Some of My Useless Knives

By Pastor Malcolm Harrison

Ecclesiastes 10:10 says “If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct.” Those of you who’ve ever had to chop firewood know exactly what the verse means! The Lord our God, as usual, is using simple things, in this case a dull axe, a dull knife etc, to explain a far more complex life truth.  In this case He is pointing out that – if you are chopping with a dull axe either you must sharpen the axe or work twice as hard. If you are cutting meat with a dull knife – either you must sharpen the knife “whet the edge” or you’ll be fighting that dull knife a making a mess of your meat.  I have a few knives that for all intents and purposes useless. They just can’t be sharpened! I call them my “wicked and ungodly knives”. I keep them all together in my ‘bad company’ junk box and occasionally I cast a disapproving look at them all. They’re good for nothing. Each one falls in one of two groups. 1. Won’t be sharpened or 2. Won’t keep an edge longer than 30 seconds. I wonder sometimes how many Christians are like that with God?  You know…one of those knives that can’t be sharpened. I committed long ago that God being my helper, he would not find me a useless dull knife that can’t be sharpened by his convicting work.  Notice in Eccl 10:10 that little statement at the end of the verse “…but wisdom is profitable to direct”.  Wisdom is like that iron file that can put an edge back on the knife or axe.  It may hurt but in the end that knife will be sharp again. So as well if a spiritually dull man will submit himself to God’s file {the Bible, The Holy Ghost’s convicting} he can be made wise and then the spiritual chopping down and cutting away of things that hurt and ruin and wreck his life…those things will be far easier to chop down and cut away! Amen! also if a man is dull, wisdom will help dom will sharpen a dull man and direct his steps and make his path easier and richer.. Come worship the Living God with us at Calvary and see what words God might say to you!

The Horsemen Are Prepared

By Pastor Malcolm Harrison

In Alan Dean Foster’s bestselling western novel “Pale Rider” the main character {a role later reprised by actor and director Clint Eastwood} is portrayed as gun slinging whiskey drinking preacher ‘Gabriel’ who mysteriously comes to the rescue of poor downtrodden gold claim miners who are oppressed by a gold greedy land baron. Set with ominous background music and winter sky backdrop there is even a scene where someone reads part of Revelation 6:8 “And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him…”.  As if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, Clint Eastwood directed this tragic Biblical blunder on the “big screen” in the 1985 “Pale Rider”.  Apparently Foster hadn’t read too much of Revelation chapter 6 so let me set the record straight on “The Four Horsemen” of the Revelation. First things first, get this settled in your head: If you are really a “born again” [John 2:3] “saved” [Acts 16] “believer” [John 1:12] of the gospel of the risen Lord Jesu Christ [I Cor 15:1-4] – In other words if you are really saved, baptized by faith on the inside in the blood of the Lamb of God – watch this – You Won’t Be Here when the Horsemen are released on their terrible mission. What mission? Turn in the Bible to Revelation chapter 6 {which gives us a Panoramic view of the period known as ‘The Tribulation’ or “The Time of Jacob’s” [Jeremiah 30:7] pictured in ‘Daniel’s Furnace of Fire’. So here we are in “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” chapter 6, which is interestingly AFTER the church {the bride of Christ according to Paul in Ephesians 5} has been removed / taken / in what many call “the Rapture” and make no mistake friend – that IS A FACT.  if yere Jews by the way} and they were all mystified and confused that Jesus {the Messiah or Mashiach or Hamashiach in Hebrew} was getting more famous and baptizing more converts than John [John 3:26]. So John reminded them that they’d heard him say plainly “I am not the Christ” [Christ is simply Greek for Messiah].  Then John says in verse 2jo“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.”  This and many other verses identify Jesus as “The Bridegroom”. Ephesians 5:25-32 tell us who the bride is! She is the church! Who is the church? Well if you’re a born again washed in the blood saved person – you are part of the church! So there’s John saying “I am not the bridegroom…he’s coming after me…I am just supposed to get things ready for the marriage”! So we find as Jesus comes into his ministry John’s ministry begins to diminish and conclude. Now watch this and see if you don’t get goosebumps and a blessing from it!!  In Jewish marriages the groom entered into a BETROTHAL period with his bride…but the date was a surprise. It was kept secret from all but the anize a ‘contemporary Christian music concert’. God didn’t send Jonah to Nineveh to set up a roadside healing tent or a prophecy banquet at the Inn. God sent Jonah to Nineveh to do what many churches are NOT DOING – God sent him TO PREACH!  Why is it in these days that we find so many who are against what God is for? Why it is that God chose ‘the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’? [1st Corinthians 1:21]  Why is it that God sent the apostle Paul to say “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” [1st Corinthians 1:18]? I’ll refer you to 1st & 2nd Timothy for the answer. He said to Jonah, not only do I want you to go and preach, but I want you to preach unto it “…the preaching that I bid thee”. Those of us who still ask that old question “…is there any word from the Lord?” are finding it harder and harder to find those little country churches where a ‘Fire & Brimstone” Jeremiah will lift up his voice like a trumpet [Isaiah 58:1] and shout “…there is”. There is all the world of difference between this man-made theological theorizing and ‘that preaching’ that God bids His servants to preach! Nineveh had collapsed into the same idolatrous sin that America has adopted. It was filled with decadence and moral decay. It was wicked. The only thing that will turn a wicked people from their wicked ways is preaching. As such God sent no Biblically ignorant Christian celebrity. He called on no winking smiling televangelists to deliver a message of a more prosperous personal journey…NO! A.W. Tozer once said “If I see clearly, the cross of popular religion is not the cross of the New Testament. It is, rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of a self-assured and carnal Christianity. The old cross slew men, the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it”.  So God sent Jonah with eight simple words.

