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FATIGUE, TOXIC THOUGHTS AND BURNOUT (1Kings 19:1-8)

Fatigue, toxic thoughts and burnout are a common feature in human existence and they are a reminder of our finitude. This is a condition which comes as a result of social, moral, political and religious contaminations. A lot has been said about air pollution in the atmosphere and plastic pollution in seas and oceans but little has been said about the damage being caused by social, moral, political and religious pollution to society. As long as we live in a polluted society, our lives are in danger of unsuspectingly consuming poison which is hazardous to our souls. As said earlier on, the results of these contaminations are people suffering from fatigue, toxic thoughts and burnout.

Prophet Elijah is a classic example of how fatigue, toxic thoughts and burnout can take a toll on our social, moral and spiritual lives. Burnout is like we are trying to make a car move on an empty tank. Elijah had just been in his HIGH SEASON with the demonstration of God’s power at Mount Carmel leading to the return of Israel back to God and the slaughtering of 450 baal prophets. This triggered the end of a three and half year drought and the beginning of a great economic and religious revival. However the dream of a new Israel was thwarted by a message from King Ahab’s wife Jezebel. Prophet Elijah was given a death threat with a twenty four hour notice. This toxic message swung the pendulum ushering in a LOW SEASON under a Juniper tree in the wilderness. All of a sudden, a brave prophet succumbed to the unsavoury speech of Jezebel. Consequently he entered into the PANIC MODE and its manifestations of toxic attitudes and behaviours. What caused this great man of God to have such mood swings from a high season to a low season? Listed below are eight common strategies the devil uses to inject toxic thoughts, fatigue and burnout into our souls;

1. The devil uses intimidations, bullying and threats to plant toxic thoughts of fear and defeat. When the devil (JEZEBEL) speaks intimidating, bullying and threatening words to you, speak back using scriptural authority.

2. The devil wants you to always be in flight rather than in fight hence Elijah ran for dear life. Never give your back to your enemy in flight, fight the good fight of faith.

3. The devil wants to ISOLATE you from other people just like Elijah who made a ninety mile journey into the wilderness and hid in a cave. Buffaloes are a force to reckon with against the lions as long as they stay in the group. One minute of isolation can be fatal to a buffalo and to you.

4. The devil controls you by making you to be under circumstances rather than over circumstances just as he made Elijah to go under a Juniper tree. Change your language from negative statements like UNDER WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCE to OVER WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCE.

5. The devil uses burnout to depreciate your value and your worth. Elijah confessed, I AM NO BETTER than my ancestors. No matter how much you squash a fifty pound note, it will never change its value. Your value is unchangeable; come wind, come storm, come rain, come haywire.

6. In the same vein as above, the devil makes you to become the WORST CRITIC of yourself. Do yourself a favour babe, speak better of yourself. Verbalise who you are: I am one of a kind, fearfully and wonderfully made. My level is a little lower than angels, set on high by the Most High. I am genetically designed to breakthrough etc.

7. The devil makes you to EXAGGERATE and MAGNIFY your problems. Elijah said, I AM THE ONLY ONE LEFT yet there were seven thousand people who had not bowed to the altar of baal. All your trials and tribulations are common to humanity and God has a way out of your burnout.

8. The devil’s ultimate aim is to make you SURRENDER your dream and vision. Elijah said, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, you better kill me Lord. You shall not die, but live to proclaim the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Do not die before your time.

I REST MY CASE.

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Posted by on March 20, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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SWAMPS, MARSHES AND THORNS (Ezekiel 47:11, 2Cor.4:7, 12:1-9)

Prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the restoration, revival and refreshment of Israel as a nation is depicted in form of a river which originated from the temple precincts, specifically from the ALTAR. Wherever the river went, it brought refreshment to everything. Trees were refreshed to produce fruits for food and leaves for pharmaceutical purposes. Sea creatures including fish were refreshed leading to the thriving of the fishing business. Even the salty waters of the dead sea became sweet again.

However verse 11 claims, ‘But the marshes and swamps will not become fresh….’ But why did God choose to leave these marshy and swampy places as is? Why would a good God refresh most parts of your life but deliberately ignore the marshy and swampy places of your life? Why would a good God allow the scorching sun to continually hover over marshy and swampy places of your life? The Bible says that they were left like that so that they could produce a very important and necessary ingredient in every home i.e. SALT.

