Living the book of James: week two of a simple study

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Busy weekend, friends? I’m right there with you.

Remember last week, when I mentioned I first did this study years ago with my Jr. High Sunday school class? Well, one of those junior highers moved in with us this weekend. Yup, he traveled from the precious place we once called home- a state away, and joined us to live life together. However, he is no longer a junior higher, he is now a man.

You just never know what tomorrow brings.

Grab a few minutes this afternoon and let’s dig in, simply.

May you be challenged and loved as you walk the scriptures this week.

I’m right there with you.

 


living the book of James
Week 2
End of Ch 1

Written by James, brother of Jesus.

We ended last week with James 1:21-25 and are Starting this week with James 1:26-27

Monday: read James 1:26-27 (thru to vs. 27)

Tuesday: read James 1:26-27 again.

Vs 26 says… if anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Question:

Do we consider ourselves to be religious? Now days we use that term like it is bad. For example, we might say “Well, they are just religious.” because they like a certain type of praise music in the church or maybe they like a “type of church” better than the other. That is what we have made religion to mean… what it actually means is our OUTWARD acts of being a Christian.

Someone should be able to look at us and say “wow, that person is so different” NOT because we are rude toward non-Christians or because we go around judging other peoples sin, but because we are so incredibly nice to people, forgiving, happy, and carefree of life’s worries. {aka living by the fruit oh.so.hard}

Gandhi says it best. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Oh, friends. What does our Christ look like?

Continuing in vs. 26: How about our tongue? Do we keep a tight rein on it?

Tomorrow: Lets focus on displaying our OUTWARD acts of being a Christian. Lets watch our tongue, think before we speak, (remember last week… quick to listen and slow to speak). Vs. 26  doesn’t just mean bad language; this means all talk. Mommas, talking bad about one friend to another friend is wrong, it is a sin. It is a sin that is so VERY EASY to fix! We have to just train our mouths to not speak mean things.

When we choose to love God more than we love talking bad about people it makes us a more beautiful person.

Remember who we are. we are a wife, a mother, a friend, a mother in law, perhaps even a grandmother. Let’s work together hard now on using kind words to others and about others; trust me, it pays off. Are you sick of having friends who back stab you? Then quit being a backstabber. We only attract the type of friends we ourselves are– or the type of friends who want to become someone like who we are–

Not because we are so good, oh we are not. But because the grace and goodness of that sweet Jesus. That crazy Jesus love.

Wednesday: Write it down! Feel like talking about someone? Mad at someone, been hurt? Start a journal. Lets write our feelings down. When we write out our thoughts, without even knowing it, we are giving all our worries and cares to God–he will take care of us. Then, it is so amazing to look back and see his goodness in each step.

Thursday: read James 1: 26-27 again

  1. 27: the religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: look after orphans and widows in their troubled times and keep yourselves from being polluted by the world.

Is our religion one that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless?  James gives us the exact definition of a religion which God accepts as pure and faultless.

do.we.know.an.orphan?

how.about.a.widow?

not do we know of one, do we know even one?

what are our hands, our feet, our words, our lives too busy doing?

Oh friends, mine is busy doing the laundry, are you there with me? There are always things to be done, but which are eternal?

Friday night: read James 1:26-27 again

Question:

Do we find ourselves taking better care of us rather than others?

How are we doing with keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world?

The world says, “Oh, you deserve a break.” “Take a rest.” “This is too much for you.” 

Jesus says,  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” no matter the context, it still says the same. He is our strength.

This weekend, lets focus on taking better care of others rather than ourselves.  I think we will find, it is not just pleasing to God but it also makes us feel much better, as a person.

Even if we feel the person we are serving does not deserve it remember, we sure didn’t deserve what Christ did for us but he did it anyway. AND remember we are doing it because we love God. I can’t tell you how often I have to say that to myself… “This is because I love you God, because I know this person doesn’t appreciate what I am doing, but you do.”

He sees you.

Our mission? To become a servant of all.

Becoming with you,

Kati

join me in living the book of james? well, trying to.

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I have recently returned to James; easy for me [reading James, not living James] Reading James is like slipping on old comfy shoes on a rainy day, I love to be there. Now, living James? That’s always a new journey in itself.

A few years back, I did a study through the book of James with the Jr. Highers at church with devotions lined out for each day. I’m posting those here, journey with me?

The first day is simple, read those words, examine your heart, pray to that great big God of ours. Tomorrow, read it again and ask yourself the questions.

