Sermon from our Red Deer Church – Daring Faith Pt 1 – Pastor Nick Andrushko
Today I’m starting, or we’re starting a series on Daring Faith, so this is kind of an introductory sermon for our series. And so my message is entitled today “Having Faith That Works.” We begin first of all 1 Corinthians 13:13 that says, “And now abides faith, hope, love, these three. But the greatest of these is love.” Let’s pray. Father we thank you for your word again and I really pray that Father you will help us to understand what’s being communicated this morning. Give me clarity of mind, and Lord I pray that the anointing of the Spirit of God is upon me Lord God so this word will go forth and challenge each one of us, Lord God that we can rise to a different level than where we are at. And we thank you for that, and we give you praise. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, and so we thank you for your word today in Jesus name, amen.
So often we talk about love and there’s a lot of messages on love, love, love, love. And sometimes I get tired of that. But love is an important ingredient of course. But I want you to know that faith is a very large component of our Christian life; faith. Romans 1:17 says, “As it is written, the just shall live by faith.” The just shall live by faith. Then we find in Hebrews 11:6, and it says, “But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” We’re going to expand on that a little bit more later on.
But the thing that I want to get across also is this – what faith is not. Faith is not desire. Even though the scripture says “What things soever you desire when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them.” So desire and faith are two separate things; they’re not the same. Number two, faith does not pretend that something is true when it is not. Like for instance, margarine is still margarine; and butter is still butter. You cannot imagine that butter is margarine or the other way around. Faith is not trying to psych yourself up to the point where something becomes true when it is not. Male is still male, female is still female. Number three, faith is not feeling. If I had to depend on feeling, I tell you what, I would hardly ever believe. Because our feelings change every day, not just every day but every every half hour or even less. Faith is not bargaining with God even though some of you and some of us have been doing that. But that’s not what faith is, it’s not bargaining with God.
So what is faith then? Faith, the Bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is assurance for things we hope for. You have to have hope in order for faith to attach itself too, because if you don’t have hope faith will not operate, so you need hope. If you are hoping for healing or for restoration, that is a start; you need to attach faith to it. 1 John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” So faith us an assurance, it gives us confidence in our God, it’s seen from God’s perspective. It’s basically saying what God says is true; what God says is true. It’s seeing from God’s point of view.
For instance, salvation. The Bible says this, “Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Now for the natural man that doesn’t make sense, but God says this in his word and we have to see it from his point of view, that in order for us to ever inherit heaven we need to be born again, we got to get saved. I don’t care what the media might say, I don’t care what anybody else says, I don’t care whether they have these shows that indicate everybody is going to heaven, which is a lie; it is an absolute lie. The Bible says that man, in order for a man to go to heaven he needs to be born again. But there’s another part to this, and that is this – that we need to pray for eyes to be opened. Because I’ll tell you what, the world is blinded by the god of this world. The man outside of God is blind, and even as believers we can be blind too. Ephesians 1:18 says, “And Paul is praying for the Ephesian believers and he’s saying this, the eyes of your understanding be enlightened that you may know what is the hope of his calling and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance to the Saints.”
To you as an example from the Scripture, we find this story, and I’m not going to go through the whole thing, but just this – in 2 Kings chapter 6 we have some Syrian raiders that came to fetch Elisha who was a prophet at the time and he was revealing secrets, the plans of the enemy to the Israeli king. And they were wondering how in the world does this does the Israeli King know all these plans of this Syrians. And so of course the information came out, it’s Elisha, it’s that prophet, so they come to get him. And when they come they surround the house; and you know the story. And here is the servant, he is scared, he’s frightened because that place where they’re abiding is surrounded by the enemy. And he says to Elisha, “What are we going to do?” And Elisha prays, he says, “God open his eyes that he might see there’s more for us than against us.” And so his eyes are opened and he sees this huge angelic army that surrounded the enemy. To be able to see into the spiritual realm, to see from God’s point of view is so important for us.
