PRAISE GOD IT’S MONDAY!
A WEEKLY ‘WWW (world-wide word) OF ENCOURAGEMENT’
TO THOSE IN MINISTRY

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Issue No: 436     Published: 01 Mar 2010

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MUSINGS ON THE KINGDOM - PAST, FUTURE AND PRESENT

KINGDOM PRESENT - THE KINGDOM PARABLES

THE PARABLE OF THE GREAT BANQUET

15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” 16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ 21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ 22 ”‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ 23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” (Luke 14:15-24)


This illustration of the guest list at a feast is both an encouragement, and a warning, for those who desire to be a part of the kingdom of God.
On the encouraging side, we don't have to be spiritual superstars in order to enter the kingdom. God looks not at our position, our clothing or our spiritual gifts, but at our heart attitude towards Him.

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:32-4)

The kingdom is accessed through the application in our lives of the 'golden rule', agape loving (a love involving action, not just mental assent) of both God and others.

As we saw from the Parable of the Sower last week, perseverance is required.

15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Our heart attitude, as demonstrated through our actions, is the invitation that enables us to attend the feast, to enter the kingdom of God.

The warning, on the other hand, was directed, at the time, to the religious people of the day.

20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

While we all see the problems of the Pharisees, we are often blinded to the reality that these characteristics are the potential downfall in leadership of any generation.

Let's look briefly at the 'woes', a list of warnings from Jesus that we need to guard against today.

13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.(Matthew 23:13)

We must be so careful to only teach Biblical truth, not denominational theology.

Verse 14 is excluded from the NIV, but it talks about taking advantage of 'widows' ie. the easily beguiled - and the saying of long prayers!

15 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. (Matthew 23:15)

We can travel away, looking better than we are in reality, for at home people know us better.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21 And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it. (Matthew 16:22-3)

Do we make additional rules in an attempt to earn holiness by human means?

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. (Matthew 23:23-4)

Do we major on the minor?

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. (Matthew 23:23-4)

Is our life at home in line with what we preach?

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:27-8)

Are we really what we portray ourselves to be? We need to be honest with others.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! (Matthew 23:29-32)


Of course we are not like the Pharisees! But are we?

Two additional warnings precede these 'woes'.

5 “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ (Matthew 23:5-7)

Do not dress to distinguish yourself from those you lead.

8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:8-12)

Do not use a title. Walk in humility.

Please do not take offence with me. This is Scripture speaking. I take offence with myself when I see areas here where I am failing my God, through my thoughts and actions.

"Forgive us lord. Help us Lord become more like You."

(Continued next week)

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FROM THE WORD

Clean and Unclean

"Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ”‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.’” Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’”"(Matthew 15:1-20)

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

"When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees." (Matthew 16:5-12)

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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

RELIGION, REVELATION AND GOD'S KINGDOM

1012. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the biggest hindrance to God building His kingdom is man building his. It's called religion.

1013. Man organises the god out of God!

1014. Religion builds tradition, the Spirit, change.

1015. Religion builds tradition, the Spirit breaks tradition down.

1016. One person's vision becomes their successor's job.

1017. The kingdom of God is built upon relationship, not organisation.

1018. Mankind cannot build the kingdom of God for He has already done it far better than we ever could.

1019. While religion may desire to build God's kingdom, it finally succeeds in building its own.

1020. The kingdom of God doesn't need to be built, rather, grasped hold of.

1021. Religion is of the proud, the kingdom of God, of the humble.

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CRANWELL'S CARTOON

The LORD then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole
family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2
Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its
mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,
3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep
their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from
now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights,
and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature
I have made.” 5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the
earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives
entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of
clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that
move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and
entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the
seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. (Genesis 7:1-10)


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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

THIS WEEK: SERMON ON THE MOUNT - THE KINGDOM WAY continues.....

.......we look at 'an eye for an eye' and 'loving our enemies'.