I’ll be right there with you.

living the book of James—>> not just studying it.

The book of James, Written by James, brother of Jesus; one of the many brothers of Jesus.

Monday: Just read James 1:19-25 (thru to the end of 25)

Tuesday: Read James 1:19-25 AGAIN then go back and read James 1:19-20 (thru to the end of 20)

Question:

Vs19: how do you feel you do with this verse? Are you quick to listen? Slow to speak? How about slow to become angry?

It says in verse 20 “mans anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

That doesn’t mean that we have to not get angry just because God “desires” it from us. It doesn’t even say that we have to do it to go to heaven. We are not God’s little puppets, we have a choice. God desires us to have the best life possible. When are we going to wake up and realize that HIS instructions are A BETTER WAY OF LIFE not just his way of controlling us? I would much rather live a life full of joy instead of bitterness. A life full of kindness instead of hate. Why waste so much time on being so mad at people and being quick to say mean things? It is a choice that we make; nobody MAKES us angry… we choose it.

Today: meditate on trying to be QUICK to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry In every situation! Friends, parents, teachers, siblings, people you don’t know that make you mad.  Think back to this day last year… I am sure you were mad about something. What was it? Hmmm, must not have been that important. Rest assured I will be challenged right there with you today, we are on this journey together.

Wednesday: Read James 1:21-24 (thru to the end of 24)

Thursday: Read James 1:19-25 AGAIN then go back and read James 1:21-24

Question:
Vs21:  Do you have Gods word [the bible] planted in you?

I love verse 22… it is like God knew how we were going to answer that question (imagine that). He says “Do not just listen to the word and deceive yourselves, [trick yourselves into believing that you obey it] DO WHAT IT SAYS.” He continues in verse 23 “ Anyone who listens to the word [the bible] but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

Do we remember what we look like when we look away from the mirror? Do we remember what you learn when we read God’s word?

He is saying, those who just sit and listen or sit and read but don’t act upon what they have learned are deceiving themselves. There is a big difference between TRYING to honor God’s word by planting it inside our hearts and just showing up to church each week and listening because we think that is our “Christian obligation”.

Sometimes God tells me: Kati, you just need to put the bible study down and live what you’ve learned.

I once thought it was real hard to learn scripture and find time to study it. But over time I have realized it is just as easy as keeping the scores of the last football or basketball game, remembering the latest celebrity gossip, a great movie, or the last conversation you had with a friend.

We will retain in our brain, anything we value. Do we value God’s teaching? (deep breath, i am right there with you, friends)

Friday: Read James 1:21-25 (read thru 25)

Vs 25: BUT the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard but doing it- he will be blessed in what he does.

Isn’t that just amazing? PERFECT LAW THAT GIVES FREEDOM… WHAT? That’s right! Freedom!! When we accept Jesus we are set free, our chains are gone. It is not a life full of rules but a life full of blessing.

Do you feel like you are blessed in what you do?  When we choose to trust and have faith in God believing that He has our best interest in mind our life will be so much better!

This weekend, focus on finding joy. Don’t focus on the negative. This path that you have chosen in Christ will be the only thing that will ever bring you everlasting joy. Everyone, everything, in this life will let you down at some point in time. Stay focused on him.

James Ch 2 — next Monday?

Much love this Monday and always,

Kati

Many of you have been asking for updates on our new adventure! (click here for info)

Thank you for inquiring. God is doing wonderful, amazing, and CRAZY things every.single.day Feel free to stay up to date with all of the good news by clicking and subscribing here: Café of Life, Chelsea Facebook page. Our first, official day is Tomorrow, October 14th!!


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Forget what everyone says: love is hard.

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It’s our family motto.

do hard things.

But just because it’s your “motto” it doesn’t always make it easy.

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Monday we’ll say goodbye to this home and although it’s for all sorts of great reasons– I didn’t realize it would be so hard.

Because I’ve wiped lots of tears from tired eyes in this home. I’ve sat with countless mommas for tea. We’ve celebrated countless birthdays and made up countless excuses to throw parties. We’ve hosted countless guests in this little home of ours. We’ve harvested lots of love from our garden and taken lots of walks through those trees. We’ve loved those living around us, countless times. Our children have grown up with the littles around us. We’ve had times of plenty and times of need. We’ve had spiritual bliss, and walked hard roads of wandering in this home. We became a family of eight in this home. We’ve loved big, been loud, and it’s all been within these walls– never knowing it was anything special, it was just life.

