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Posts Tagged ‘One Body of Christ’

Thought for Today

The Alabaster Box
And
Freedom from Strife

“Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people…”
Psalm 18:43

God has an answer for the strife, jealously and contention of religious, partisan discord. Clinging to teachings, ministries of God, and the honoring of men and organizations over Him, clouds His likeness in this world. It destroys the very fabric and wonder of His salvation and the unity of His Spirit. It is as we abide, seek and desire Him alone that He delivers us from the misery and shame of the “strivings of the people”.

The Alabaster Box

There is no better description of this age-old spectacle than that of the story of the woman with the Alabaster box. The room was filled with the carnality, contention, and strife of the various sects of the religious world. The self-righteous Pharisee (himself a leper), the indignant and blind disciples, and the broken-hearted woman (who alone saw the true wonder and glory of the Son) were all confined in one room. Have we not all been in such situations and even sat in the seat of each of these at some time? The Pharisee was oblivious to his own state yet filled with contempt over the woman’s reputation. The disciples were supposedly distressed over the cost and waste of the ointment being poured out. The worshiping woman saw nothing other than the priceless beauty of Christ.

The Pharisee was disturbed with the person, the disciples concerned with the gift, while the woman only had eyes for Him. Singleness of eye is God’s deliverance from the “strivings of the people”. A pure heart rises above partisan politics to see the motivation from which an action proceeds. The reality is that both parties of this drama were offended by her lavish and unmitigated worship of Him! Religious people will always find fault with the true worshiper of Christ; it is an indictment of their own lack of passion for Him.

The Scribes and the Pharisees consulted in the killing of Lazarus for his very presence was a testimony to the resurrection life of Jesus. Cain killed his brother Abel because his gift was accepted and Cain’s rejected. The Pharisees had to cover their ears during the stoning of Stephen because it was a damning of their own true condition. Those who walk with singleness of eye will know loneliness in this world and the contempt of the religious but the joy of seeing Him delivers them from the “strivings of the people”.

“Truly I tell you,
wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,
what she has done will also be told,
in memory of her”
Mark 14:9

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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A Plea to God’s People

“This people says, the time has not come, the time for the house of Jehovah to be built. And the word of Jehovah was by Haggai the prophet, saying, Is it time for you yourselves to live in your finished houses, and this house to lie waste? And now, so says Jehovah of hosts: Set your heart on your ways! You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but are not satisfied; you drink, but not to be filled; you dress, but there is no warmth to one. Yea, he who sells himself sells himself for a bag of holes. So says Jehovah of hosts: Set your heart on your ways. Go up the mountain and bring wood and build this house. And I will be pleased with it, and I will be glorified, says Jehovah. You looked for much, and, behold, little! And when you brought it home, then I blew on it. Why, declares Jehovah of hosts? Because of My house that is ruined, and you, each man, run to his own house. On account of this, the heavens above you have held back the dew, and the earth is held back from her produce. And I called for a drought in the land, and on the mountains, and on the grain, and on the new wine, and on the oil, and on that which the ground produces, and on man, and on livestock, and on all the labor of your hands”
Haggai 1:2-11(LITV)

This word and its implication in the days in which we live are burning in my heart. The response of God’s people, many of whom once believed in the entering in (Hebrews 4:1-6; Philippians 3:8-14), is dismal as they have settled and grown weary with the way. I have heard it said that the reason for the poverty of this generation is because God is not opening the door. There will be no proper response to God from His people until we ourselves acknowledge that it is our doing which has brought about the spiritual malaise of this hour. It will require broken hearts, repentance and a coming together on the basis of His worthiness and His glory; people with an inherent cry to enter in to that which has been given to us.

