then I have to bring my actions – and faith – into line with my understanding.

Question: Do you actively seek wisdom and understanding from the Lord?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2013 in Encouragement, Prayer

 

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Becoming Mature in the Word

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven though the church talks a lot about the Word of God, I wonder sometimes just how mature we really are.  At one point the writer of the Book of Hebrews rebukes his listeners for their lack of maturity.

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
Hebrews 5:12-14

In order to become mature, we must learn the elementary truths of God’s Word.  Then when we’re mature, we are able to discern the good from the evil.  This is especially needed when someone supports their evil with a verse of Scripture.

People try to push the dumbest things, all in the name of God’s Word.  I believe these days of such foolishness are coming to an end.  I believe that God is bringing His people to a new level of maturity in the Holy Spirit.

As we mature, we will be able to discern whether something is of God, or just a clever deception.  That’s one of the reasons I’m posting this blog.  So that the Lord’s people can live for God unashamed and correctly handling the Word of Truth.

In Jesus’ encounter with the devil in the wilderness, He made the following statement.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew 4:4

Here is why maturity in the Word is so important – The Word is our Life.  Jesus said that food was not enough for man to live on.  If someone truly wants the abundant life, then he needs to grasp the Word of God.

Paul understood this truth as he ministered to his people.  He wrote to them about how to live as examples to the world.

…as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Philippians 2:16

This is such an important aspect that God’s Word is even called the Word of Life.  That’s why Jesus – the Word made flesh – could say that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  The Word of God brings life.  The Word of God is life.  This is a very important point for us to understand.

Question: In what ways have you experienced the abundant life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Scripture, the Truth, and the Word of God

We live in an age where people are using the Bible to support what they’re doing or teaching.  How do I know if I’m truly hearing God’s Word?  Just because someone quotes the Scripture – is it really God’s Word they’re proclaiming?

In my last post we saw that Jesus didn’t accept the scriptural declaration of the devil.  He knew that the enemy was not speaking God’s Word to Him.

BibleHere is a surprising fact you may not know.  Throughout the entire Bible, the Scripture never calls itself the Word of God.  That’s something we have done.

At this point you’re probably ready to stone me as a heretic.  Please wait.  I’m not saying that the Bible is not the Word of God. All I’m saying is that the Bible doesn’t call itself the Word of God.

There is an important reason for that, which Christ Himself will testify to.  You need to let His words speak to you to understand the true nature of Scripture and the Word of God.

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
John 17:17

Jesus is very clear in this passage.  God’s Word is not just truthful.  It doesn’t only contain truth.  It is, by its very nature, TRUTH.

What about Christ the Living Word?  Didn’t He say, “I am the Way, THE TRUTH, and the Life.”?  There’s no getting around it – God’s Word is truth.

It’s unfortunate, but people can take the words of Scripture and twist them around for their own ends.  That’s why we need a daily walk with the Holy Spirit.  There’s a reason He’s called the Spirit of Truth.  The Spirit of God gives us the discernment we need when reading or hearing the Scripture.

Christ needed to discern the “word” He heard from the devil.  He was mature enough to see that even though Satan was quoting Scripture, his intent was evil.  In that case, the verse that the devil spoke was not the Word of God to Jesus.

We’re running into the same type of problems in the church today.  It grieves me that there are ministers whose only reason for studying the Bible, is to find passages that will convince you to put your money into their wallets.  They’ll tell you, based upon a Bible verse, that you will be blessed if you send them an offering of your month’s salary.

They’ll tell you that it’s God’s Word to you that if you’ll send them the money, then you’ll be out of debt and in a new house by the end of the year.  Of course, when it doesn’t come to pass you’ll blame God.  “I stood on God’s Word and He failed to keep it.”

Unfortunately, it was not God’s Word that failed.  What happened was that some preacher’s faulty use of the Scripture failed.  Then again, it got him the money he wanted, so it didn’t fail to bring in what he was after – your money.

Question: Have you ever seen the Scripture used to promote a lie?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Word of God

 

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