And soon– this life will be only a memory.

To the town we prayed we’d never return to – God has brought us. To the town we prayed we’d never return to- God has helped us come to love, call home, and care deeply for.

As we move with purpose to love the community in a bigger way. Gathering with others to open a piece of this towns history for all to see, love, and use all while trying to figure out: when do you just, live. To live our life so openly– is frightening if I give it much thought.

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My head keeps saying, “It’s no big deal, Kati.” with it’s upbeat tune of Bob Marley singing in my ear; every little thing is gonna be alright”. Yet my heart is fighting back the desire to stay in the comfort of all I know and love. Right here on our little hill. With chickens, tall grass, and doors we never lock.

Doing hard things is hard.

I remember a time in my life, before Jesus wrecked me. A time when success what all that mattered. A time when I couldn’t even say the words, “I’m sorrybecause my heart was too prideful.  Then, simply saying, I’m sorry, was hard. Over time, there have been lots of hard things. Times when we could have said, no. There are times when we’ve chosen not to fight and that was the hard choice. There have been times when we’ve had to say goodbye. That was hard.

The truth is: we all have different things we’re facing. Different hard choices. Jesus is such a radical example of choosing the hard way. He forgave. We washed the feet of the man who would betray him only hours later. Jesus showed us what really matters in life. People. Loving people. Regardless of who they are– what they’ve done. He knew, that love would be revolutionary. That love would speak over religion. That love would speak over the pharisees of this world. That love was the universal language.

Love is hard. Real love. Like, lay down your life love. Love can look like a bad day.

At a time in my life, saying sorry was revolutionary. Now I couldn’t imagine being a person like that. One day, I hope to say, “I had a house once, that was hard to give up. Now I can’t imagine being a person like that.”

May we be a people always doing hard things.  May we fight the good fight with kindness, dignity, and respect. May we say goodbye when it’s hard and hello when we just want to turn and run. From speaking love to moving away- there are many seasons of hard.

May we be a people of big love carried by small steps. All over our neighborhoods, towns, communities, and ultimately- the world. Loving in all sorts of ways allowing it to get easier and easier as we start to look a bit more like Jesus.

Like disciples.

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

-Jesus

Loves always,
Kati


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Follow what we’re doing with our new house here: Café of Life, Chelsea: a place for community

scripture quoted from, John 13:35 NLT


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Saturday STOP Challenge: STOP and consider adoption- Because children matter.

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James 1:27

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

“I was an orphan.

I thought nobody cared.

Nobody told me they loved me.

I wondered if anyone would ever call me, son. daughter. beloved.

And then, someone loved.

And now, I’m home.”

More on adoption:
Jesus Can Love Through A Crazy Person Like Me? An Adoption Story. 

Do Things That Make The White Guy at Walmart Say, “Da** Girl, how many baby daddies have you had?” An Adoption Story.

Who we adopted our two kiddos from: FORthe1 <<<—— click the link to be re-directed.

Truly Adopted By The King of Kings,

Kati

Joel Osteen Is a Poser. This is okay to say if you’re a brother or sister in Christ, right?

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Every day I am overwhelmed by the vastness of people needed to share the goodness of a loving Jesus. While pondering this thought the other day, this story from a few years back came to mind. May we be encouraged to leave the “who is called and who is not called” to the greatness of God and worry solely on who God has called us to be. Individually.


{notice the dialog of this post. It is a conversation I had with another believer a few years back.  The negative views in this post about Joel Osteen are not mine. I am only passing along what was said in a conversation. }


A friend of mine wrote a quick post on Facebook a few weeks back:

she wrote: “I thought it was cool to see Joel Osteen on The Voice!”

A friend of hers replied to her post: (We will call the friend, The Other Gentleman.)

The Other Gentleman: “Joel Osteen is a poser. Stating Mormons are Christians is heresy. He has said that. He is a feel good phony that paints a false picture of Christianity. He shys away from calling anything a sin. He is far from bold. He is Lukewarm at best. He is also a health and wealth guy who hardly ever quotes scripture. He is a great example of how TV evangelism hurts more than it helps the cause.”


To which I took part in a bit of a debate. ICK! I usually do not do that. It must have been a moment of weakness– or did it hit me on a personal level? Perhaps both.

Can you imagine my heart? It’s little self was about to flutter off into the air!