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LAUGHING AT OURSELVES

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused***

*** "Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others." ***

156. IT COULD BE WORSE
The woman was pouring out her troubles to her pastor. "Oh, it's awful," she cried. "My husband won't work, and all of our bills are six months overdue."

"Well, look on the bright side," said the minister wryly. "You could be one of your creditors."

155. NOW YOU TELL ME
A deacon, driving home from church one hot and muggy Sunday afternoon, passed an older model car sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire. A young lady was struggling to get a spare out of the trunk, obviously having a difficult time. Wanting to be a "Good Samaritan," he turned around and went back to help.

Getting out of his car and rolling up his shirt sleeves, he smiled and said, "This is no job for a woman. Let me do it for you."

Fifteen minutes later, covered with sweat and grime, he finally got the spare on and began to take the car off the jack.

"Please take it down easy," whispered the lady. "My husband's taking a nap in the back seat."

154. THANKS A LOT:
Much of the following material has been has been shorn from http://www.sheeplaughs.com

A minister was called to come to the bedside of a man who was dying. In spite of the lateness of the hour, the minister came and did what he could for the dying man. In a barely audible voice, and between hoarse hacking coughs, the man confessed his sins and asked the Lord's forgiveness as the minister bent close to catch his words.

As he was leaving, the minister said to the man's wife, "I was happy to come and comfort your husband the best I could. But, you're not members of my church. Don't you have a minister of your own faith?"

"Oh yes," the woman said, "but we couldn't call him out in the middle of the night and have him exposed to scarlet fever."

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: What is the connection of May Day to Robin Hood?

ANSWER: The legendary Robin Hood is said to have died on May Day.
(So he ‘may’ be well remembered!)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: Where did the expression ‘red herring’ originate?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

259. WIDE RANGING COMFORT
When it was opened in 1965, the Houston Astrodome was the world's largest air-conditioned room - reportedly, an 18-story building can fit inside it. (Does it cool the ardour of the fans?)

260. A SECOND TRY
The real name of director Stanley Kubrick was in fact Terrence Nezman. His parents changed it the second day after he was born. (Sounds much more ‘Directorial’.)

261. FAST FEATHERS
Badminton is the world's fastest racket sport. A shuttle can leave the racket at a speed of almost 200mph. (320kmh) (Yet stops in less than ten paces. Should drag cars parachutes too, be feathered, then?)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

CLEATS

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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BIBLE QUESTION - MOUNTAINS

4) Where did Solomon build the house of the Lord?

A - Mount Moriah
B - Mount of Olives
C - Mount Carmel
D - Mount Tabor

Source: www.biblequizzes.com

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

"""OTHER'S SAYINGS TO ENLIGHTEN, AMUSE, OR BEMUSE"""

SAYINGS FOR YOU TO PONDER

!!!!!!! God didn't promise an easy voyage, but a safe arrival.

!!!!!! Pray in Faith ~ If you were given a cheque from a friend, would you wait until you cashed it to thank him?

!!!!! Many people will not read a Bible, but they will read a Christian.

!!!! Even a mosquito doesn't get a slap on the back until he starts to work.

!!! Hint to a speaker: If you don't strike oil in 10 minutes, quit boring.

!! Note the turtle: He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.

! He who tunes up in the morning stays in harmony all day.

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'TIL DEATH DO US PART!

116. SLOGANS!
A class professor was giving a lecture on company slogans and was asking his students if they were familiar with them.

"Joe," he asked, "which company has the slogan, 'come fly the friendly skies'?"

Joe answered the correct airline.

"Brenda, can you tell me which company has the slogan, "Don't leave home without it?"

Brenda answered the correct credit card company with no difficulty.

"Now John, Tell me which company bears the slogan, 'Just do it'?"

And John answered, "Mom...."

117. CIRCULATION
Soon after marriage, Terri's husband, Colby stopped wearing his wedding ring. Terri asked, "Why don't you ever wear your wedding band?"