Could it be that your ability to become the salt of the earth comes as a result that God strategically leaves some sections of your life in a marshy and swampy condition? Could it be that God in his reserve policy allows some areas of your life not to experience refreshment? Could it be that a good God can deliberately leave a thorn in your flesh as He did to the Apostle Paul for a purpose? Could it be that to those God has given great revelations, he gives them a thorn in the flesh so that they do not get puffed up with pride? A thorn in the flesh as well as having marshy and swampy places in your life is there to demonstrate that God’s power is made perfect in weakness. Paul further consolidates this point when he says elsewhere that we have this treasure in earthen vessels or jars of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. May God help us to distinguish between pain for purpose and pain that destroys our faith in God. May we rely on God’s sufficient grace when some areas of our lives remain marshy and swampy for a reason. May we remain standing when God permits some thorns to remain stuck in our mortal bodies for his glory. In everything we do for God, may we be reminded that we are fragile mortals with human flaws and limitations.

It’s time to turn your swamps and marshes into salt. It’s time to let roses come out of your thorns. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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DESERTERS, REFRESHERS AND OTHER KINDS OF BUDDIES (2Timothy 1:15-18, Proverbs 11:25, John 15:12-15)

‘There are friends who stay and friends who stray’ is a modern cliche to describe true friends and fair weather friends. In one of Apostle Paul’s DUNGEON DISCOURSES, we find the honourable Apostle face to face with the sad reality that some friends desert you when you need them most. These friends did not only desert him but they also disowned him. This scenario is heartbreaking to anyone who takes seriously the importance relating as children of God. The dilemma is that Christian friendships are based on TRUST hence vulnerability when there is betrayal of that TRUST.

The setting of this dungeon discourse is in Rome where Paul was in prison awaiting trial. At this juncture, he was no longer under house arrest as had been the case in other trials. Being under house arrest was an option given for lesser criminal charges whereby you could pay rentals for that particular house but be kept under guard until your trial date. This time around Paul was thrown into a dungeon which was a prison reserved for the worst enemies of the State especially revolt leaders. Dungeons were underground prisons which were originally used as religious cult centres to connect with the underworld. Such prisoners were symbolically made to disappear from the real world where they had no right to live and be confined into the underworld. Even our Lord Jesus Christ spent a night in Caiphas’ dungeon awaiting trial which led to his crucifixion. The death sentence was the natural culmination of those facing treason charges. Your life may have been condemned into the underworld conditions. The good news is that God has a rescue plan for you.

Paul writes this Epistle to Timothy from a Roman dungeon. His life is between a rock and a hard place. He had to rely on friends to get decent meals and warm clothes but they were not forthcoming. Paul highlights in black and white that everyone in the Roman province of Asia deserted him including Phygelus and Hermogenes. But Paul singles out one person Onesiphorus as someone who refreshed him on several occasions. This man was not ashamed to be associated with a disenfranchised prisoner charged with high treason. He searched and reached out for Paul at his own risk. He gave material support as well as moral and spiritual support. He spoke words of encouragement and affirmation. Over and above this he offered PRESENCE THERAPY in that dark and filthy dungeon.

Truth be told, from a biblical point of view, fair weather friends who desert you and disown you when you need them are not friends by any level of definition or imagination. God created us with the need to share our lives with others. True friendship is composed of common values and interest as well as commitment and loyalty. A true friend is one who loves without limits as denoted by the PHILEO type of love from the Greek word PHILOS meaning friend. In Greek culture and philosophy, a true friend was one who was prepared to lay his life for his friend just like Onesiphorus who was there in Paul’s life and death situations. Secondly a true friend was one who spoke to you frankly, openly, honestly and truthfully withholding nothing. Our Lord Jesus Christ lay down his life for us his friends and he also fully disclosed to us openly and frankly all the hidden mysteries taught by his father. Friends who are frank, open, honest and truthful have become a rare commodity these days. Anybody who prefers to gossip about you rather than being frank and open is not a true friend at all.

Could it be that the greatest pain in Christian friendships is caused by those you assumed were dear to you and purportedly pretended to be close to you? The trauma of betrayal and backstabbing could have had devastating effects on the ageing Apostle but thank God for raising Onesiphorus to refresh the man of God when an entire province of Asia deserted him and worse still disowned him. May God raise a few more Onesophoruses in our generation i.e. the kind of friends who stick closer than a brother, friends who stay when others stray, friends with a covenant relationship like that of Jonathan and David. May Christian friendships surpass worldly friendships in testimony and quality of commitment. To those who give high value to friendship and take the MINISTRY OF REFRESHMENT seriously, I have good news for you. He who refreshes others shall also be refreshed. I declare double refreshment in your life in Jesus’ name. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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LEGACY THINKERS, HERITAGE THINKERS AND GENERATIONAL THINKERS (Isaiah 39)