It is we who have caused God’s presence to be dimmed as all the prophets of old have declared. We have become accustomed to the lack of His Presence in our midst. We have settled for ease and shrugged off our accountability unto Him. We have been forgiven, called, and gifted, in order to declare His Glory to this generation. Instead we have become comfortable with brothers and sisters who do not speak to one another, animosity and division which ruptures the very fabric of His Body. We are called to love one another, pray for one another and admonish one another unto love and good works. A great storm is about to break and we have not laid these things to heart. It is a day to repent, to turn from the love of the world, and to acknowledge that if I do not care about my brother I am walking in darkness. We must facilitate the rising up of HIS BODY in the earth. We cannot continue to walk outside of the fear of the Lord, for in His fear we are aware that our words and deeds are measured before our God.

It is with this attitude of heart that I plead with my brothers and sisters to reach out to find common ground in His heart; to relate to one another in His Love that we might receive the encouragement and admonition of the Lord and rise up out of our apathy in the Unity of His Spirit and His Faith. Unto Him be Glory in the Church now and forever! Amen.

A New Generation Arises

There is a new generation arising with faith and determination to enter into that which God has set before them. Many of the older generation* have failed to enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:19, 4:6). They seek by prayer and religious works that which has already been provided for in Christ. The Word of God declares…

“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”
(Hebrews 3:19)

“Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein,
and they to whom it was first preached
entered not in because of unbelief”
(Hebrews 4:6)

The thing that God has promised sits before us, open and ready for those who step into the River Jordan. While the former generation hold prayer meetings and discussions about how God needs to open the door, a new generation is hearing the call. Those who sit in faithless inactivity fail to understand the truths in the parables of the pounds and the talents. He has given us great ministrations of His Life; it is what we do with them that determine the outcome. To declare that God is the one holding us back is to intimate our spiritual condition is due to His providence rather than our own unbelief. The River parts AS His People step into it. It is unbelief to pray to God to give what has already been given (Exodus 14:15-16). Unbelief cloaked in religious activities has been the sin of many a generation, yet within these times of unbelief God has people who are rising up to take the promise of their day and their hour. Such is the crisis/opportunity of today. In the midst of this unbelief there is a new generation arising that will not be denied. Their hearts cannot linger in the “religion” of unbelief and a faith that does not produce the works of the Son. The veil has been torn (past tense) and to ask God to open the veil is an expression of unbelief.

To say that the reason God’s people live in such spiritual poverty is because of God’s unwillingness to open the way is to lay blame for their spiritual condition upon God rather than themselves. This is a fearful place to walk.

While the bones of one generation bleach white on the sands of unbelief * a new one rises with added grace to enter in and displace the enemies who have too long held the Land of our inheritance. May we be those who feel Him pressing us to walk with the “hind’s feet” (Psalm 18:33) of His provisions. We cannot linger in the valley of vain words, religious meetings and wordy discussions. We must shed our unbelief and stop consoling one another with words rather than the works and admonitions of faith.

I am blessed and encouraged to see the faith of this new generation taking them beyond the impotence and staleness of former things. They are lights shining in the dark! Their words convey a faith not learned by reading books or hearing sermons but a faith that is the very gift of God. They know intuitively there is a Land filled with the Glory of God which is beyond the reach of the religious, but easily accessible by childlike faith. It is a great consolation to hear these voices arising which are speaking better things than the jealously of Saul, the gainsaying of Korah, and the greed of Balaam. The cry within their hearts is for the Unity for which the Son prayed and they will not allow jealousy, apathy and high-mindedness to deter them. They understand the truth of Isaiah 58; the true fast of the Lord is one of doing and becoming rather than the Pharisaical works of the flesh. It is of these that Jesus speaks “suffer the little children to come unto ME”. They are not schooled in the unbelief of our day. They do not know and care little about great men; they have been enamored by the ONE who matters. They know we are here to be the answer to HIS prayer and desire in the earth.

