Hot and Cold

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” (Revelation 3:15)

I’ve heard many interpretations of what Jesus meant when He uttered those words. Let’s suppose that ‘hot’ simply means a person who is saved and a ‘cold’ person means he is not. I believe that contextually it makes the most sense despite begging the question, why would Jesus wish that some of this group were unsaved?

The answer is also simple: unsaved people can be reached with the Gospel. That notion kind of reminds me of golf instructors. They prefer their students have no golf training whatsoever so they do not have to unteach bad habits. The lukewarm person has acquired many bad habits. Jesus goes on to describe them – they say of themselves, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” In their self sufficient state, they cannot comprehend that they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

Now consider the ‘hot’ person, who in reality he is nothing more than a cold person who came to realize his wretched (sinful) situation, his miserable (hell-bound) future, his (spiritual) poverty, his blindness (to Gospel truth), and naked (uncovered) condition. Jesus was referencing these cold folks when He said (in John 4:35), “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.” Jesus also said that these same people (those who ‘realize’ their spiritual shortcomings) are blessed! “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.” (Luke 6:20-12)

What does Jesus say to the wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked, lukewarm person?

“Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:24-26)

The church descriptions given to us in the Book of Revelation are there to warn us, but sadly lukewarmness is the condition of the church today. For almost 2000 years the church has been cautioned, yet it is what we’ve become.

We can debate how far we’ve gone, but regardless we live in the age where lukewarmness is becoming the norm. It is an era of self-sufficient and self-satisfied pew-dwellers being led in prayers where guarantees of better earthly lives and Heavenly access are given. Far too often there is no recognition of sin or sin’s consequence, no Godly sorrow, no desperation, and no repentance. Subjection, commitment, or obedience to Christ Jesus is nowhere to be found. God’s word has been watered-down, added to, and subtracted from. What’s good is perceived as evil, and evil is perceived as good. Rebuke, correction, and chastisement have become four-letter words. And finally, the Jesus they worship is a construct of the mind who accepts you (and your favorite sin) just the way you are.

By the grace of God, we are not all there, but this deplorable condition is clearly evident wherever we look. Thankfully the course is correctible.

Revelation 1:3 promises, Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

One of those blessings is found in Revelation 3:20-22:

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

A lukewarm person is like Pharaoh, in that his or her heart is hardened against the truth of God. Despite counting themselves as believers, when queried it’s discovered the doctrine they follow is not Biblical. Blind to their own blindness, they are convinced that their self-sufficiency proves their faith’s legitimacy. However, if you recognize the error, there is hope: repent.

The Bible reminds us that the beginning of wisdom is discovered in the fear of the Lord. What does that mean exactly? Well it begins with the understanding that Hell is a real place and although it was made for satan and his minions, it is where those, who like satan, reject Jesus, will go. A normal person (a cold person) should be fearful of that, while a lukewarm person might likely deny that Hell even exists.

Why Are You Doing This?

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Revelation 2:5)

It’s not what we do, but why we’re doing it.

This church in Ephesus simply forgot why they were doing the things they were doing. While those things were commendable, their motivation and direction was not of Jesus. In a way it reminds me of all the great Ivy League universities – all founded by Godly, Christ-centered men, but today, despite doling out degree after prestigious degree, Jesus is no longer their focus or even a part of these institutions. No one can deny that it is ‘pleasing and commendable’ to work hard and earn a diploma, but if Jesus isn’t the focus and foundation, all the effort merely burns up in the end.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

So it can be with our Christian efforts. What may have begun as an obedient service of and for the Lord, ended up a chore where the act and the actor were lauded rather than Christ Jesus. Before I go any further, I confess that I’ve been guilty of it often. I would also add that all those deeds, regardless of how commendable they may have been, will burn to crisp when He judges them at the Bema Seat.

So we must ask: is this thing we do for and of Christ? Who is honored: the deed, the doer, or Jesus? Does the activity bring His light into dark places or is the only radiance that of the spotlight that shines brightly upon ourselves?

If this is the case, Jesus says to go back to the place where it became about you instead of Him; back to where you pushed Jesus out of the pilot’s seat, and make the necessary corrections.

The Apostle Paul said it this way: “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

“We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out. For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.” (Psalm 44:1-3)

It matters not if we act to serve God or act to work against God, if we believe in God or do not believe in God, if we believe in God and transgress or if we believe in God and do not transgress. Create any scenario you like, at the end of the day, or more precisely, in God’s perfect timing, HIS WILL, will be done! God has a plan and He is going to stick to it, regardless if it’s for the short term or the ‘big’ picture prophetically – God’s orchestrating the entire thing and He always has been.

