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HisDaughter
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« on: March 29, 2011, 08:56:31 AM »

First and Foremost
Greg Laurie

A group of seminary students were given the task of organizing the Ten Commandments in their perceived order of importance. Interestingly, these students felt that the sixth commandment, "You shall not murder," should be number-one on the list. The seventh commandment, "You shall not commit adultery," was also placed near the top. But the group relegated the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before Me," to the bottom of the list. They didn't think it was all that important.

In God's listing, however, it is a different story. He puts this commandment at the top of the list. But why is it the number-one offense to God? It comes down to this: If you have broken this one, then everything else will fall apart.

One day a man came to Jesus and asked Him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" (Mark 12:28 NLT). Jesus responded,

"The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.' The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' No other commandment is greater than these." (verse 29, NLT)

With that statement, Jesus essentially summed up the Ten Commandments: Put God in His rightful place. Make Him number-one in your life.

Could this be said of us today? A survey revealed that 76 percent of Americans believed they had been completely faithful to the first commandment. In other words, they might have problems with some of the other commandments, but for them, the first commandment was not a problem. But is that true? It's hard to say.

You see, everyone has a god. Everyone, including atheists, bows at some altar. We don't all worship the true God, but we all worship. Everyone has something they believe in, some passion that drives them, something that gives their life meaning and purpose. For some, their god is possessions or money. Others worship their bodies. They worship at the church of the perfect physique. Still others worship success or pleasure or relationships. But we all worship someone or something.

With the first commandment, God was establishing the fact that He is our God and was showing us His place in our lives: "I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me" (Exodus 20:2-3 NLT). It is amazing how much can be revealed by a simple little pronoun such as "I." Only one letter long, it conveys a profound and fundamental truth about who God is. When He said, "I am the Lord," He was, in effect, refuting all other belief systems, including pantheism, polytheism, deism, and new-age thinking. When God says, "I am," He is revealing that He is a being, not a mere force of nature. He says, "I am. . . . I feel. I think. I care."

God is not an impersonal force, as pantheism would teach. Nor is He one of many gods, as polytheism claims. God said, "I am the Lord your God" (emphasis mine). As 1 Timothy 2:5 reminds us, "For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity-the man Christ Jesus" (NLT).

In contrast to the teaching of deism, which says that God has no interest in the affairs of men, the first commandment shows us that we have a God who sees and hears and cares. God reminded Israel that He had blessed and protected them up to this point: "I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery."

The Bible says that God is a jealous God. By "jealous," it doesn't mean that God is one who is controlling and demanding and flies into a rage without the slightest reason or provocation. The jealousy the Bible is speaking of is the jealousy of a loving Father who sees the possibilities and potential of His children and is brokenhearted when those things are not realized, or worse, are wasted and squandered.

Jesus said, "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?" (Matthew 16:26 NLT). Is God number-one in your life today? Or, are you allowing other gods to crowd Him out?

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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2011, 08:22:41 AM »

The Agent of Transformation
Dr. Tony Evans

In His Presence: The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17).

God’s method of transformation is conforming us to the image of Christ by the work of the Spirit within. The transformation you long for must come from the divine method He has prescribed.The spiritual transformation process is conducted by the agent God has ordained—the Holy Spirit. The Lord is the Spirit, of the same essence and one in deity. Before His death, Jesus told the disciples He would leave with them a Comforter, one who would be Christ living in them. Jesus is with us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

If we focus our minds on things of the Spirit instead of things of the flesh, our minds and hearts will be receptive to spiritual transformation.

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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2011, 09:16:29 AM »

The Turning Point
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Genesis 41:1-16

After those two full years, Joseph experienced a turning point in his life—on a day that seemed like any other day. That morning dawned like every other morning over the previous two years. Just like the morning that dawned before Moses saw the burning bush. Just like the morning that dawned before David was anointed by Samuel as the king-elect. For Joseph, just another dungeon day—except for one little matter Joseph knew nothing about: the night before Pharaoh had a bad dream.

The king of the land had a dream, and in it he saw seven fat, sleek cattle coming up out of the marshy Nile delta. Then seven ugly, gaunt, starving cows came up from the same river and devoured the fat, sleek cows.