“…that all may be one, as You are in Me,
Father, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us,
that the world may believe
that You sent Me”
John 17:21 (LITV)

The final outpouring of His Spirit will not fall on a divided and sectarian people. The New Wine will only be poured out into a New Wineskin (Matthew 9:16-17). The old, inflexible wineskin, held together with the carnal energies of those who would seek their own glory and not His, will never be able to contain His Glory. Patching things up rather than seeking the New will never work. There is only ONE NAME by which this will happen; His Name is JESUS and it is above all others. This coming move of God will not be identified as Pentecostal, Baptist, Alliance or the thousand other names by which men have sought to differentiate themselves from others. Those who will be part of this New Wineskin will find their whole identity in Him and seek His Glory alone. They will so minister the life of Jesus that they will rejoice when their brothers and sisters surpass them in their knowing of Him. It is from such a heart that Paul declared:

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh
Romans 9:1-3

This is the heart that draws the anointing from God; the heart to which God can entrust the power and the wonder of His ways; the heart that knows the ministration of the Holy Spirit is not about them but about His People and His Inheritance. It is into such a vessel that this New Wine will be poured out without measure. It will not be poured into those who separate themselves from God’s people and pray for God to move. Faith without works is not a living faith. Elijah prayed for the “child of promise” which had died and when the prayers were not answered he stretched himself out and identified with that dead body (three times) in order to see it arise (1 Kings 17:19-22). Any “truth” which does not cause an individual to identify with God and His People is not truth but simply a teaching.

“But he that doeth truth cometh to the light,
that his deeds may be made manifest,
that they are wrought in God
John 3:21

One cannot hold faith or truth within their hearts
and be without the deeds which are borne of them.

* Note: In the midst of a whole generation failing the purposes of God at Kadesh Barnea there were those of that generation who walked in the faith and fire of God. These are they of whom it is said they followed after a “different spirit” than the generation who declared the enemies were too large and strong…

“But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land wherein to he went; and his seed shall possess it”
(Numbers 14:24)

The promise of entering in is not based upon teachings or doctrines; it is determined by the spirit in which one walks with God. Many linger in things which are dead and passing away, even things which had life for many years. They now must give way to the New and the New can only be known by having ears to hear and a heart to obey.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth…”
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

Brian Troxel
http://www.aword.info

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THE WELLS OF ISAAC

PART THREE

REHOBOTH
THE WELL OF ROOM AND PEACE

“And they digged another well,
and strove for that also:

and he called the name of it Sitnah.
And he removed from thence,
and digged another well;
and for that they strove not:

and he called the name of it Rehoboth;
and he said,
For now the LORD hath made room for US,

and we shall be fruitful in the land”
GENESIS 26:19-20

As with all things in God, Rehoboth is more than just a name; it is a promise and a place of great value. It speaks of peace, fruitfulness and growth. A place of quiet repose for the weary sojourners whose vision and purpose is God. The true beauty of Rehoboth is that it is a roomy place. Isaac declares “…for now the Lord has made room for US”! The true heart of a believer must come to the point of the experiential knowing that our journey in God is ALWAYS to culminate in US. The time of the singular pursuit of God is necessary for our development and the discovery of His Call to us personally. However with the passing of time we begin to feel His Heart for HIS BODY of which we are just a part. The cry and very heart of Jesus in John 17 is that we would be ONE AS HE IS WITH HIS FATHER! This desire is HIS and as we grow into HIS HEART by the partaking of HIS very nature (2Peter 1:4) this longing becomes ours. Nature must transcend teaching; the living plant is the transcendent expression of the seed. We must not placate ourselves with a form and a teaching of the life without the travail of heart to BECOME the verity of that life. Travail is the fruit of conception. It is the precursor of Birth and birth is the verity of the new Life!

“…but we also
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,

even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
eagerly waiting for the adoption,
the redemption of our body”

ROMANS 8:28

The more I read the language of the New Testament the words with force and power are the simple ones; “we”, “ours” and “us”. The Well of Rehoboth speaks to us of this truth. The Body of Christ must move beyond the contention and strife. These are not only the work of the enemy, but are in fact the result of an earthly wisdom that is self-seeking, self-promoting and the result of man’s fallen nature.