‘As a man thinketh, so is he’ has become one of the most celebrated aphorisms derived from the bible (Proverbs 23:7). Simply put, you are the sum total of your thoughts. The greatest and most sophisticated software ever created cannot surpass human brains. One of the most important things in life which deserves careful thought is about legacy and heritage issues. What separates legacy and heritage thinkers with the rest is that they focus on long term goals rather than short term ones. Proverbs 13:22 says, ‘A good man/woman leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children’. Short term thinkers think a BOWL OF SOUP like Isau who traded his birthright in exchange for a bowl of soup to satisfy temporary gratifications. Samson with all the anointing upon him and the long term mission to free the Israelites from the Philistine menace, reflected short term thinking by flirting with Delilah and lying on her lap. Long term thinkers think legacy and heritage which they can leave for their children’s children. Your greatest contribution as a legacy and heritage thinker is your LIFESTYLE. Somebody said, ‘THE LEGACY YOU LEAVE IS THE LIFE YOU LEAD’. Its not about leaving CATHEDRALS and HONORIFIC TITLES but leaving a heritage of CHRISTIAN VALUES AND STANDARDS. Christian leaders and parishioners should leave the Church better than they found it.

The passage cited above sums up the bad ending of King Hezekiah. This king was well known for being a God-fearing and God-loving leader who restored temple worship. This is the same king who pleaded with God for another lease of life at the point of death and he was granted fifteen extra years. It all started with the Babylonian king who sent a congratulatory message of recovery from illness to Hezekiah as well as a personal gift to him. This was normal practice by kings who wanted to broker alliances with other surrounding kings. King Hezekiah showed off his gold, silver, precious spices, oils and his weapons to this Babylonian entourage. Truly speaking, Hezekiah bragged about his net worth and self worth. He showed off God’s blessings rather than showing off his God. Whatever Hezekiah had, part of it or all of it was inherited from previous generations of kings who understood the importance of leaving a legacy and an inheritance. Hezekiah in the spirit of show off exposed all the hidden places where this heritage was stored. That is why Isaiah asked this question, ‘WHAT HAVE THEY SEEN IN YOUR HOUSE?’ This led to the prophetic utterance of the overthrow of the king’s house and the whole of Judah. Sadly, everything he showed off was later taken off to Babylon. It is naive to think that we can expose our heritage and assume that the enemy will only admire it. The whole of Judah suffered a terrible loss of inheritance because of one man’s short-sightedness. A national heritage went out for grabs because one egocentric man showed off everything to the enemy in exchange with a small gift.

May God raise the Shammahs of today who will STAND in the fields of the fathers to protect the heritage of lentils for future generations (2Samuel 23:11-12). Where are the Naboths of today who will say THE LORD FORBID THAT I SHOULD GIVE YOU THE INHERITANCE OF MY ANCESTORS (1Kings 21:3). Where are the daring daughters of Zelophehad who made a demand of their father’s inheritance among their male relatives? (Numbers 27:1-11). May God raise the Josephs of today who will not be moved by the sexual lures of Potiphar’s wife. May God raise the Daniels of today who say, I WOULD RATHER BE A VEGETARIAN instead of indulging on the king’s delicacies. Let there be an Elijah of today who will be a STAND ALONE prophet against the majority of baal prophets. Where is the modern John the Baptist who is ready to challenge the Herods of today for every wrong doing even if it leads to being beheaded? May the spirit of Moses fall on us today so that we may refuse to be given wrong identity (son of Pharaoh’s daughter) as well as refusing fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-28).

As a man thinketh, so is he. Long term thinkers think heritage, think legacy, think special future and think generations. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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THE SEVEN JABS TO TRIGGER YOUR SEASON OF REFRESHMENT PART 5 (Psalm 27:4, 42:1)

In our endeavour to trigger the season of refreshment, one of the most effective super jabs is the JAB OF DESIRE. This is about hungering and thirsting for refreshment. The Psalmist says, ‘As the deer pants for the waters, so my soul thirsts after you’. Somebody said that WHAT YOU DON’T DESIRE, YOU DON’T DESERVE and alternatively WHAT YOU DESIRE, YOU DESERVE. The Prophet Isaiah supports the principle of desire when he says, ‘They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint’. Could it be that we need to glean a few life lessons from the eagle. The eagle goes through a MOLTING SEASON every year. This is the time when it sheds off old feathers and grows new ones. Refreshment comes as a result of shedding off some things in our lives. When the eaglets are hatched, they come out with birth feathers. They also have to undergo the molting season so that they grow flying feathers. May the good Lord help you to shed off baby feathers and get flying feathers for the journey of faith. May the good Lord also give you the wisdom to know where to fight your battles. The eagle carries its enemies into the air. In the same manner we do not fight against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in the air.