Consider the ‘blessing debacle’ with Isaac, Jacob, and Rebekah. All three, despite being Godly folks, were operating sinfully, while not realizing that God’s plan (for Jacob in the short term and for mankind in the long term), was going to happen regardless if this trio worked with God righteously or against Him sinfully – the result was always going to be the same. The fact that God allowed the event to occur as it did and then use it to convey the Divine principle to us now, just demonstrates His sovereignty and the unfathomable intricacy of His plan.

I’m not suggesting that as followers of Jesus Christ we might as well sin. That would be so very foolish (as brother Paul confirms in an epistle), as we always want to be working on the side of righteousness. But aren’t you comforted in knowing that if we sin, or if we make mistakes, or if for a moment or a season we ignore the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, that God’s plan is moving forward anyway?

I don’t know about you, but that gives me much peace.

I believe (at least in part), this is what Jesus was talking about when He said His yoke was EASY and His burden is LIGHT. Consider the ‘burden’ that all Christians are called to share (the Gospel) and how so many of us are weighed down by the thought of doing it, so much so that many don’t.


Because we’ve made what was supposed to light, heavy.

Remember, God’s plan is going forward regardless of what we do, and He is responsible for drawing believers unto Himself. Our ‘very light’ burden is to just start the conversation, a conversation by the way He will equip us for. The bulk of the burden falls on God, not us. More importantly, if God wants a particular person to hear the Gospel and we fail in our obedience, God will make another way for it to happen, but how very foolish we are if we choose to not participate in God’s plan. Our salvation is not threatened, but know we have forfeited the opportunity to bless and please God, and there will be loss of some sort.

As I write this blog, the nation is suffering greatly from a decimating virus, an unrepairable financial deficit, riots, looting, and destruction. The solution is Jesus, and everything He brings to the table. The world’s solution, such as dismantling our police departments, is insanity, especially in light of the knowledge that God’s plan is going to prevail in the long run.

This is the message the Church needs to be bringing, while simultaneously not being burdened with the notion that we carry the weight of saving America (or the world) on our shoulders. We preach it, we teach it, we share the information, and God will take it from there. For us, we just want to be on the right side of it all.

Learning to Pray

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:26)

I remember my first time(s) praying corporately. It was a little unnerving due to a lack of confidence and the awkwardness associated with public speaking. Looking back I see what an amazing and Godly learning experience it was. Not only did I learn how to pray stylistically (by listening to others), but I was simultaneously being taught that my trepidation was steeped in pride and selfishness. Today if somebody says, “Prayer changes the pray-er,” I know where they’re coming from.

Praying privately or corporately is now an easy thing (generally speaking), however that does not mean I fully know how to pray. The Romans 8:26 passage reminds me that learning how to pray, or perhaps more precisely what to pray, is a never-ending process. The key I found is in paying attention to what I prayed for and then how God responded. Did what I specifically pray ‘for or about’ come to fruition, or was there another result?

That’s of course where the Romans verse applies. When I pray amiss, the Holy Spirit steps in and essentially tells God (as I imagine), “Father, this is what Dave meant to say…” and God answers that prayer. It’s still my prayer, but God tweaked it and in so doing made it doable, in that His will and my will were now in harmony, thanks to the Spirit’s interceding. My role as a learner (disciple) is to pay attention to the changes that He made and adjust my future prays accordingly, while submitting myself to Him for the changes in me that need to be made.

“Okay, I prayed for this, but God did this instead. Hmm, what do I need to allow God to change in me so I do not make that same error again? Was my prayer selfish or prideful? Did I not see the bigger picture? What was it?”

God says yes to these prayers.

In fact, God never says no to our prayers when the Holy Spirit prays with us. If we think or believe God has said “No,” it is because we have forgotten, or do not know that the Holy Spirit was interpreting for us, and/or we were not paying attention to what God ultimately did as it relates to our initial prayer. So while it may seem He said no to us, in reality He said yes to the Holy Spirit.

God cannot deny Himself.

And lest we forget, while this is all going on, Jesus is also making speaking on our behalf.

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34)

It’s a win-win in regard to prayer, as long as we’re paying attention and willing to learn. If God is for us, He is for us.