“Only by pride cometh contention…”
PROVERBS 13:10

“But if ye have
bitter envying and strife in your hearts,

glory not, and lie not against the truth.
This wisdom descendeth not from above,
but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
For where envying and strife is,
there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,
then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated,
full of mercy and good fruits,
without partiality,

and without hypocrisy.
And the fruit of righteousness
is sown in peace
of them that make peace”

JAMES 3:14-18

The Well of Rehoboth is the promise of provision to those who choose to move from the strife and contention of the religion of men, with their efforts to build something “for” God, and into a place of fellowship and refreshment IN GOD.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious ointment upon the head,
that ran down upon the beard,
even Aaron’s beard:
that went down to the skirts of his garments;
As the dew of Hermon,
and as the dew
that descended upon the mountains of Zion:

for THERE the LORD commanded the blessing,
even life for evermore”
PSALM 133

Brian Troxel

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ONE BREAD ONE BODY

“For WE,
though many,
ARE one bread and one body;
FOR we all partake of that one bread”
I CORINTHIANS 10:17

Love is mentioned 156 times in the New Testament while the word WE is mentioned 630 times; the majority of these are concerning the body of Christ. The WE is the expression of the Love. The commonality of the communal heart was a ONENESS in the peoples’ lives revealing the ONE BODY and the ONE CHURCH. The thing that made the unity was the partaking of that ONE bread which was broken for them. The closer one is in relationship to the HEAD the more one is cognizant of the one body. This explains the fragmentation and sectarianism that has robbed the body of its power and reality.

Love is the fruit of relationship with the head. Love surpasses knowledge, rejoices with the truth, stands for truth and knows that the only hope for anyone to be truly free, truly righteous and truly like the Son is by the ministration of truth. Where truth is neglected love will be a dismal expression of all that God is for “God IS Love”. I cannot know what love is except in the true knowing of God. Truth is my only hope for knowing what LOVE really is.

Love is the selfless and pure expression of the God who so loved the world that HE gave His only Son. That same Love that gave is the same God who in total holiness and impartiality is the judge of all men. All the heavens and they that dwell there are awestruck with the Holiness, the Righteousness and the Omnipotence of His Majesty. The most holy Angels who have never known sin or rebellion shield themselves from His glorious penetrating light; such a contrast with the apathy and religion of today. Where there is no unity in the midst of God’s people there will be little or no glory.

In every case of unity in both the Old and New Testaments there was God’s glory to such an extent that men were bowed and the heavens were opened. The unity PRECEDES the moving of God. On the day of Pentecost they were in ONE ACCORD prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We read in the Old Testament that when the singers and dancers were of ONE Voice the Glory of God fell. Jesus said…

“And he spake also a parable unto them;
“No one tears a piece from a new garment
and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new,
and the piece from the new will not match the old.
And no one puts new wine into old wineskins.
If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled,
and the skins will be destroyed
LUKE 5:35-38

The New Wine will not be poured out into old wine skins. They are old, inflexible, and weak. They have become rigid and have a form of righteousness that cannot be changed. God is not in the renovating business; HE TRANSFORMS anyone who dares walk in truth and in the light. His Love does not compromise with sin and religion. He cleansed the temple in His Day and He has not changed! Men were satisfied with their paltry offerings and even the disciples (prior to Pentecost) were found marvelling at the temple buildings in their day. Jesus says that there will not be left one stone of that old order. For the new was ready to break forth upon the grounds of the pure sacrifice of the LAMB OF GOD. Now it is a temple not made with hands; a living temple made up of living stones mortared together by the simplicity of the LOVE of God. Men no longer build their own edifices but are themselves built together INTO this glorious temple.