Out of Thine Own Mouth

We’ll need two great truths for our study this week: For sake of space I can’t quote all the texts so grab a Bible and go to Luke 19:12-22. Consider vs. 22 carefully and then put it on the back burner of your mind. Now go read Esther 5:11-14 {if you have time read the whole book}. In Esther Ch 2 we are introduced to a man named Haman. Reading the whole book reveals that this Haman fellow is {as they say in south Alabama} “not worth knockin’ in the head”. In other words he’s a sorry ‘no account’ excuse for a man. In our text [Esther 5:9-14] Haman gets outraged by a good and Godly man named Mordecai because Mordecai knows Haman is a wretch and he won’t bow or show reverence to Haman. As a result Haman sets about plotting how to kill Mordecai and all the other Jews as well. In Esther 5:14 Haman thinks he’s finally going to get to kill Mordecai so he asked his wife and friends how best to put Mordecai to death. Now get this…here is where it gets real interesting: His wife suggested he have a gallows built in their house and his friends all agreed with her. Can you believe she even said such a thing? Proverbs 14:3 says in part “in the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride…” and Proverbs 18:6 says “a fool’s lips enter into contention and his mouth calleth for strokes”. Now let’s move that scripture from Luke 19:22 to the front burner. “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee…” Haman’s wickedness is about to be reckoned upon his own head. See Psalm 7:11-17! Zeresh’s words are about to become some of the bitterest words any woman ever spoke. In Esther chapter 7 Queen Esther reveals the plotting scheming murderous plans of Haman and the King is outraged! Haman is seized and blindfolded and hanged upon the very gallows he ordered built for Mordecai. What of Zeresh? Out of her own mouth she pronounced the sentence. They arrested her ten sons and just as she had watched in horror as Haman was forced up the ladder and hanged, so too they took all 10 of her sons and hanged them on the gallows she suggested one after another. What a price words have. What terrible self-condemning words have rolled off your tongue and mine? What foolishness have we said which was recorded by God himself? Moreover what mischief have we concocted in our hearts that God saw? I don’t know about you friend, but many years ago I knelt before God at an old wooden altar and begged His mercy and forgiveness for all the foolish, cruel, hateful, vengeful, spiteful and proud thoughts of my heart and all the words my mouth has uttered which He found displeasing. I am sure that many of you reading this are aware that words may mean little among men, but God records each and every one. Thanks be to God for His forgiveness. Like many of you I’ve said some awful things. I’ve done some terrible things. My heart has conceived some wicked things, but I got a “new heart and a new start” from God’s hand of compassion. You can get one too! Come get your ‘slate wiped clean’ at Calvary Baptist Church. 

Are They Worth It?