“Break the arms of these wicked, evil people! Go after them until the last one is destroyed. The Lord is king forever and ever! The godless nations will vanish from the land. Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.”(Psalm 10:15-18)

This Psalm is King David’s and it is essentially a prayer. Does it seem harsh to you? That’s because it is harsh, so it deserves an explanation.

First, keep in my mind that God has told us that vengeance is His, not ours, but He is not saying we can seek justice through our legal system when we are wronged. The vengeance being spoken of (and implied in David’s Psalm) is as severe as it can get and the type of punishment only God is able to dispense. It is also eternal.

Second, we don’t know who is deserving of this kind of punishment. We think we know, but only God knows. For example, we look at Hitler and think, “Surely he should go to hell,” but the truth be told we ALL should go to hell; Hitler could have ‘sincerely’ repented and came to believe in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, just as we did. Let us not waste our time in pondering that that was highly unlikely. Accept these 2 facts: we do not know and Jesus does know. Consider the Apostle Paul. The guy was a mini-Hitler. Instead of Jews, he exterminated Christians, but yet he saw the light and repented. Aren’t you glad that some vengeance-minded posse didn’t take him out?

I am.

King David’s prayer reflects his understanding of God’s sovereignty in this regard. And since we cannot inflict our own sort of revenge, and since we don’t know who will be damned (by God) and who will not, our call is to love our enemies, that is to say to love them enough to share the Gospel message with them, wearing our faith and ambassadorship on our sleeves. We surely don’t condone evil behavior, but if given the opportunity (by the Holy Spirit, mind you) we attempt to side-step evil to reach the soul of the one doling it out.

In summary:

1) If you’re wronged, try to settle it in a Biblical manner. If you don’t know what that is, ask your pastor or google it.
2) Protect yourself and others as the law permits.
3) Call the police, a lawyer, etc. if necessary.
4) Vengeance is God’s. Don’t go there. Pray has David did.

Any Other god

“I know the greatness of the Lord—that our Lord is greater than any other god. The Lord does whatever pleases him throughout all heaven and earth, and on the seas and in their depths.” (Psalm 135:5-6)

The Psalmist, in comparing our Lord to any other god, is not suggesting that these other gods are legitimate divinity. These gods are only real in the sense that men have created them in their own minds and errantly worship them. Having said that, we should consider Allah for a moment.

Allah, is the Arabic word for God. Christian Arabs have no other word for ‘God’ than ‘Allah’, so in this circumstance, the God of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, can legitimately be referred to as Allah.

Muslims obviously use the same word, however their Allah is a perversion of the one true and living God. In other words they have taken the God of the Bible and changed His attributes and altered Bible-truth to harmonize with the false, Muslim faith. Therefore, the Allah of the Muslim religion is a false god. I don’t say that maliciously. I surely do not hate Muslims, I am just proclaiming the truth. Their god and their religion is detrimental to their eternal future.

For the record, there are many religions that have hijacked the God of the Bible and perverted His true identity by adding too, or subtracting from God’s Word. Sadly, many of them masquerade as Christian.

Looking at it another way, imagine some one took the likeness of Colonel Sanders (of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame), and began promoting him as a purveyor of hamburgers. We all know the truth, so we could boldly and truthfully say that they are lying; they have perverted the Colonel’s true identity and the person they are presenting, despite the familiar picture, does not exist in real life.

There can only be one God – Jesus made that absolutely clear. You would recall that our Lord and Savior was humiliated, brutally tortured and murdered. His sacrificial death served as sufficient atonement for our sin. God did this to His Son. Jesus asked of His Father if there were some other way. There was not. This was the only way. If there were another way or some other god that could have paved the way for our eternal security, then God allowed His Son to suffer a horrifying death for nothing.

It would all just be a nice story, a myth, or folklore, if Jesus our Messiah had not risen from the grave.

“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.” (Proverbs 25:21-22)

Let’s start with what the proverb is not saying: if you do something nice for your enemy, he will become enraged, inflamed if you will, and thus it will serve as a God-approved retaliation.

Do we seriously think God would reward us for that?

Of course not.

Isn’t our ‘Christian kindness’ designed to draw people towards Christ?

Of course it is.

The ‘head’ being spoken of in the Proverb is a term which refers to the barely glowing, seemingly dormant embers of a fire, as in a furnace or an old locomotive, that are intended to go low, but never go out, the rationale being that a blaze can be easily stoked by just adding fuel, without having to start a fire from scratch. 