“In whom ye also are builded together
for an habitation of God through the Spirit”
EPHESIANS 2:22

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men,
but chosen by God and precious, you also,
as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house,
a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
I PETER 2:5

The ONE BREAD is to bring forth the ONE BODY in truth and reality. Not a oneness based on the effort of men or the compromise of the truth! This ONENESS is the REVELATION OF THE TRUTH not the ignoring of it. TRUE LOVE IS THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT which IS CALLED THE “SPIRIT OF TRUTH”. When men love programs, teachings, the esteem of men and self promotion more than they love truth they reap the fruit of their own ways. This in itself is the great judgement of God. When men are content with such things nothing changes. Agnosticism is in full expression and men declare that God moves at times and not at others as if it were some mysterious thing. Truth is seen as being relative; there is no concern for wrong teachings and soulish ways. We are not to say anything, do anything, that might offend others. God has a name for such a generation… ICHABOD!

“And she named the child Ichabod,
saying, The glory is departed from Israel”
I SAMUEL 4:21

It is time to read the scriptures for what they say and to see through the “status quo” of today. It is a day to return to the simplicity of truth and the power of His Spirit that can only be found where the New Wine skin is made up of those that love one another fervently out of a pure heart. We can no longer meet in the ways of the world. The true church is not an earthly organization but a spiritual organism living in the breath of the Holy Spirit, where men no longer walk in titles and positions but live and walk in the pure expression of His love. It is a place where our meeting together is no longer orchestrated by the programs of men but has become the place where the Spirit of Liberty is free to EXPRESS THE LIVING CHRIST. A place where His Glory comes in such power that the ways of Ananias and Sapphira are judged and God is glorified. A place where HIS Glory so permeates our gatherings unto Him that no earthly agenda can survive and men speak as the oracles of God.

We need to stop reading the scriptures as if they were for another day; to stop viewing the Holy Word as if it were a historical document.

Daniel in captivity UNDERSTOOD by the reading of the scriptures that they would be in exile for 70 years and began to pray and repent; GOD ANSWERED! It is as men read the scriptures and hear HIS voice that repentance and change comes. He did not simply say “Well, God is going to do it”… HE knew God enough to know that HE MUST RESPOND to God’s Word personally to experience the LIFE OF IT. FAITH IS SIMPLY THE ABILITY TO RESPOND TO GOD.

The scriptures are read everyday across our land but the famine of the word is not in the reading of it but in the HEARING of it. For FAITH comes by hearing not reading. So Jesus warns us to take heed “HOW WE HEAR” and “WHAT WE HEAR”.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD,
that I will send a famine in the land,
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of HEARING the words of the LORD”
AMOS 8:11

That day is upon us, but the promise of God to His Church is …

“He who has an ear, let him HEAR what the Spirit says”

The unity of the true Body of Christ is only known by the simplicity of WALKING IN THE LIGHT…

“But if we WALK in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship one with another”
I JOHN 1:7

Ω

“The unity of Christendom is not a luxury, but a necessity.
The World will go limping until
Christ’s prayer that all may be one is answered.
We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks.
A unified Church is the only offering we dare present
to the coming Christ,
for in it alone will He find room to dwell”
Charles H. Brent

Brian Troxel

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IS OUR LOVE DIFFERENT?

“And if ye salute your brethren only,
what do ye more than others?
do not even the publicans so?”
MATTHEW 5:47

The Greek word for “salute” would best be translated here to embrace or literally as Thayer’s Greek Thesaurus translates this word, “to draw to one’s self”. It is translated “embraced” in Hebrews 11:13. In the verse preceding this one Jesus states that if we love {agapao Grk.} only those that love us, how do we differ from the publicans? May the weight of these things impact us as we look around and see this love displayed to varying degrees throughout the church today. Does this not vividly describe the condition of the sectarian ways to which we have fallen? We see churches and various groups holding on to the close confines of those that “fellowship” with them and the common definition of the church or body today has mistakenly come to mean the ones that we meet with.