By Pastor Malcolm Harrison

In Exodus 32 we read that while Moses was up on Mt Sanai talking with the Lord the descendants of Jacob (children of Israel) decided that ‘who knows what’ had happened to Moses and so they demanded that Aaron “make us gods” so they’d have something to worship [Exodus 32:1]. *Note: Ironically it seems we have the same perverted thinkers among us today. Ever crafting some politically correct morally defiling golden calf before which they demand the rest of the country kneel. As the account goes on Aaron is unwilling to refuse the absurd demand and fabricates a golden calf which the children of Israel promptly set to worshipping. Sound ridiculous? Well consider that a chicken breast shaped like pope John Paul the II sold on line for $232; a ‘pretzel shaped like the virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus sold for $10,600 and a potato chip shaped like the pope’s hat sold $1,200 and a piece of toast with burn marks resembling the Virgin Mary sold for $28,000. When they finished talking God said to Moses vs 7 “Go, get thee down, for thy people, which thou brought out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves” {Note that the word of God says that they “corrupted themselves”}. Vs 10 God tells Moses “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them”. That says everything it needs to say about God’s view on golden calf religion doesn’t it?!  Anyway, now we come to our text and I want you to pay close attention to what Moses does in vs 11 – “And Moses besought the Lord his God…”! Have the children of Israel shown how shallow and foolish they are? YES! Have they not proven how quickly they will bow down and worship a knot on a log? YES. It is so totally ridiculous that God himself said ‘hey Moses, sit down over there and let me just wipe these idiots off the planet and then we’ll start over and I’ll use you to make a new, better nation’. But Moses said “Lord…please don’t”. In other words Moses INTERVENED for them. He besought God on their behalf! That’s what Jesus did for you and me! So let me bring this home for you. You have some friends, some acquaintances, some family members who for all intents and purposes are just as much corrupting themselves today. They daily worship themselves, their bank, their material wealth, their body. If anyone deserved to be ‘consumed’ vs 10 by God, it is them. If anyone could be labeled as a ‘REJECT’ it is them, just like it was you. But nonetheless Moses intervened for them. So let me ask the question – are not those in your circle of influence worth you intervening for them? Are not your relatives and loved ones worth you trying again to give them the gospel? Are they worth it? God will one day consume the wicked in His justifiable wrath. Someone must intervene and plead with them to turn from their golden calf before it is too late.

Asking God to Leave You Alone

By Pastor Malcolm Harrison

This past Sunday morning at Calvary we were in Luke chapter 8 for our time with God’s word. You may remember Luke 8 is loaded down with the account of the devil possessed man of Gadara. I’d love to write about the whole chapter but this week, let me just call something to your attention. In that account [See Mark chapter 5 also] Jesus stepped out of a boat and was immediately met by a naked, bleeding devil possessed man who spent his days cutting himself with rocks, wailing and screaming and running crazy in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, the devil’s in him knew who Jesus was. They’d seen him long before he took on a body of flesh and came to earth. The devil’s in him said loudly to Jesus “Jesus thou Son of God most high” vs 28. Many cults popped up after 1800 teaching that Jesus Christ is not God. So we find it very interesting that Jesus is named in Hebrew El Gibor “The Mighty God’ [Isaiah 9:6] [Hebrew for “Eternal God” / “Everlasting Father and Mighty God”] 600 years before Jesus was born. Micah, speaking of Jesus, said out of Bethlehem would “he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel whose goings forth have been from old, from (watch this) everlasting” [Micah 5:2]. Those cults and false churches will not accept that Jesus is God and from ‘everlasting’ so you will find that word “everlasting” omitted, changed and re-written in their Bible. But, anyway, take note of the fact that even these devils have got enough sense to recognize Jesus Christ IS God’s son, IS God himself. As the story continues, Jesus casts the devils out of the man {again, you can “come as you are” but you cannot stay as you came if you really meet Jesus}. That man is forever done with rocks, cutting himself, graveyards, nakedness and devils. You won’t find him in another graveyard until he gets carried to one! Jesus changes lives! Did they all rejoice for this sweet miracle of God? No. Did they all fall on his neck and kiss him for helping one of their own? No. No they got offended and scared. How pathetic! They’d rather have a devil possessed naked man running bleeding in the graveyard than to have that man get dressed, sit down and be different. So, did they bring their troubles trials and questions to him? No they demanded Jesus, Son of the Most High God, Mighty God, Everlasting Father God, El Gibor, and Daniel’s stone cut without hands to go get on his boat and go away. In so doing they condemned themselves and their children and their children’s children to the horrible place cults pretend isn’t really all that bad…that place of horror called hell. I hate to do so, but let me tell you something you’d better remember for the sake of your unbelieving loved ones and friends. An unsaved man or woman {whom the bible calls ‘lost’} can reject God and deny His Son. They can tell God to leave them alone and stay out of their life and, in some cases, He will do just exactly that. He’ll save you and change your life if you believe the Gospel!