Pharaoh awoke, perhaps thinking that huge meal he'd eaten before he went to bed wasn't setting too well on his stomach. Before long he fell back to sleep, and his dream continued. This time he saw a stalk of grain with seven plump and healthy ears. But then seven lean ears, scorched from the east wind, sprang up and devoured the seven healthy ears of grain.

When Pharaoh heard that there was someone around who could tell him what this troubling dream meant, he naturally said, "Go get the man."

"Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I have had a dream, but no one can interpret it; and I have heard it said about you, that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.' Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, 'It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer'" (Genesis 41:15–16).

Talk about humility. Talk about absolute integrity This was Joseph's moment in court, his golden opportunity to say, "Do you realize that I could have been out of that place two years ago if that dummy standing right over there hadn't forgotten me?" But there was none of that.

You know why Joseph could be so humble and speak so openly? Because his heart had been broken. Because he had been tried by the fire of affliction. Because while his external circumstances seemed almost unbearable during those years, his internal condition had been turned into pure gold. We are now witnessing the benefits of enduring affliction with one's eyes on God.

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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2011, 09:14:19 AM »

On Trial Before Pilate
by Max Lucado

The most famous trial in history is about to begin.

The judge is short and patrician with darting eyes and expensive clothes. His graying hair trimmed and face beardless. He is apprehensive, nervous about being thrust into a decision he can’t avoid. Two soldiers lead him down the stone stairs of the fortress into the broad courtyard. Shafts of morning sunlight stretch across the stone floor.

As he enters, Syrian soldiers dressed in short togas yank themselves and their spears erect and stare straight ahead. The floor on which they stand is a mosaic of broad, brown, smooth rocks. On the floor are carved the games the soldiers play while awaiting the sentencing of the prisoner.

But in the presence of the procurator, they don’t play.

A regal chair is placed on a landing five steps up from the floor. The magistrate ascends and takes his seat. The accused is brought into the room and placed below him. A covey of robed religious leaders follow, walk over to one side of the room, and stand.

Pilate looks at the lone figure...

“Are you the king of the Jews?”

For the first time, Jesus lifts his eyes. He doesn’t raise his head, but he lifts his eyes. He peers at the procurator from beneath his brow. Pilate is surprised at the tone in Jesus’ voice.

“Those are your words.”

Before Pilate can respond, the knot of Jewish leaders mock the accused from the side of the courtroom.

“See, he has no respect.”

“He stirs the people!”

“He claims to be king!”

Pilate doesn’t hear them. Those are your words. No defense. No explanation. No panic. The Galilean is looking at the floor again.

Something about this country rabbi appeals to Pilate. He’s different from the bleeding hearts who cluster outside. He’s not like the leaders with the chest-length beards who one minute boast of a sovereign God and the next beg for lower taxes. His eyes are not the fiery ones of the zealots who are such a pain to the Pax Romana he tries to keep. He’s different, this up-country Messiah.

Pilate wants to let Jesus go. Just give me a reason, he thinks, almost aloud. I’ll set you free.

His thoughts are interrupted by a tap on the shoulder. A messenger leans and whispers. Strange. Pilate’s wife has sent word not to get involved in the case. Something about a dream she had.

Pilate walks back to his chair, sits, and stares at Jesus. “Even the gods are on your side?” he states with no explanation.

He has sat in this chair before. It’s a curule seat: cobalt blue with thick, ornate legs. The traditional seat of decision. By sitting on it Pilate transforms any room or street into a courtroom. It is from here he renders decisions.

How many times has he sat here? How many stories has he heard? How many pleas has he received? How many wide eyes have stared at him, pleading for mercy, begging for acquittal?

But the eyes of this Nazarene are calm, silent. They don’t scream. They don’t dart. Pilate searches them for anxiety … for anger. He doesn’t find it. What he finds makes him shift again.

He’s not angry with me. He’s not afraid … he seems to understand.

Pilate is correct in his observation. Jesus is not afraid. He is not angry. He is not on the verge of panic. For he is not surprised. Jesus knows his hour and the hour has come.

Pilate is correct in his curiosity. Where, if Jesus is a leader, are his followers? What, if he is the Messiah, does he intend to do? Why, if he is a teacher, are the religious leaders so angry at him?

Pilate is also correct in his question. “What should I do with Jesus, the one called the Christ?” (Matthew 27:22)

Perhaps you, like Pilate, are curious about this one called Jesus. You, like Pilate, are puzzled by his claims and stirred by his passions

What do you do with a man who calls himself the Savior, yet condemns systems? What do you do with a man who knows the place and time of his death, yet goes there anyway?