Faith by the way is God’s idea. Mark 11:22 says, “And Jesus answering said unto them ‘have faith in God.'” Some translators translate that passage or that phrase “have faith from God” or “have the faith of God.” So the faith we’re talking about today is not natural faith, everybody’s got natural faith; everybody’s got natural faith. But it’s based for the physical realm. For instance, you believe that when you sit on that pew that it won’t give out. You believe these are natural faith that’s based on physical realm. For instance, when you go to your car you believe it’s going to start; you hope. But this is natural faith. But when we’re talking about this faith, it is God-given faith that begins when you hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, when he gives you that faith, and that’s a measure of faith for you to do something with. And then when you get saved, this faith needs to be developed. But all praise God. When this faith is working, when you’re walking in that faith, when you activate that faith, something is going to happen. Something is going to happen.
Number one, faith shrinks my problems. We’re having fun today, right? Amen, glory to God, we’re having faith in church. Someone had said we should have so much fun in church that the outside world looks at us and say, “What’s going on in that place? They’re having so much fun.” Hallelujah, praise God. Yes, hallelujah, let’s have fun. Faith shrinks my problems. When I really believe and have this faith working in my life I see God as a big God. I don’t see him just some small, little idol sitting in a corner; he’s a big God. And so when he’s a big God my problems get smaller because I’m looking to him. I need to actually get to the point where my faith says, “Lord, you are a big God, and you can handle this problem better than I can. And so what I’m going to do, I’m going to give it to you and I’m going to trust that you’re going to look after me.” That’s right, it needs to come to that point. It needs to come to that point where I’m confident in my God, he’s going to look after me. That’s what faith is all about.
But I want you to know also that this faith, even though God has given to us, needs to be grounded in the Word of God; it needs the Word. In Genesis 18:14 it says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Luke 1:37. A person’s level of faith might… it depends where it’s at, because you might say, “Yeah, maybe.” Come on, let’s be honest. Oh yeah, there’s a lot of us, we just are not real, we’re not honest enough. Because it seems like and I’ve heard messages that seem to indicate we have faith, don’t worry about it, we’ve got faith. No, I’m sorry to differ. We have faith, a level of faith. There’s a level of faith but there’s more; and I’m going to touch on it a little bit later on. Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Mark 9:23 says, “Jesus said unto him, if you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” We need to get those verses integrated into our minds, into our spirits. We need to be grounded in the Word of God. Faith shrinks my problems.
Number two, faith opens the door for a miracle in your life. You’re looking for a miracle? Faith opens the door for a miracle in your life. Mark 11:22 – 24 says this, “And Jesus answering said unto them, have faith in God or have the faith of God. For verily I say unto you that whosoever shall say unto this mountain ‘be removed and be cast into the sea’ and shall not doubt in his heart but shall believe that those things which he said shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he said. Therefore I say unto you what things you desire, when you pray believe that you will receive them and you shall have them.” This is talking about mountain-moving faith, this is not just some ordinary stuff. I know that God has created the laws of nature, that everything is in place. But I want you to do something else, that the laws of faith are greater than the laws of nature. Your faith is in God and God is the one who created everything. And so when you trust him God mountains can move; they can move.
Let me give you an example. You know the story about the walls of Jericho, everybody knows about these walls. Well I’ll tell you what, God led the nation of Israel to this land that he had promised, to the land which flows with milk and honey. But the first city they had to deal with is Jericho. And it’s interesting, God gives them directions, what they had to do, they had to walk around the city each day once. And then on the seventh day they had to go around it seven times. And then they had to shout, the trumpets would blow, and guess what? When that happens, the walls came down. In fact, history indicates that the ground opened up and they fell into the ground. And those walls were just one foot thick, they were thick enough where people could live in them. It was amazing. Not an explosive was used, no cannons, no big explosive items were used to try to bring down the walls; faith did, faith in their God. And when they followed instructions, directions, miracle happened.