When You Don’t Know What to Do

O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee” 2nd Chronicles 20:12. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been in situations I thought were hopeless. Situations where there just was no way I could do anything to dig out of the hole. In our text three armies were united against Israel [vs 10] and Israel was utterly helpless against them. So they called out to God and prayed these words of verse 12. I like this prayer a lot ‘neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee’.  In the margin of my Bible here beside this verse I’ve added several additional verses that are a comfort and a help to me in such dark times. I hope you’ll make them your own as I have: Isaiah 41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. What a help that has been to untold millions over the centuries. You should memorize it. #2 Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. #3 Joshua 1:9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.  Job 13:15, Psalm 138:3 are great too and I always include Psalm 27:13-14 “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

For some these great scriptures are mere strangers passing on the street. For the sincere earnest believer these words are like the very hand of God wiping the tears from our face. It is like that miraculous day where our Lord was heading to a man’s house to heal his daughter. As he went through that crowded city street [Luke 8:40-56] many people bumped into him unawares and yet none were healed, none were changed, none even noticed they had just touched the very son of God. But one desperate woman had been following him. In her desperate need of help she drew closer and closer in this crowd and finally came up behind him and took hold of the hem of his garment. Immediately she healed of her infirmity! Why? Why was she healed while others were completely unaffected? Why do the very words of God walk among us all over the globe and millions hear them but are untouched by them? They are powerful words, miraculous words uttered from the very mouth of God. When an unbeliever ‘bumps into these words’, not mingling them with faith, they touch his tongue as if a stranger bumped into a stranger. Oh but add faith and these words turn in the heart and speak “who touched me”. They become a gentle hand of help in time of need.



The Burglar That Escapes Undetected

Back many years ago I took the entrance exam for a large Police Department in Florida (and was later hired). I had to spend the night to be there for the long day of tests & exams so I had driven in the night before and gotten a hotel room. The next morning early I discovered that my truck had been burglarized! My truck was ransacked and tools, stereo and other odds and ends were stolen. The thief had broken in through my camper’s sliding window and breaking the latch. It was clearly the work of an amateur. The really good burglars pride themselves on getting in & out undetected. They leave no evidence, no prints, nothing out of place. They sneak in, steal one or two things that often go unmissed and sneak out with the doors locked just as they found them. Their goal is that the crime will not even be discovered. Have you been burglarized? Let’s put it to the test and see if something monumentally important has been stolen from you that you didn’t even notice was missing! Turn in your Bible to 1st John 5:7 and lets check to see if any of the words that God gave you have been stolen. Your Bible should read “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” If it doesn’t…the words of God have been stolen from your Bible. Some thieves try to tell you those words were ‘made up by men’ in 323 AD and don’t really belong in the Bible, but the fact is this verse was being quoted in writings by students of the Apostles as early as 70 A.D. Let’s look at another one: In Acts 8 the Lord sent the apostle Philip to go meet and teach a fella who wanted to know about Jesus. The fella was completely confused and so Philip met him and told him all about Jesus and showed him some scriptures to prove it. Afterwards the man wanted to be baptized and Philip said something vitally important to him in verse 8:37 “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”. WOW! Talk about a major league important piece of Scripture!! It isn’t at all a surprise to me to see Bibles that have removed this verse completely or cut out the most important part. If I were the great thief and liar called Lucifer I would use every resource at my disposal to create Bibles from which I’ve removed some words here and there…like a good burglar. There are many hundreds of stolen words, words of the Living God, which sneaky burglars & thieves have stolen from all newer versions of the Bible since 1881. However if you want a Bible that has ALL the words God gave get yourself a 1611 King James Bible.




If You’re Looking for a Ship You’ll Find One

The book of Jonah has always been one of my favorite Old Testament books. It is full of ‘life lessons’ from start to finish. Chapter 1:2 tells us that God told Jonah “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me” and verse 3 sais “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD”. It would help you tremendously to read the whole book of Jonah, it is only a few chapters. In our text though, Jonah has been shown the will of the Lord. If that wasn’t enough, God told him plainly what He wanted Jonah to do. No doubt many reading this column are thinking “I sure wish God would show me His will for my life” or perhaps “I sure wish God would tell me plainly what He wants me to do”. Well there is good news, HE HAS! If you look closely at the Bible God has plainly told us all exactly what He wants from us and what His will is for us. Let me illustrate: We’ve all had someone hold a flashlight for us while we search for something and half the time it seemed like they were pointing that light at everywhere but where we needed it pointed. In much the same way God’s will is like a beam from a flashlight. He points it where you are supposed to look! Until you look where He’s pointing his words and His will you won’t see what his will is for you. So God told Jonah what to do but Jonah flatly refused to do what God wanted. He decided he absolutely wasn’t going to go where God directed him. So in verse 3 we read that Jonah went looking for a ship to take him anywhere but Nineveh. We pastors see this all the time. When someone is looking for a ship to escape God’s will, you can bet they’ll find one. It doesn’t matter which ship, any old clunker boat will do. Many rebels like Jonah have we pastors seen. Those who refuse to submit their will to God. Those who refuse to submit their heart to God. Those who refuse to surrender the throne of their life to God. Mark this down in your bible. If someone is looking for a ship to get them out of God’s will, they’ll find one. The S.S. DO-AS-I-PLEASE is just waiting for them to pay the fare. It is heartbreaking to see the high price some people have paid for a trip out of God’s will. I’ve seen many pay a fare for a trip they regretted with all their heart.