Colby replied, "It cuts off my circulation."

Terri answered back, "It's supposed to!"

118. WOULD YOU AGREE?
A man and woman were having marriage problems, and decided to end their union after a very short time together. After a most brief attempt to reconcile, the couple went to court to finalize their break-up. The judge asked the husband, "What has brought you to this point, where you are not able to keep this marriage together?"

The husband said, "In the six weeks we've been together, we haven't been able to agree on one thing."

The wife said, "Seven weeks."

119. MARRIAGE IS A GAMBLE
Marriage is a gamble.
You start with a pair.
He shows a diamond.
She shows a heart.
Her father has a club.
His father has a spade.
There's usually a joker around somewhere,
but after a while he becomes a king and
she becomes a queen.
Then they end up with a full house.

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BIBLE TRIVIA (Old Testament Family Life)

LEVIRATE MARRIAGE

It was most important for an Israeli man to have an heir. The property of God's inheritance was conveyed through family lines. (Exodus 15:17-18) If a man died before producing an heir, the practice of Levirate marriage was invoked. The wife would marry the dead man's brother and the children of this marriage inherited the dead man's estate. If a man refused to marry his widowed sister-in-law, he was publically disgraced. (Deuteronomy 25:7-10)

Adapted from: '1001 Surprising Things You Should Know About The Bible' MacGregor & Prys

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Police chief hails power of prayer in driving down town's crime rates

by Beth Hale, The Daily Mail of London

BARNSTAPLE, UK: When Inspector Roger Bartlett realised his patch had one of the poorest crime detection rates in the area, he decided he needed help.

So he asked churchgoers to pool their efforts in calling for back-up - from God.

Three years after encouraging Christians from local churches to say prayers to help policemen, detection rates have soared, road accidents have fallen and Mr Bartlett is convinced it is evidence of divine intervention.

The clear-up rate for crimes in his force area of Barnstaple was 26 per cent, one of the lowest in the Devon and Cornwall area.

But since he asked for the prayers things have changed. Every quarter, the number of crimes solved has risen, so that at its current figure - more than 40 per cent - it is one of the highest in the country. ]

Mr Bartlett, 49, who is part of the leadership of the Christian Policing Team in his area, also asked worshippers to pray for a reduction in the number of serious or fatal road accidents - and they fell from 97 in 2007/8 to 32 in 2008/9.

He also works with Street Pastors. These are Christian volunteers who help with vulnerable or drunken people and diffuse trouble in town centres at night.

Last night the policeman said he was convinced that faith and prayer has had a positive impact on policing in Barnstaple.

He said he has seen his prayers answered 'on a number of occasions'. There was the 'unprecedented' Halloween night when police did not have to attend a single incident of disorder.

Then there was the 'prolific burglar' who was apprehended within three days of the group praying that he would be caught, he said.

Mr Bartlett said 'the most significant answer to prayer' he had experienced relates to a fall in the number of serious road accidents in North Devon.

He added: 'Not only was there a 67 per cent reduction on the previous year, and a far greater fall than any other area of the force, it was also more than 50 per cent lower than the next lowest annual figure locally.'

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Netherton of Devon and Cornwall Police said: 'Whether you believe in the power of prayer or not, the fundamental issue is that there are people out there caring about society.'

Via Openheaven.com

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DAVID'S DOWNLOAD

A REVELATION OF……. GIVING TO GOD

In Christianity, we hear an awful lot about what God has done for us, but much less of what He desires from us in return!

There is a saying that 'salvation is a free gift, but discipleship costs us everything!' For as Jesus sacrificed His life for us on Calvary's grim hill, so we, in turn, are to model Him, and sacrifice our life for God and for others.

In this study we are going to look at the ways in which we are to offer God the sacrifices He so much desires from us - Praise and Worship, Prayer and Fasting and Tithes and Gifts.