Here is my reply: (we will call myself, myself. )

Myself: “Joel doesn’t quote scripture often, I will agree. However, he is also one of the only pastors who does not take a salary.”

“Mark 9: 39-41  “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,  for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.


People are loving Jesus and feeling hope– Joel isn’t their holy spirit, God is big and can convict and teach their hearts if they are open to him through this teaching. People are closer to the heart of the King sitting in a health and wealth church than no church. And I for one am highly against health and wealth, but it’s not about us and our opinions, is it? It’s about not being a Pharisee and thinking our way– our thinking–our convictions– are the only way.”

Other Gentleman: “He doesn’t take a salary because he has made millions on book sales. It’s still using God to get rich. The love of money is the root of all evil. Would Jesus be a millionaire? Would he sell his ideas? No he offered free salvation. Also in regards to hope, hope and feel good messages have their place. However one can’t truly know the grace of God or experience true spiritual freedom without first coming to terms with what they were saved from. I wonder how many people at his church never are convicted of sin because sin is a bad word to Joel. Finally, I know more about the bible than Joel. He has no formal training. How can you trust ignorance with you salvation?”

Myself: Well, we sell His ideas, we wear and sell His crosses on t-shirts and and necklaces. christian book stores gross millions per year. Most people spend more time shopping for Jesus “stuff” and looking up feel good scriptures per year than talking to people about the gift of grace.

“Be careful friend, who are you to say you are better than someone? More equipped? We serve the same God and he is who qualifies us. What would you have done to Paul? Or better yet, the adulteress woman go Jesus told to go and do the same? What about the man with all the demons who went into the city, telling everyone what Jesus had done? Was he qualified? Was his story, “God forgives sins” or “GOD is REAL and can do anything!”
How can you downgrade Joel Osteen’s Gathering if you say yourself, “I do not know how many people in his church are ever convicted” you don’t know so your only choice is to pray for them. Do you doubt what our big God can do? He can use an ass to speak, the murderer David to rule and share his own heart, can’t he use Joel? Yes he is rich, and I also subscribe to the “would Jesus be a millionaire” rant– however, who will reach the rich if we are all poor? Who will help the poor if we are all poor? What does he do with his money? Do you have a garage? Do you park your car in it? Someone in Africa or South America would say “How can YOU be a Christian, you have a house for your car and we don’t even have a home.”A Christian there would say to you: “The scriptures say, Even the son of man had no place to lay his head how do you have not only a home for yourself but also your car?” Who determines the point of being rich? Above all, judging is a huge sin, talking bad about others is a sin. If we have a problem with someone, especially a brother… We are told to go to them and try to work it out, then take a friend, then go before the church. Not call them terrible names and say they are not doing the work of God– what right do we have? I Wonder what Joel is doing right now? Do you think he is spending time on Facebook or do you think he is perhaps talking with others about Jesus? Finally, How can we trust someone of ignorance with our salvation, you ask? We don’t. We trust in the giver of salvation and that is what he teaches- trust in God. That big good God who uses broken, poser people like you and I to share his incredible, crazy, unbelievable without faith,  story.”


Other Gentleman: “Ok, in regards to Paul, he never held back his views. Paul said women shouldn’t be allowed to speak in church. He also destroyed the charismatic movement and Pentecostal movements with his rules for speaking in tongues. Also Paul knew the Bible. He was a Pharisee before conversion. Devout. I never said I was a better person than anyone. I just said I am far more biblically versed than Joel. I also never said people can’t be forgiven. However, one must confront their sins to be saved. Without that you can never be a new creation. Read the book of James. Or study the Pauline Epistles. He confronts sin. We have free will. God can’t convict someone unless they are open to the conviction. When someone is telling you God is going to make u rich and wealthy you aren’t open to conviction. If u don’t trust your pastor then y go to church? Kind of a waste of time. Also I am.pretty sure all modern denominations would.be classified as false teachers by bible. Also I am not a pastor. I am not held to the same standard. Even James acknowledges that. God doesn’t pick and choose who to save. To say that praying will make God soften a heart is similar to the Catholic church praying people into heaven. God gives us free will. You cant pick and choose what to accept in the Bible. If one part is a lie it is all destroyed. The problem today is denominations. They mold God into their image of him.”


{by then, it was time to stop.}

Myself: “When you open the doors of your church be sure to invite me. The book of James, one of my favorites glad we share that love. Grace and peace to you!”