I have a conviction that God is about to do a NEW THING to those who have HIGHER ORDER DESIRE (HOD). God is about to open A NEW THING CHAPTER. Refuse to let your life be stuck in THE PAST TENSE OF LIFE. God specialises in creating rivers in the WASTELANDS i.e. a barren , desolate and dry place. I declare a TRIPARTITE SEASON OF REFRESHMENT. God is about to do a new thing FOR YOU, a new thing IN YOU and a new thing THROUGH YOU.

The tragedy of the 21st Century Church is LOST DESIRE. We have become like one of the seven Churches in the book of Revelation. They were still doing Church but they had lost their first love (Revelation 2:4). The writer of Revelation urges the parishioners at Ephesus to REMEMBER where they fell from grace, REPENT of their sins and RETURN back to their first love. My prayer is that the Lord may give you an APPETITE for the things of God. Check out men and women who had desire in the Bible:

# The Song of Songs woman searched for the one her heart loved (3:1-5)

# The woman who lost one of her ten coins/drachmas had to search carefully for it (Luke 15:8-10)

# The good Shepherd left the 99 sheep in search for one lost sheep

# Jacob wrestled all night with the angel of the Lord in search for a blessing

# Jabez was more honourable than his brothers because of the desire to get out of poverty and pain

# Peter on Mount Transfiguration desired to stay in his glory

# The woman with an issue of blood desired to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment in search for healing

# Blind Bartimeus desired to see

# Ruth desired to go with Naomi to Bethlehem of Judah

# The four friends desired that their disabled friend be healed hence they broke through the roof

# Prophet Elisha desired the double portion of Prophet Elijah’s spirit

# David desired to dwell in the house of the Lord forever and to BEHOLD HIS GLORY

WHAT YOU DESIRE, YOU DESERVE. WHAT YOU DON’T DESIRE, YOU DON’T DESERVE. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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THE SEVEN SUPER JABS TO TRIGGER YOUR SEASON OF REFRESHMENT PART 4 (Genesis 2:15, 1Kings 5:2-5, Joshua 21:44-45)

In this part four of the seven super jabs to trigger your season of refreshment, our focus will be on WORK and REST and the symbiotic relationship therein.

Although the Lord put the man (Adam) in this earthly paradise or a place of delight and enjoyment called Eden, the Bible says that God did so for the major purpose to WORK IT and take CARE OF IT. It is foolhardy to think that the extra-biblical teachings of the CLAIM IT AND HAVE IT gospel work in real life situations. Truth be told, embracing such a teaching only leads to poverty in the name of faith. Financial refreshment comes through this original plan of God that we should WORK in order to thrive in life. Psalm 90:17 says, ‘May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the WORK OF OUR HANDS’. Deuteronomy 28:12 reiterates the same by saying that the Lord who sends rain on our land i.e. to make it tillable, also blesses the work of our hands. Ecclesiastes 10:10 encourages us to work smarter than harder by sharpening our tools and our skills for work.

Adam’s job description in the garden of Eden was to DRESS IT or to TEND IT as well as to KEEP IT. To dress it involved giving the garden DECORATIVE DETAIL. To keep it means that he had to guard it or preserve it. These two duties require work which includes irrigation, cultivation and pruning of both trees that were good for food and those that were good to see. Could it be that every modern Adam has a responsibility to apply DECORATIVE DETAIL to his wife and family (DRESS) and to also be a hedge of protection to his wife and family (KEEP)? Could it be that breakdown of marriages and families is due to the failure to dress and to keep? The Eden model of refreshment requires everyone to WORK.

May I restate again that there is a symbiotic relationship between WORK and REST. Only those who have worked deserve a break to rest. The buzz word is BALANCE between time to work and time to rest. This principle of SABBATH was demonstrated by God in the creation story and was later cast on stone as law. Leviticus 25:1 teaches us that even the land itself needed rest hence at some point it was left to lie fallow for one year to restore/refresh its fertility. The annual leave or any off days you take to be away from work is necessary for your rejuvenation. Sabbatical leave is good for you.