My God sacrificed His son Jesus, for me! Surely, the first thing I can do for Him is to offer back the sacrifices He desires of me. Is that too much to ask?

In theory we would probably agree, but the practice of our lives often tends to fall short of our good intentions!

I trust that this study will encourage you, as it has me, to give back to God what He desires of each one of us.

Download your free PDF File here.....

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WAXING LYRICAL

This tale was written over a 'period of waiting', while seeking premises for a store we wished to open for 'africa arise'. Go through all the emotions before giving it all to God!

WAITING

Wait for a time,
Then a little more,
Seeking a rhyme,
What's it all for!

I want it now!
Not next week!
You do know how!
To me now speak!

God, all is in your power,
Don't let my life go sour!
I already know what is the best!
No need to put me to the test!

Still nothing happens this week!
"Just wait for Me my son,
Rest in Me, let Me to you speak,
One day, all will be done."

Tuesday comes around,
A new deal awaits.
Found common ground,
With Christian mates.

Full of promise,
Full of hope.
Surely can't miss!
Nope! Nope! Nope!

Wednesday now,
Sign a deal!
We know how!
It's a steal!

Then get a call,
Deal does fall!
Lord I give up!
Hand You the cup.

Agony is inside,
It I can't hide.
What now can I do?
But give it to you.

It's Friday afternoon,
Speak to another man,
Another deal soon?
Yes God, you can!

Wait, wait; wait, wait,
No more, bull at a gate.
God, your will be done,
I'm at peace - your son.

Another deal done,
Contract written.
End of the fun.
End of the mission.

Given to his lawyer,
We're nearly there!
Need go no further,
No need to despair.

The lawyer says no,
No place now to go!
It has fallen over,
Home again Rover!

(Concluded next week)

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A DAVID MUSING

Yesterday was officially the last day of summer, here in New Zealand. Although, in reality, March is normally a very nice month, weather wise.

All you people in the Northern Hemisphere can start looking forward to the end of winter and the beginning of spring, while we can expect cooler weather to come.

Times and seasons dominate all our lives. Both in the natural and the spiritual. With each succeeding winter we are another year older - well I am, for my birthday is in July, which is mid-winter here.

Of course, the Bible uses the illustration of seasons to define the ups and downs of spiritual life. Along with mountains and valleys. If it was always summer, we would not appreciate the fine weather it brings - or is meant to bring!

Even though they are difficult to go through at the time, trials, testings and tragedy are all a part of life in this world. Without going through them we would not truly appreciate the sunshine when it does come.

And remember, Jesus remains with us through both bad times and good - even though we sometimes forget it - in both seasons!

Until next week.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD.

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: CASTLE

TODAY'S 'BIBLE QUESTION' ANSWER: A - Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1)

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ABOUT US

WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES is a non-profit, non-denominational, Bible based ministry located in Hastings, New Zealand. A ministry dedicated to developing discipleship, fostering unity amongst God’s people to achieve the Great Commission, and in doing so, preparing for Christ’s return. It is securely based upon the foundational principles of the Apostles Creed while recognising the wide and rich diversity of beliefs amongst Christians in other areas. In accordance with the Lord’s direction, materials produced by the ministry are available, free of charge, to genuine enquirers upon request. The ministry is solely funded by donations, as the Lord provides. A list of materials available (plus some fun!) is obtainable and freely downloadable from our website
wwj.org.nz or by contacting us as follows.

Walking With Jesus Ministries
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Ahuriri
Napier
New Zealand

Phone: (06) 835 0567 International (+64) 6 835 0567

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Our role is to bless and encourage those in ministry while promoting co-operation and unity of direction amongst the body of Christ, as emphasised 3 times by Jesus in His longest prayer, immediately prior to His arrest and crucifixion. "… so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:12, 21, 23-4) Our website is currently being developed to encourage your participation one with another, to share resources, and to enable you to promote events and items of interest to the body as a whole – and have a smile while doing it!

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