Pilate’s question is yours. “What will I do with this man, Jesus?”

You have two choices.

You can reject him. That is an option. You can, as have many, decide that the idea of God’s becoming a carpenter is too bizarre—and walk away.

Or you can accept him. You can journey with him. You can listen for his voice amidst the hundreds of voices and follow him.

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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 10:35:39 AM »

Tender Mercies
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Genesis 41:41-46

Pharaoh swept his hand out wide, so as to include all that vast land of Egypt, and said, "It's all yours, Joseph." Then he took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph's hand.

You know what that ring signified, don't you? It was the platinum charge card of that day. It was the way the king stamped the invoices, the laws, or anything else he wanted to verify or validate with his seal. Now Joseph had that ring on his finger, placed there by the Pharaoh himself. Joseph wore the authority of the king's imprint.

Joseph's Cinderella-like promotion was incredible. But when God determines the time is right, that's the way He operates.

When the reward comes, thank God without pride. Only God can bring you through and out of the dungeon. Only God can reward you for your faithfulness. If He has, be grateful, not proud. Remember, with humility, that it is God who has put you there.

Some of you are on the verge of promotion and you don't even know it, because God doesn't announce His appointments in advance. What you have to do, while you wait, is to believe His promises. While in the darkness of your dungeon, by faith, trust him to bring the light of a new dawn. In the winter of your discontent, believe there'll be a spring.

The God of Joseph will stay beside us during the dungeon days; He will not forsake or forget us. He will be there during the blast of the winter storm, holding out the promise of springtime. He will be there through the darkest night, quietly reminding us of the promise of morning light.
 
Joseph learned that a broken and contrite heart is not the end, but the beginning. Bruised and crushed by the blows of disappointment and unrealized dreams, he discovered that God had never left his side. When the affliction ended, he had been refined, and he came forth as gold. He had become a person of greater stability, of deeper quality, of stronger character. God's promises are just as much for us as they were for Joseph. His grace is still at work. His tender mercies accompany us from the pit to the pinnacle.

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« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 09:26:22 AM »

Resigned to the Word
by Dr. Tony Evans


In His Presence:Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).

Many Christians today are suffering from spiritual anorexia and starving to death spiritually. Even though they may have plenty of Bibles in their homes for spiritual nourishment, and even though the church—a spiritual supermarket—is right down the street, these Christians suffer from spiritual malnutrition. One primary reason for this is that they have not decided to make becoming like Christ their sole purpose. If He is not your passionate purpose, everything else you do will be wasted. God’s purpose for us is to be conformed to the image of His Son, to be transformed by His glory, and to be made holy and righteous like Christ

We must make the Bible the first place we go to find truth, not the last. We must be quick to hear His truth.

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« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 11:11:39 PM »

Resigned to the Word
by Dr. Tony Evans


In His Presence:Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God (James 1:19-20).

Many Christians today are suffering from spiritual anorexia and starving to death spiritually. Even though they may have plenty of Bibles in their homes for spiritual nourishment, and even though the church—a spiritual supermarket—is right down the street, these Christians suffer from spiritual malnutrition. One primary reason for this is that they have not decided to make becoming like Christ their sole purpose. If He is not your passionate purpose, everything else you do will be wasted. God’s purpose for us is to be conformed to the image of His Son, to be transformed by His glory, and to be made holy and righteous like Christ

We must make the Bible the first place we go to find truth, not the last. We must be quick to hear His truth.



Wow! - Isn't this the truth! I have thought about this many times how spoiled we are in this part of the world with Bibles and access to all kinds of excellent Christian materials. Contrast this with people hiding a small portion of the Bible in some parts of the world and risking their lives doing it. We should never take for granted what we have and give thanks every day that we still have freedom of worship and the right to own Christian materials. When we pick up our Bibles, we should pray for those who could get beaten, imprisoned, or killed for doing the same thing in many parts of the world.

Thanks HisDaughter - these are excellent!
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 09:50:07 AM »

Wow! - Isn't this the truth! I have thought about this many times how spoiled we are in this part of the world with Bibles and access to all kinds of excellent Christian materials. Contrast this with people hiding a small portion of the Bible in some parts of the world and risking their lives doing it. We should never take for granted what we have and give thanks every day that we still have freedom of worship and the right to own Christian materials. When we pick up our Bibles, we should pray for those who could get beaten, imprisoned, or killed for doing the same thing in many parts of the world.