The ‘enemy’ in the proverb is a broad term. It simply could mean those who have done you wrong, but it could also typify the unsaved or back slidden person whose head has gone cold. The niceties of the Christian who blesses this person are likened to hot coals that will serve to restore the flame that has expired or perhaps was never there to begin with. 

This is the type of behavior the Lord rewards.


“Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” (Psalm 130:1)

“Help me God!” is a familiar phrase to many Christians, so much so we often incorporate it into our testimonies. These believers will go on to tell you that after crying out to God they discovered, either immediately or later on as they matured in their faith, that the help they needed was always there – Jesus provided it 2000 years ago and all that was required was to lay claim to it.

What must we say to take ownership?

“I believe.”

Of course it’s just not uttering those two little words, it must be a truthful confession and it must be all encompassing – in due time you must believe Jesus, His account and commands, as they are recorded in the Bible – the whole Bible. When you desperately call to God for help, you’re agreeing to surrender your ways of doing things for His way of doing things, despite not knowing or understanding all that that means. That is the essence of faith. Some key things you may grasp initially (or will eventually):

1) I’m a sinner and I’m going to hell.

Many folks have difficulty accepting that. They’re not yet in the ‘depths’ (sometimes referred to as ‘hitting bottom’) and life appears to be good; they enjoy their sin and it doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone. They laugh at those who tell them their path is the way of destruction, but then it happens: their habitual sin begins to hurt, causing pain to themselves and to others. In time it brings them to a place where they cannot escape. It’s from these ‘depths’ they eventually cry out, “Help me God!”

2) There’s NOTHING I can do to save myself.

a) You want to reject sin; turn away from it, but you can’t. You may stop for a season, but it always draws you back. You’re desperate.

b) Your sin-history prevents you from going to Heaven and there’s nothing you can do to change that. You can’t ‘do good’ to counteract the bad. Entrance to Heaven requires perfection and our sin (just one sin) makes us all imperfect. Once again, you’re desperate.

3) Jesus is your only help. He is perfect and He paid the penalty for our sin.

It’s not required to understand all the doctrine behind Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross, at least not initially, not when you’re crying out to Jesus from your depths of despair. Just accept the fact by faith that He did it and He’s the only one who can help you. Later on, when the bonds of sin have been broken and you’re free from satan’s grasp, you’ll desire to know more about the Jesus who saved you. You’ll come to realize that He wants a relationship with you and you’ll want a relationship with Him. In so doing, your faith and knowledge of Jesus will grow, and you’ll desire to share Him with others.

4) God will help you even if you don’t believe.

Can that be true?

Yes, but it’s not a wise course to take. I have heard countless stories from folks who, in the depths of despair cried out to God for help and He helped them. Myself included. Promises were made and promises were broken, not by God, but by us. We may have uttered that we believe, but there was no truth in those words. God knew, but He helped us anyway. But our words were empty and the bonds of sin were not broken, therefore our reprieve was temporary. We were pulled out of the quagmire and given a chance to repent; to keep the promises we made, but instead we rejected God. As a result we wound up in a worse place. Sometimes it took several trips before realizing Jesus way is truly the only way.

5) You don’t have to hit bottom

It seems most people take the hard way to faith, but some people actually discovered that there is an easier way. The path is essentially the same, but without having to endure all the pain and suffering caused by self-inflicted sin. They simply believed the testimony of Christians (many of whom took the hard way) or opened their Bibles and learned (and believed) for themselves. God spells out the path very clearly in His word:

  • Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” 
  • Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 
  • Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
  • Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • Romans 10:13 “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

That’s it in a nutshell. Believe it and you’re saved. Repentance, ie turning away from your sin and turning to Jesus, is implied in the text and explicitly recorded elsewhere in Scripture. Turning away from sin is not a work, it’s a choice. Besides, good works (deeds) are not needed to be saved. Actually, they’re useless. However, you will develop good works as a result of having been saved. If you’re truly saved, good works are inevitable and you will enjoy doing them.

Please share.