Do you need a miracle? If you need a miracle, believe in the God of miracles and God will give you a miracle. But I want you to know something else, that your mouth plays an important part in this; it does. Because if you say things like this, “20 years ago this is the way it was and it won’t change.” We’ve prayed and nothing seems to happen, and we go on and on, we just say negative things all the time, “Oh yeah, it happens for that guy, but it doesn’t happen for me.” And we go on with that kind of speech. Guess what? Don’t expect anything else either, it isn’t going to happen. But when you line up with what God says in his word, because this is God’s Word, this is the Bible that tells me that God is a God of miracles.
And you could see all kinds of miracles in the Old Testament and also in the New. Matthew 13:58 says, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” But God is still, as I said, in the business of miracles. What he wants us to do in Proverbs 3:5 and 6 it says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding.” Don’t allow the world to tell you what to believe and what not to believe. It’s not about your opinions, it’s not about your understanding; it’s about what God said. Folks, if we’re going to be followers of Jesus Christ we got to follow his word, not our plans, not our ideas. It’s OK to make plans, but when it comes to the final point, we’ve got to follow what he says, what the Spirit of God says, we’re to be led by him. We’ve talked about faith shrinks my problems, number two, we talked about faith opens the door for a miracle in your life; number three, faith moves God to act on your behalf.
God is looking for somebody who’s going to take him at his word; absolutely. God is looking for people who are going to believe. It’s not about grumbling and complaining and whining and just somehow if I just do it enough that God will listen to me, he will hear my complaints. And you know what? You can keep on doing it. I’ve been there, I know all about that story; I’ve done it many times. I would fight with God, and I thought maybe if I fought and I would persuade him. But it came to the point where I had to surrender and say, “God, I repent.” I look at it and it sounds funny, but it’s real. I’ve done it many times, and I find out that some of you have done the same thing that I’ve done. So it’s not about grumbling and complaining and whining, it isn’t going to work. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him. For he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
God is not a dispensing machine; he is not a dispensing machine. A lot of us would like to just go to the wall, or to go to this particular machine, push the button and get exactly what you need. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? You go to that particular machine and you just hit the button, put a dollar in, two dollars maybe, you hit the button and you get it, “Wow, I got the answer.” But God doesn’t operate that way, he’s not that way. Matthew 9:29 talks about a story of these blind men, and they came to Jesus. And the Bible says, “Then touch either eyes saying ‘according to your faith, be it unto you’.” It’s faith that moves God; it’s faith. Psalms 35:27 says, “Let them shout for joy and be glad that favor my righteous cause. Yay, let them say continually, let the Lord be magnified who has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” Do you know that God wants to give you things that you need? He wants to bless us, that’s his desire. He’s our Father and he wants to give us good things; he definitely does. But he wants us to believe for them, he wants us to trust him.
But I also want to add something else, God is also pleased when you’re honest. It’s like the man in Mark chapter 9 who had a son who was demon-possessed, and he came to Jesus and Jesus said something like this, “You just believe and it’s going to happen” basically. And the man said, “I believe, but help my unbelief.” And the miracle took place, because God wants us to be honest. God is pleased when you’re honest, when you admit and you say, “No, I’m struggling in the area of faith. I don’t have the kind of faith that God you’re asking for, I’m not in that place.” It’s OK to admit it and to say so, because God is going to minister to you accordingly. When I was going through a period of depression, especially the last one was very difficult, it was really difficult. To believe God for things, I was fighting. We talk about ‘fight the good fight of faith’, I fought for everything I was worth, claiming scripture verses and so forth. And then I listened to Joyce Myers and she was talking about faith, and she says something, when your faith is weak don’t shy away from that; admit it. Say, “God my faith is weak, I have a difficult time in trusting.” God’s grace is going to be released into you. Because God wants us to be honest, it’s time to be honest and admit it, it’s OK. God is not frightened, he’s not somehow, “Oh, no, that person again is admitting they’re weak.” No, it’s OK. For when I am weak, then am I strong, because my dependence is on God, not on myself, not in others; but in him.