I have thought about that too.  Here I own two or 3 bibles and all kinds "helps" and others don't have any or have to hide what they have.  I've even heard of place where they just have one page each and they pass around their and share their pages!  Yes, praise God that we are free to worship him and lets do so!
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 09:50:44 AM »

Slow to Speak
by Dr. Tony Evans

In His Presence: Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation (1 Peter 2:2).

In resigning ourselves to God’s Word, we must also be “slow to speak.” This means after we are quick to listen to what God says, we don’t argue with it. Many of us are too busy listening to ourselves talk to hear what God is really saying to us, and when we do hear Him, we don’t want to believe Him—we try to argue with Him!

We must resign ourselves to the pure truth of God’s Word without adding our own perspective.

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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2011, 09:13:48 AM »

crosswalk.com


There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit– Romans 8:1

Here we find two descriptions of the same person — the person that is in Christ Jesus. Those that are in Christ Jesus are described first by their position and then by their practice. They have no condemnation against them, Paul says, and they walk after the Spirit instead of the flesh.

No condemnation! Because God is completely holy, even our greatest deeds and thoughts are sin-soaked, filthy rags in His perfect sight. We stand guilty before a virtuous and fair judge; justice will be served (He will not compromise His own righteousness in order to have mercy on us) and so we must be condemned.

But those who are in Christ have their punishment transferred to Jesus, so that they are without condemnation. Those who believe on Jesus Christ have the assurance that He has taken their place—acted as their substitute—and so, in spite of their great shortcomings, they are without condemnation. Christ’s perfect sacrifice on their behalf has wiped their criminal record clean.

How do these pardoned sinners then live? They follow the promptings and leadership of the Spirit of God. As Paul explains a few verses later, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (14). They no longer follow the dictates of their corrupted nature or of the sinful world; they march to the beat of a spiritual Drummer, following the footsteps of their perfect Savior.

What a joy, what a privilege it is to be in Christ! Our desire, like Paul’s, should therefore be to “be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9).

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« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2011, 09:15:44 AM »

Respond to the Word
by Dr. Tony Evans

In His Presence: If anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was (James 1:23-24).

In a mirror you see what you really look like. A mirror shows who you are physically, and it gives you messages about yourself.  James said that going to the Word of God is like looking in a mirror. But if you only go to the mirror with the intent of looking in and not doing anything about what you see, if you only go to the Word of God to hear and not do anything about what you hear, you are deceiving yourself.


We may think we don’t have the power to change, but we’re not alone. The Holy Spirit will change us!

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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2011, 09:26:58 AM »

Simon from Cyrene Carries Jesus' Cross
by Max Lucado

“A man named Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was coming from the fields to the city. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus” (Mark 15:21)

Simon grumbles beneath his breath. His patience is as scarce as space on the Jerusalem streets. He’d hoped for a peaceful Passover. The city is anything but quiet. Simon prefers his open fields. And now, to top it off, the Roman guards are clearing the path for some who-knows-which-dignitary who’ll march his soldiers and strut his stallion past the people.

“There he is!”

Simon’s head and dozens of others turn. In an instant they know. This is no dignitary.

“It’s a crucifixion,” he hears someone whisper. Four soldiers. One criminal. Four spears. One cross. The inside corner of the cross saddles the convict’s shoulders. Its base drags in the dirt. Its top teeters in the air. The condemned man steadies the cross the best he can, but stumbles beneath its weight. He pushes himself to his feet and lurches forward before falling again. Simon can’t see the man’s face, only a head wreathed with thorny branches.

The sour-faced centurion grows more agitated with each diminishing step. He curses the criminal and the crowd.

“Hurry up!”

“Little hope of that,” Simon says to himself.

The cross-bearer stops in front of Simon and heaves for air. Simon winces at what he sees. The beam rubbing against an already raw back. Rivulets of crimson streaking the man’s face. His mouth hangs open, both out of pain and out of breath.

“His name is Jesus,” someone speaks softly.

“Move on!” commands the executioner.

But Jesus can’t. His body leans and feet try, but he can’t move. The beam begins to sway. Jesus tries to steady it, but can’t. Like a just-cut tree, the cross begins to topple toward the crowd. Everyone steps back, except the farmer. Simon instinctively extends his strong hands and catches the cross.