To add weight and importance to the above verse Jesus follows with…

“Be ye therefore perfect,
even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
MATTHEW 5:48

In other words our Father in Heaven is nothing like this. His Love knows no bounds; He does not show impartiality nor is He a respecter of persons. He sends the rain on the just and the unjust and His Son died for the sins of the world. We speak of “our” church, “our” pastor and “our” ministry as if we owned something or that because of our goodness these things have become ours. In Corinthians Paul states…

“For who makes you differ from another?
And what do you have that you did not receive?
Now if you did indeed receive it,
why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
1CORINTHIANS 4:7

If we seek only to meet with those of like mind we remove from us the wonder of His mosaic and the richness of the variations of His Wisdom. When we exclude or diminish another for differing from us we reveal the love of this world. We wonder why the world has not seen the Glory of our God in our midst while we live divided and walk in a love that loves only those that love us.

Peter, one of the Chief Apostles, started to segregate himself from the “gentiles” in his midst and was strongly rebuked by Paul and rightly so. The carnal man seeks to distinguish himself from others thus elevating one’s self. The need for recognition and distinction is at the core of that fallen nature. Jesus HAS broken down the middle partition between Jew and Gentile, between “Baptists” and “Pentecostals” and whatever other walls may be added through the “names” of teachings and doctrines. The gathering of the people is to be unto Him and Him alone.

Sadly the Proverb speaks to our day with such clarity…

“Only by pride cometh contention”
PROVERBS 13:10

Ω

“Division has done more to hide Christ from the view of men
than all the infidelity that has ever been spoken”
G. MacDonald

Brian Troxel

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HE IS ABLE

PART FIVE

THE COMMON FAITH!

“To Titus, mine own son after the common faith”
Titus 1:4

Here is Paul writing to Titus as his own son in the faith. Titus was sent to travel throughout the Church of Jesus Christ to set things in order and to ordain elders in every city. It was a ministry that was to preserve the purity of the word, to stop the gainsayers, the propagation of Jewish fables and the teaching of the traditions of men. Right from the outset Paul is communicating to Titus that there is a common faith.  A common faith that produces a common love for one another; a common faith that produces a common brotherhood. The heresy of this hour where we see closed and secular groups each claiming that they are of the “true” faith is to deny the very passion of the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ when HE prayed in John 17, that they may be ONE. We are not talking of some ecumenical concept for that is but an attempt by man to have a unity based on the minimizing of faith and truth. What Jesus spoke of was a unity founded on FAITH and TRUTH. The common faith must produce a common brotherhood!

The Greek word used here for “common” is the word koinos (κοινός) which is best translated “common or belonging to several or of which several are partakers”. This common Faith by its very nature is meant to be shared and held within the community of faith and not some “elect” circle. It is a faith that recognizes and participates with people of the “common” faith. It is the root word of koinōnia of which much has been written and of which much more is to be known. How necessary it is for us to see that the commonality of the FAITH, not teaching, is what makes us partakers and joint heirs of God! Paul prayed for the Ephesians…

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
of whom the WHOLE family in
heaven and earth is named”
Ephesians 3:14 – 15

The Greek word here for family is singular! For it is by faith that we have been born into the family of God; it is by faith that we are made PARTAKERS and the expression of this faith in our daily lives must reveal this truth. The present day expression of a powerless, divided and secular church is a sad testimony to our real condition. Jesus said when the son of man returns will HE FIND FAITH. We are told that in this hour the love of many shall grow cold. Are we not seeing this? If we do not love our brother whom we have seen, how can we have the audacity to say that we love God whom we have not seen? This is the DAY to PREPARE the WAY of the LORD; a day to turn, to consider HIS HOUSE not our own. It is a day to return to the simplicity of the “common faith” that we might become that expression of the truth that will produce a depth of LOVE that the world may know of a surety that THIS IS THE FAMILY OF GOD.

May there be a hastening of this within the heart of every true believer in Christ.

HE IS ABLE!

Ω

“They are the true disciples of Christ, not who know most,

but who love most”
Frederich Spanheim the Elder (1600–1649)

Brian Troxel

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