One of the amazing contexts of rest is the MILITARY CONTEXT. During the settlement period in the promised land, the Israelites fought many battles to evict the occupants until they possessed all the land the Lord had sworn to their ancestors and settled there. The writer of the book of Joshua caps it by saying that the Lord gave them REST ON EVERY SIDE. This is also true of King Solomon who enjoyed REST ON EVERY SIDE due to the successful battles King David his father had fought. During this period of rest from wars, King Solomon embarked on building the temple for the Lord. Similarly as believers we are in a war against principalities and powers in the air. When one has fought the beasts of Ephesus, a time will come when the Lord gives you rest on every side. Check out the meaning of rest on every side:

# Rest means suspension or stopping of work

# Rest is about serenity, safety, security and supply

# Rest means to settle down and remain

# Rest means to be free from trouble or enemy invasion

# Rest means freedom from suffering, sickness and misfortune

# Rest means to be free from interference

# Rest means to be free from pain, sorrow and toil

# Rest means to be free from threats and conflicts

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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THE SEVEN JABS TO TRIGGER YOUR SEASON OF REFRESHMENT PART 3 (Genesis 2:10-14, Psalm 133)

Life is composed of intertwined relationships and connections. Human beings find fulfilment and support in these integrative connections. It is foolhardy to think that one can operate as a lone ranger in society. African philosophy has this saying, ‘I am because we are’ meaning that the real me is defined by how I am part of the community. The third jab being a super jab of connection comes to enhance our need for interdependence as Christians and as members of the community around us. The Psalmist highlights that some refreshments we corporately get from God are consequential to how we relate i.e. No Corporate Connection, No Refreshment. He says, ‘Behold how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). This is a call to practise the Philadelphia kind of brotherly love/connection. This lifestyle is commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ when he says, ‘A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another’ (John 31:34-35). The Psalmist goes on to describe the kind of refreshment God bestows on us when we simply live relationally in fellowship with nothing broken and nothing missing. He calls it the COMMANDED BLESSING which flows from top to bottom like the ointment of Aaron or the dew of Hermon. May the good Lord vaccinate us with the super jab of connection as people of God. May the dew of Hermon and the ointment of Aaron saturate us with supernatural refreshment. May God command blessings towards us as he commanded the East Wind to drive quails into the Israelite camp in the Wilderness. May the our move from full-flow to overflow bring with it the Peter type of net-breaking and boat-sinking blessings.

On the other hand, the book of Genesis introduces us to the original plan of God when he placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. This was the best model in which humans were connected to nature and environment hence they had a lifestyle of continuous refreshment on this earthly paradise. The reason why life is so exhausting today is because there is a DISCONNECTION between us and nature and between us and God. One of the key features of this setting was that God would visit Adam and Eve for connection/fellowship in the cool of the day. Could I just say that its never too late to create your COOL OF THE DAY retreat time with God. It may be quiet time or noise time whatever the case may be, but let me assure you that you shall be refreshed. Even our Lord Jesus Christ had the habit of withdrawing from the multitude into solitude in order to have spiritual refreshment with the Father.

The second feature in the garden was the existence of a river which watered the garden. The amazing aspect of this river was that it had four other rivers which are called headwaters or what in modern times are called tributaries or feeder rivers which poured its waters into the main river. Could it be that in life we need other people who serve as feeders into our lives. May God connect you to people who add value into your i.e. people who refresh your life by the input they contribute. May the good Lord give you tributaries of projects and business ventures which pour into your earnings so that you move from earning money to making money. With four rivers pouring into your life, I guarantee you a life of overflow. But please take note that any overflow God directs to your life is not for you but that you may become a conduit of God’s blessings to others.

Let me indulge you with typological discourse which emanates from these four rivers/headwaters. The first river is called PISHON which means INCREASE. The River Pishon type of blessing is there to move you in the FULL-FLOW GEAR. May you move from trickles of blessings to FULL-FLOW. The second river is called GIHON which means BURSTING FORTH or GUSHING. The River Gihon type of blessing moves you from FULL-FLOW to OVERFLOW. With overflow, you have disposable income to bless and empower others and by so doing you become a SIGNIFICANT member of your family and community. You shall move from being a statistic to significance. The third river is called TIGRIS which means RAPID. Its like things are going to flow with SPEED. With the TEGRIS ANOINTING or what another school of thought calls speed of the Spirit, the first shall be last and the last first. May God give you the grace to CATCH UP and OVERTAKE like Prophet Elijah who overtook King Ahab’s chariots (1Kings 18:46). May whatever you put your hands to do get RAPID RESULTS. The fourth and last river is called EUPHRATES which means FRUITFUL or SWEET. May the good Lord cause you to spread SWEETNESS and not BITTERNESS. May you spread FRUITFULNESS and not BARRENNESS. May other people pick some sweet fruit from you.

In the next article we want to discover the role of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden i.e. TO WORK IT. I hope that I won’t lose some brethren who are obsessed with the CLAIM IT AND HAVE IT GOSPEL as I give THE SUPER JAB OF WORK.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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