Number four, faith turns God-given dreams into reality. Oh my goodness, there’s some of you that have had dreams that didn’t work out, things failed, things that you believe were going to work out, they did not work. And you came to the conclusion, “I might as well quit” and you’ve never tried again. I want to encourage you today to pray for dreams again, begin to dream again. Because if it’s God-given dream, guess what? If you trust him he’ll bring it into reality in your life. The problem a lot of times is because it takes a period of time, and so we think to ourselves, “God, you’re just taking too much time. I know how to speed up, oh yes I know how to speed it up because I know I’m a man of action, oh yes. I can bring it into reality and it won’t take me as long as you God.” Well the problem is when you bring it into reality or you think you did, a lot of times it falls flat on its face; it does. And you have examples in the Bible. God is a God who wants us to dream, and he gives us dreams.
Abraham dreamed of being the father of our great nation, but you know what? He short-circuited as well, because he waited too long. He thought he was waiting and waiting and waiting, and said, “God.” We have Ishmael. Moses dreamed of setting his own people free, God gave him a dream. But he complained and he almost short-circuited the whole thing. Joseph dreamed of saving the nation and his family, and if you read that story, you find out about Joseph, he had to wait two years longer, a total of 13 years altogether. But he was trying to push it into existence; it didn’t work. You got to trust God. Daniel, David, Paul, John, all these various apostles as well, they had to depend on God to bring it into reality. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think or dream according to the power that works in us.” God wants you to dream again, because as you trust him he’ll bring it into reality his own way. All you need to do is trust him.
Number five, faith provides me the power to hold on in tough times. Faith does not necessarily take me out of the trouble at hand. God never promised that he will take us out of trouble; but he’ll lead us through. All he wants you to do is trust him, he wants you to rely upon him, and he’ll give you that strength to go through it. Psalms 91:1, 2, I think Rich referred to it last week, “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” That secret place is prayer, is spending time with him. And the Bible says you shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. And then the Psalmist goes on to say, “I will say of the Lord he is my refuge and my fortress, my god, in him will I trust. When you are struggling with situations, there are difficult things in your life, run to him. He is your refuge, he is your strength, he is the one who is able to help you in those difficult situations. Faith will take you through the pain and storms of life and give you peace. In Psalm 91:15 it says, “He shall call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” God is for you, and he wants to help you.
Corrie ten Boom, a young woman sent to Nazi death camp, said that people who lasted in those camps like Auschwitz and Buchenwald, were those who had the deepest of faith. They trusted and relied on God. Just think of it, I’ve seen some documentaries and what they went through, it was horrible, it’s a horrible experience. But the people that trusted in God were the ones who seemed to last the longest. Why? Because God is greater than the problem. God is greater than the problem. People have prayed for me, people have prayed for me that I would be healed, it was all of you. Thank you so much for praying for me. But I’ve had this problem now for about 15 years, torn tendon. It started first of all with 5/16 Karen. And then last year I was at Perry’s place, and it’s all Perry’s fault, I was throwing the football around, and guess what? From 5/16 to 2 inches, it ripped, the pain was incredible. I didn’t tell you Perry, but maybe you saw me, my arm was hanging down. I prayed when I was only 5/16. This has been about 15 years, and there are people who said, “Just trust God, just trust God.” I’ve said to some people that the healing process is like micro, micro, micro, micro; it is very small. But you know what it’s done for me/ It’s caused me to trust God and go forward and not allow this thing to stop me in Jesus name.
If you’re depending on God, God will give you the strength, he will give you the strength to be able to keep on pressing forward. I refuse to let this thing stop me. Even this morning I was I was praising God and I had a little dance and so forth, but praise God, I will not allow myself to be defeated by the enemy in the midst of it all, because I’m a child of the King and he is my strength. He is my life, I’m going to keep trusting him; he is my God. That’s what he wants, faith in him. Rick Warren says in one of his articles he says, “Because faith gives me the power to hold on in tough times. It produces persistence, it gives you the ability to bounce back, to keep going.” Because, you know what? Every one of us goes through struggles and problems. He also said this, “Nobody goes through life with an unbroken chain of success.” Everybody has failures, flops, duds, mistakes, we all embarrass ourselves; nobody goes through life scot-free. We all have pains, we have problems, we all have pressures in life. But the biggest thing of all, that we need to trust God, look to him as the one who gives us power to be able to stay true to him during that situation that we experience. The Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8 – 9 he says, “We are trouble on every side, yet not distressed. We’re perplexed, but not in despair. Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down. but not destroyed.” Talk about Paul, the stuff that he went through, but his faith was in God and he pressed forward, and he continued to preach.