An Unmatched Horror Story

In the Bible in Acts chapter 26 the Apostle Paul is standing before king Agrippa and here he gives an account of himself unto Agrippa. I encourage you to read the chapter, especially verses 1-29 before continuing in this article. Paul’s telling of his story was so plainly honest and stirring that when he finished even king Agrippa exclaimed “…Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”. “ALMOST”; such a sad word in this case. Several of the men in our church are skilled at hunting and fishing. They have amazingly real-looking bass and deer decorating their walls to commemorate their skills. One in particular has zebra, gazelle, kudu, alligator, buffalo, elk and moose on his walls. Each one looks so real you ‘almost’ expect them to take off running any moment. They look ALMOST alive; as if frozen in time, ready to break free of that stillness and dash away any second. But then reality settles in and you realize ‘no, they will not dash away’. The fantastically real looking ducks won’t explode skyward ever again. The Bass on the wall plaque wouldn’t notice if you put a whole cup of ‘red wiggler worms’ right in his plastic mouth. Why not? Because ALMOST alive is totally dead. ALMOST real is the same as completely fake. When a Doctor tells a waiting family “we ALMOST saved his life”, what he just said is “we completely failed to save his life…he’s dead”. {By the way I know a Doctor who has never yet lost a single patient who came to him}! You’ve heard the old saying “close counts in horseshoe’s and hand-grenades”; let me add that when it comes to being “SAVED” by grace through faith [Ephesians 2:8-9] you either ARE or you’re not. There IS NO ALMOST saved. Imagine if you and I took that trophy bass mount down from the wall in my friend’s house and we took it to a pond and laid it there in the water. If we get a few lawn chairs and watch it all day, will it swim away? Will it slowly revive and start flailing? No, of course not. If I tapped your hand and said “hey look…its ALMOST moving”; wouldn’t you put your hand to my forehead to check my temperature? NO!! It isn’t ALMOST moving. It will never do so again short of a complete miracle from God to make it alive again. IF you are wondering what salvation is like – THAT’S IT! It is like the dead being made ALIVE again! It is as if the Lord Jesus Christ told them to roll away the stone from your tomb and called your name and said “COME FORTH” [John 11:43]. Tell me ma’am, are you tired of being ‘almost’ a Christian? Tell me Sir, are you tired of ‘almost’ having a relationship with God? Calvary Baptist Church has the real thing for real people who want a real Christianity. Bring your family and come see what it’s like!

A Happy Face and A Smiling Heart

In recent years scientific studies have confirmed several things that Bible believers have known for thousands of years. That is not to say that such discoveries lend any weight to the inherent truths of Scripture; nor is it surprising to us when science finally discovers something the Bible revealed thousands of years ago. For example, in JAMA International Medicine in 2016 it was ‘presented’ that women who attended any kind of ‘religious’ service more than once a week had a 33% lower death rate than non-religious counterparts of equal circumstance over a 16 year period. Another study found that those who held a religious view and who attended services regularly had a 55% lower death rate than atheists over the 18 year review period. Anyone with a King James Bible could’ve easily predicted those findings based on numerous Scriptures. For example Proverbs 15:15 says “All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” Verse 15:13 there says “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” One that is more widely known even among unbelievers is Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Recently I saw a young man in a video playing a piano so beautifully that I was moved in my heart. Then I noticed that on his left arm, which was much shorter than a normal arm, he had just one little finger type growth. On the right hand I saw that there were missing fingers as well, but despite these massive limitations he played more beautifully with what he had than many who have no such limits. In fact he played wondrously and Proverbs 18:14 came to my mind. “Over in Ecclesiastes 7:3 the great king Solomon said that “sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better” and the wise find this to be true. Yet clearly we all know someone who has a happy cheerful and uplifting demeanor. That ‘happy face and outlook’ is as good as the best medicine! It is good to be around those who have it and conversely, it is discouraging to be around those who don’t. It is told that “a preacher driving along at night saw a fellow about to jump from a high bridge stopped his car and jumped out and ran to the fellow shouting wait don’t jump, tell me what the problem is” and after the fellow finished his sad story they both jumped. That’s the way it is! What is my point? Turn things that are out of your control over to the Lord and let him be God. Then brush yourself off, find some verses of comfort in God’s word and pick a hymn to sing!

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