Jesus falls face-first in the dirt and stays there. Simon pushes the cross back on its side. The centurion looks at the exhausted Christ and the bulky bystander and needs only an instant to make the decision. He presses the flat of his spear on Simon’s shoulders.

“You! Take the cross!”
Simon dares to object, “Sir, I don’t even know the man!”

“I don’t care. Take up the cross.”

Simon growls, balances the timber against his shoulder, and steps out of the crowd onto the street, out of anonymity into history, and becomes the first in a line of millions who will take up the cross and follow Christ.

He did literally what God calls us to do figuratively: take up the cross and follow Jesus. “If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me” (Luke. 9:23 CEV)
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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2011, 10:22:16 AM »

A Relationship with the Word
by Dr. Tony Evans

In His Presence: One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does (James 1:25).

The final step in being transformed into the image of Christ by the Word of God is maintaining a relationship with the Word. James said the one who looks into the mirror of Scripture intently will not only read what it says, he will do it.


Carry the Bible everywhere; look intently into it, abide in it, and you will change.

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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2011, 09:53:56 AM »

The Summer Will Come

"Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you" (Isa. 30:18).

Where showers fall most, there the grass is greenest. I suppose the fogs and mists of Ireland make it "the Emerald Isle"; and whenever you find great fogs of trouble, and mists of sorrow, you always find emerald green hearts; full of the beautiful verdure of the comfort and love of God. O Christian, do not thou be saying, "Where are the swallows gone? They are gone; they are dead." They are not dead; they have skimmed the purple sea, and gone to a far-off land; but they will be back again by and by. Child of God, say not the flowers are dead; say not the winter has killed them, and they are gone. Ah, no! though winter hath coated them with the ermine of its snow; they will put up their heads again, and will be alive very soon. Say not, child of God, that the sun is quenched, because the cloud hath hidden it. Ah, no; he is behind there, brewing summer for thee; for when he cometh out again, he will have made the clouds fit to drop in April showers, all of them mothers of the sweet May flowers. And oh! above all, when thy God hides His face, say not that He hath forgotten thee. He is but tarrying a little while to make thee love Him better; and when He cometh, thou shalt have joy in the Lord, and shalt rejoice with joy unspeakable. Waiting exercises our grace; waiting tries our faith; therefore, wait on in hope; for though the promise tarry, it can never come too late. 
--C. H. Spurgeon

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« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2011, 09:34:50 AM »

A Horizontal Viewpoint
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read Genesis 42:29-38

 When Jacob learned what had happened, the old gentleman shriveled in fear. Rather than saying, "Thank God, He is at work. Men, He loves us and watches over us. In His care we are all safe," he responded negatively and horizontaIly.

His sons had not only returned with the food they needed, but also with all of their money. They had been given grain from Egypt free of charge. All the prime minister had asked was that they prove they were not spies by returning with their youngest brother and claiming Simeon who had been left as a hostage. Yet Jacob saw none of this as God's provision. He froze in fear and focused on a worst-case scenario.

As soon as he heard they had left their brother in Egypt, he jumped to the conclusion that Simeon was dead. "Joseph is dead. Simeon is dead. Everything is against me," he moaned. He began to sound paranoid and self-pitying. "All these things are against me!"

Last time I checked, Jacob was supposed to be the patriarch of the clan, the spiritual leader. Yet, with a quick glance behind the scenes, as we sneak a peek through the back door of the tent, we see Jacob as he really is.

It's one thing for us to sit with book in hand and read the story, knowing what the outcome will be, and say with a shrug, "I'll tell you this, I sure wouldn't have done that. I would have trusted God if I had been in that situation." But would you really? Well, then why didn't you trust Him last week? What was it that kept you from seeing God's hand in that matter you couldn't handle last month? Call to mind your most recent major test. Did you rest calmly in Him? Or did you push the panic button out of fear?

Negative thinking. A horizontal viewpoint. A closed mind to something that is unexpected and new. That's why we tend to panic. Because, humanly speaking, you and I have been programmed toward defeat. We have formed habits of response that leave God out of the picture. We don't actually announce it in those words, we just model it and rationalize around it by calling it something else. And aren't we relieved God didn't put our biography into print?

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Let us fight the good fight!
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