Is that true? Are Christians destroying the United States of America? In order to answer the question, I ask that you consider this portion of Scripture found In 2nd Chronicles:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” —2 Chronicles 7:14
Who is God speaking to?
If you said ancient Israel, under the reign of King Solomon, almost three thousand years ago, you would be historically correct. This is a specific covenant (contract), to a specific people (Jews), to save a specific nation (Israel), so it is not applicable to the church (Christians).
I’m not wholly convinced.
First, Christians are God’s people and God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We have been grafted into the vine that is Israel and the church collectively is the Bride of Christ. In regards to America being saved, well that’s not likely to happen; in the end, it is Israel that survives — no mention of the good ‘ol USA in the Bible. However, that does not mean our nation can’t be healed for a period of time, nor does it mean that America can’t be better than it is today. America’s end is inevitable, but her in-betweens are not.
Back to 2nd Chronicles
Why is America in such a moral mess? I can tell you
that’s it’s not the government’s fault, nor is it the fault of non-believers. “We have met the enemy and they are ours!” it’s the fault of those prideful, non-praying, self-seeking, hypocritical Christians that fill our pews every Sunday! Across the board we ignore God in prayer, we ignore or pervert His word, we turn a blind eye to sin, and although not directly participating in wickedness, we sure enjoy watching it on TV. Dare I mention fornication, abortion, and intoxication?
You get the picture.
Let’s be clear: this country has been entrusted to those who are called by His name, and be us devout or nominal, we outnumber the God-less folks. Our country’s dismal condition is due to the fact that we have dropped the morality-ball, not them. If there is to be any hope for this nation, Christians must repent — it is the very definition of revival. If this occurs, then there will be a healing. 2 Chronicles 7:14 simply gives us the recipe: humility, prayer, turning from sin and pursuing God.
I believe it safe and logical to assume that America is broken because most Christians reject revival. If we want the land revived, we ourselves must first be revived, individually and corporately. And if you are one to say that revival is only a movement of God, I will not argue, but say, “Look around – God is moving!” adding, “were you really waiting for a miraculous sign before you repent, humble yourself, and seek God’s face?” That seems quite faithless to me.
Revival begins with humility. God already knows our spiritual condition; He’s just waiting for us to recognize and confess it. Start there. Then pray. Then pour into His word. Then wait and see what God will do.
Will God heal our land? We cannot be sure, primarily because we cannot predict how many Christians will respond, but this I do know, if one person is revived, he or she will be healed, and that alone should be sufficient.

The Ruler asked, “What should I do to inherit eternal life.”

After some back-and-forth, Jesus said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

I’ve been studying the life of Lot. You know the story — Lot’s an oppressed, non-influential believer, living in sin-filled Sodom, a city that God is about to reduce to ashes. Two angels stand beside Lot pleading that he leave the city, but Lot hesitates.

He believes in God and he believes these messengers are angels. I submit to you he was experiencing the same despair as the ‘Rich Young Ruler’ in the Gospel of Luke story. Lot was a ruler of sorts, holding some type of government position in Sodom, and likely had a measurable degree of wealth. Lot was respected in Sodom, that is, as long as he turned a blind eye to sin and corruption, and kept his religion to himself. While Jesus told the Ruler to sell all that he had, in similar fashion two angels told Lot to abandon all that he had. We know what happen to Lot; the angels took him by the hand and plopped him outside the city walls, directing him to walk the rest of the way. We don’t know what the Ruler decided. I’d like to think that he made the proper choice. 
We’re a lot like Lot and the Ruler.
What if you were told right now to leave it all behind? Don’t consider what you would eventually do, consider what your very first reaction would be. Would there be any hesitation? Would you pause to ask why? Or would you simply turn and start walking, leaving even vehicles behind, carrying only what was on your back? If you’re honest (if I’m honest), we’d probably react just like Lot and the Ruler did: we’d hesitate, seek explanations, and proffer justifications. 

Where does that leave all of us?

It’s okay to ask the question; the disciples were wondering the same exact thing. They too were struggling with the notion of being able to walk away from all they had. Could they leave their homes? Their cars? Their cable TV? Well that’s certainly what their question implies. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they ask.

Jesus responds with the most gracious, merciful, and loving answer, and frankly, it’s the bedrock of the entire Gospel message: “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” (Luke 18:22-27)

Absolute repentance and complete submission is a little frightening at first. It speaks to perfection, so we naturally shy away from that which we cannot achieve. Jesus knows this too. It’s why He bluntly said, “It’s impossible!” And that’s the whole point. Are we not made strong in our weaknesses? We cannot save ourselves. We are helpless by design! It is when we recognize our imperfect condition that the Perfect One can do the impossible.
The angels brought a vacillating Lot out of bondage and he ultimately walked by faith. Jesus brings us out in the same condition and simply asks we do the same.
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