Other Gentleman: “Also in regards to being rich. Hardly any church takes care of the needy. It is more.important to pay pastors full time salaries for three hours of work and have big sound systems. Because that’s exactly what Jesus would do. I dare you to find one church who gives 80% of their tithes to the poor. That is the standard for a good charity. I give large amounts to charity every month. I doubt you know anyone who gives a higher portion than I do to charity. If the church gave as I give we would wipe out poverty overnight. Also I don’t give expecting riches, like the Osteens, charismatics and Pentecostals teach. Helping poor people isn’t like buying a heavenly lotto ticket.”

Myself: “Be careful, friend of what you boast about.

  
Matthew 6:2-4  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


It is none of our business what another gives. I was simply stating, you do not know what he does with his riches. As far as debate on Facebook, I am done with that. Being right is not what it’s about and we could go on and on all day long, running in circles wasting time. I would gladly have a cup of coffee with you– don’t know where you are in the world, but if you’re close I’d love a chat, face to face to sharpen one another. Outside of that, I’m finished. hmmm, I’d probably even Skype. ; ) May you love people like crazy– even the ones who you think are posers, liars, and false witnesses… oooohh Christ’s bride, scary thing to talk about. Good day!”

Other Gentleman: I didn’t announce it until you challenged my generosity. Also, I don’t want a reward. Heaven is my reward. If that isn’t enough to motivate the church then nothing will. Also, it is my business how those who claim to be called of God tarnish his name. The same reason Jesus attacked the money changers.

Are you tired yet? Man, I am just after reading it all again. I didn’t do much fixing of punctuation, that is taken right off our Facebook conversation.

If I could sit with this man, I would say to him a many great things. =) The biggest one would be, who are we to talk bad about Joel? Did you know, my father. The same father who left when I was a young girl, didn’t see him again, until I was married with two children– The same man who was an alcoholic and abusive– talks about Jesus now, has a relationship with Jesus because of Joel’s ministry. I would have told this man about how my dad meets with a bunch of his friends, many of them old drinking buddies, in his garage each Sunday morning for “church.” They sit around talking about God and how big and good He is all because Joel is sharing love through the TV. They sit and watch Joel’s message right there in their garage. They are getting it. All because Joel shared it differently. Differently than all the other preachers he had come in contact with. I would have laughed with this man as I told him one of my dads friends name is, “goob” I’m pretty sure, that’s what they call him, anyway. =)   { I’m so proud of you, Dad! }

 

This is the truth, friends–

relationship is personal.
The story of God– is relational.
The love of Jesus– is personal.
Showing that love– is personal.

To have a conversation like this– it has to be personal.

Paul reminds us:“If I speak in human or angelic tongues,but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

It isn’t about Joel, your pastor, myself, or you. It’s about the cross.

May we love everyone, all the time, no matter what. May we take the problems we have with others to them and love them with our correction, all the while being humbled by the errors they find in us. May we speak the truth in love always. Remembering, God does not need us to defend Him–


We are not at war with other people, especially Christians, defending our faith.

Encouragement in the form of relationship, talking, spurring one another on, yes! Downgrading, tearing apart, no.

It’s all about the love, baby! The love. God is so good.

Feeling ornery today! ;) I think I’ll open this one up for comments. What are your thoughts on this, friends? How do you handle things like this– do you engage in cyber debate, relational debate, or no debate at all? Do you feel it best to not touch the subject? Or perhaps offer advice lovingly?

Pondering this still,

Kati

*For the record, I personally think Jesus would look a lot more dirty and be bent low with the broken way more than Joel. However, at that point– I must go back to square one. Complexed by the truth that it takes all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people and thankful that it isn’t my job to decide who should do what.


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Saturday STOP challenge: Ladies. Stop comparing, be you!

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Be you! Be brave!

May we be more concerned in making those around us feel special than trying to make ourselves perfect. Maybe then, we will all feel wonderful about how God made us and how God is shaping us into HIS likeness rather than the likeness of this crooked, skewed world.

While you’re all alone by yourself do you, like you? This video speaks to my inner “girl”.

Enjoy.

God likes you. Wait a minute. He loves you. Beautiful scars, curly hair, paper thin hair, big bones, crazy eyebrows… and everything in between. He delights in YOU!

Loves,
Kati


 

Some of you have asked how to receive posts in your email: it’s simple. On the lower right hand side of the screen there should be a “follow” button. Click and enter your email. It’s totally safe.

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