Number six, the last one. I know you’re saying, “Praise God, he’s just about done.” Faith unlocks and stands on the promises of God. Faith unlocks the promises of God, because faith looks to God and it looks to these promises, and it unlocks them. Look at 1 Kings 8:56, “Blessed be the Lord that has given rest unto his people Israel. According to all that he promised, there has not failed one word of all his good promise which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.” Faith says, “This is God. This is God. God said it.” Not anybody else; God said it. And I’m going to stand on his word because God said it. Faith also helps us to understand what God is saying in that promise, so I can actually stand on it. And so when it unlocks that truth I can then stand on it. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God in him are yay, and in him, amen, that have been given to us for us to take them and embrace them and stand on it.” In spite of what we face in life, God has given us promises.
Look at 2 Timothy 1:12. I read from 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and Paul said we have trouble on every side, yet not distressed. Look at this verse. He says, “I’m not ashamed.” He says “In spite of what I’ve gone through, in spite of the difficulties, in spite of the struggles that I’ve gone through, it doesn’t matter, I’m not ashamed. For I know whom I have believed.” And he says, “And I’m persuaded that he’s able to keep that which I’ve committed unto him against that day.” It doesn’t matter what the enemy does. I heard somebody talk about what happened in Edmonton, and there’s going to be other incidents believe you me. The spirit of Antichrist is working very hard, and there are things happening, and there’s more to come folks I’m sorry to say, but there’s more to come. But guess what? I’m going to be like the Apostle Paul. He says, “For I’m not ashamed, I am persuaded.” I’m going to keep on believing, I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing, I’m going to keep preaching the gospel. I’m going to keep preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 6:13 says, “Paul says again therefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.” We’re living in the evil day, but he’s saying put on the whole armor of God, and having done all to stand, stand on the promises of God.
Now, faith needs to be nourished. Our faith needs to be nourished; it needs something. You can’t take it for granted. We take faith for granted because we’re told we have faith. And sometimes people will say, “Well, you just didn’t have enough faith.” Now, I know you’ve heard it and I’ve heard it, but I want you to know something – if you can tell me you have enough faith, guess what? I’ll say you are not really sure where you’re at. None of us know how much we have, none of us have enough faith for a lot of things; it’s true. That’s why the scripture talks about that we have to nourish it, we’ve got to grow it, we got to grow faith; it’s not automatic. Number one, we need the Word; we need the Word. Romans 10:17 says… I know some people don’t like this verse, but I’m sorry. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” When you get into the word, when you take the word and you eat it, guess what? You’ll feed your faith; your faith needs feeding. Like you, you eat food every day; what do you feed? You feed your body. Well, faith needs to be fed as well, it needs the Word of God.
Number two, and these relationships develop through fellowship. Lyn Hammond in her book, The Master is Calling says this, “Real faith comes from knowing the person behind the principles, knowing him in a personal intimate way.” That means you need to spend time with him. Look at this verse in John 15:7, it says, “If you abide in me.” What does that mean? It means living in Christ. That’s a daily thing, it’s an everyday living in him every day of your life. You don’t separate God from your job, you don’t separate God from your relationship. It doesn’t matter what you do in life, it’s got to be all connected. You live in Christ, you live in Christ whatever you do. In politics, the same thing, you cannot separate God in politics. I’m sorry for those that are going to listen to this and say, “I don’t agree with this.” Sorry, because I’m a believer in Christ and it doesn’t matter what I do, I’m connected to politics as well. I’m a child of God wherever I am. The Bible says, “If you abide in me my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you.” It’s an intimate relationship.
Number three, reconnect with your covenant. You’re probably wondering, “What in the world is he talking about, covenant?” You made a covenant. You made a covenant with Jesus Christ the day when you asked Christ into your life. The day when you asked Jesus you entered into an agreement with the Lord Jesus Christ. With the king of glory you’ve entered into agreement with him, so you’re in a covenant relationship, and you need to renew that every day. Billy Graham says this, we need to go back and renew it every day. You need to renew it every day, say, “Lord, I thank you I’m saved. I’m a child of God. I’ve been born again.” You need to do that every day. And guess what when you do that? You’re going to draw from the wells of salvation – the Bible says it in Isaiah 12:3, you’re going to draw from the wells of salvation. And what is it going to do for you? It’s going to bring joy, it’s going to bring life into you. You need to go back, renew your covenant, God.
Number four, and the last thing, act on his word; do his word. James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” Be a doer of the word whether it feels good or not, do it anyway, do his word, walk in his word. Ask God to help you, ask for grace and he will help you. He wants you to grow, he wants you to bless you abundantly. But you got to make a decision – are you going to feed your faith so that your faith is strong in him? You can do it, it’s up to you and me, and so I challenge you. You want to have a different life, you want to have a life that’s more meaningful to you, guess what? You need to feed yourself with the Word of God, you need to connect with God, and you can have the kind of faith that the Bible talks about. Especially in this hour that we’re living in, your faith needs to get stronger and stronger. But it’s going to be tested as well, but it’s OK for it to be tested, because when you persist and you say, “No, I’m not giving up. I am not quitting. I don’t care what the devil does, I don’t care what he says, I don’t care what politics in Canada says. I don’t care whatever party it is, I’m going to keep going and trusting God because he is my God.” Amen, praise God. Let’s all stand.
Father I thank you for your word today. I thank you Lord God you’re calling us to build our faith in you. And I pray Lord God that we are encouraged and exhorted today to do exactly that, that we will not allow the things of the world to interfere to stop us, but Lord that we’re going to press through. We’re going to keep growing in you, we’re going to keep growing our faith by feeding it through your word, your relationship. And Lord God that we’re going to renew our covenant in Jesus name. And we’re going to be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Hallelujah. I praise you Lord God and I give you glory. God, you’re so awesome; you’re so awesome. Thank you for loving us so much. Thank you for Lord God giving us the opportunity to be able to experience these wonderful things that you have in store for us, the blessings of God, thank you Lord.
With every head bowed and every eye closed, I want you to be honest with yourself. I want you to be honest with yourself and with God. I’m going to ask you this question – how many of you in this place, be honest now, I’m not here trying to pretend because I know I struggle with things, I struggle with faith and I need it to grow as well, and there’s a fight within me. But I’m going to ask you this, how many of you in this place, no looking around please, how many of you in this place will say before God and also admitting to yourself, “I am struggling in the area of faith”? There’s a lot of us. And I know there are others that are just not brave enough to lift up your hands, or maybe you don’t understand. But you know what, it’s OK to admit it, it’s totally OK. Because God wants to help you grow. He loves you; he does. Jesus gave his life and he’s there for you all the time.
Father I just pray for those that lifted their hands. God, I just pray that you would inspire within their hearts to keep standing on the promises of your word, that in spite what they might feel, that in spite what their body might say, God, but they’ll stand on your promises. Lord I pray that you give them that persistence to follow through and not give up. God, we’re not people who give up. Oh, God yes, there are times we feel like quitting, we feel like giving up. But God we’re not going to, because you’re for us and not against us. Lord, you love us with an everlasting love. God your Word says there’s nothing that can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And so I pray today Father that God, God put this within us, that determination Lord God, that we’re going to grow, we’re going to develop, we’re going to become strong in you in Jesus name. And I thank you and I praise you for it, in Jesus name, amen and amen.
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