Posts Tagged With: listen

The Voice that Matters

Voices. They are everywhere.

It’s the voice of your 7-month-old daughter as she practices her consonants saying “Mamamamama” while she clamors for you attention on the kitchen floor during supper preparation.

It’s the voice of your Beloved spouse saying he will/won’t be home tonight and needs you to please do this or that before that point.

It’s the voice of a friend who regales you with tales of her life as you smile and listen intently.

It’s the voice inside us that finds our flaws and tells us that the jeans are too tight or that she has prettier hair or a better marriage.

It’s the voice of the TV or radio advertisement saying “You will be happy when you have THIS.”

It’s the voice of Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest that makes you WANT what they have.

It’s the voice of the Enemy whispering you failed. You aren’t good enough. You shouldn’t even bother to try.

These voices cover the gamut of the good, the challenging, the encouraging and the downright disheartening.

But we are forgetting the voice that truly matters.

The voice of God.

God is always speaking to us– but if you are anything like me, you might not always listen. God isn’t a bully and He isn’t going to yell over these other things to get our attention. (Not very often, anyways.)

God’s words to us might be sweet, encouraging, challenging, enlightening or convicting. But ALL of His words are rooted in love.

See, that’s the difference between the voices of the world and the Enemy as opposed to God. Those other voice are not always sincere or coming from pure motives. But God’s are.

While the voices of the world can seem pretty loud sometimes, they typically aren’t bad news in themselves. However, I struggle most with recognizing then combating the voice of the Enemy.

And here’s how to tell a difference between Satan and God’s voice in our lives…

Satan brings on guilt… We feel like we failed, we are unworthy. God convicts, opening our heart to a mistake we made but provide an avenue of redemption.

Satan lies. God is truth.

Satan is sneaky. God is honest.

Satan will distract. God clarifies.

Satan brings chaos. God brings peace.

Satan destroys. God builds up.

Satan hates. God loves.

Satan kills. God gives life.

I recently read a phrase that really spoke to my heart…

“Satan calls you by your sin and forgets your name… Christ forgets your sin and calls you by name.”

Dearest friends, those voices can be overwhelming. The confusion, anxiety, suffocation you feel– that is not how God intended for us to live our lives. He died a criminal’s death to give us speak. He speaks love into our lives daily… We just have to be willing to listen.

So all of you that have ears to hear… Let’s tune in and really listen to The One True Voice that matters.

Listening for His Love,
SGK

“Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” ~Mark 4:9

Listen for His Love...

Listen for His Love…

Categories: listen | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Why there are Bookshelves in My Dining Room

I am so thankful for the wide variety of random gifts and talents God has so generously given me.

I can write. (Well, at least let’s hope, or this 400+ blogging website is a real issue.) I can sing-ish. And I can even auctioneer. (I’m serious. Maybe I will do a vlog of that someday just for fun?)

But one gift I do not possess? The gift of design when it comes to coordinating a room/decor.

Seriously, up until our current home, I called my design “randomly eclectic.”

I just threw things on the wall, sat furniture wherever I though it would function most productively and left it at that.

But this time, this house… it was going to be different.

And I have to say… I did put a lot more thought (and prayer) into how things were organized, what colors we painted some of the walls and where we hung our decor. But when you are in ministry, there’s usually not a lot of extra cash lying around to go all out and buy things that coordinate and look amazing.

I’m not complaining. I like our home. I really do. But when people come over, I think they are confused as to why there at bookshelves in the dining room.

bookshelves dining room 2

The placement of these shelves was (shockingly) unintentional, but has worked out in our favor. Although not necessarily as “Wow, those really bring the room a scholarly look” or “Oh hey, that is totally feng shui.”

Really, I just put them there because I didn’t want my husband to have to carry both huge shelves plus a couple dozen boxes of books upstairs. And we didn’t really have room in our office since it also doubles a guest room with a twin bed. And I was impatient and wanted to get it organized immediately upon our arrival so I chose a room that we weren’t going to paint.

However, God has really shown me that it WAS intentional on His part.

I am so thankful that these bookshelves are in my dining room, and wholeheartedly believe it was God’s idea. First, it’s a cool (albeit sneaky) witnessing/encouragement tool. People come over, see a book they would like and DING… They borrow it and get a little dose of Jesus.

Cool, right? It gets better.

Since these bookshelves are in my dining room, I walk by them dozens of times a day… And in the past couple months, many rather profound epiphanies have erupted from seemingly innocent books just chillin on the shelf.

Example: My husband and I were praying about leading a home group this semester for church and we wanted to use some challenging but unique curriculum. One day I’m walking by the shelves and BOOM… Out of nowhere, the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan catches my eye. I read it a couple years ago and it literally changed my life.

And guess what? We are now leading a home group studying “Crazy Love.”

On another occasion, my worn-out new mama self walked by and KA-CHOW! A book about sleep training that I had received from a good friend yet never read jumped out at me. Interestingly enough, just a couple of days before I was stressing about how to get baby girl to nap somewhere other than on me (or in someone’s arms) with a semi-predictable schedule.

Now baby girl has given this mama a new freedom of two semi-predictable daily nap times and a legit bedtime routine. Seriously changed my life. (Sidenote: Why had I never legitimately heard of sleep training before? For real, people.)

Anywho, here’s the moral of the story… I firmly believe that God can work through anything, anyone, anytime. It wasn’t just my lack of motivation that landed those bookshelves in my dining room. God knows that some of those books are incredible tools for my walk with Him and our life as a family. If they were hidden upstairs in the office, I would see them probably once a week, not dozens of times a day.

He is the one who prompted us to leave those bookshelves right where they landed, a couple of feet from out kitchen table, although we didn’t know it at the time. He had it planned from the start. He is a creative God who knows how we listen and how we learn.

And that, my friend, is why there are bookshelves in my dining room.

Reading and Succeeding (For Jesus),
SGK

“I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants…” ~Psalm 85:8

PS: How does God creatively speak to you or encourage you in your life? Be bold and comment below!

Bookshelves dining room 1

Categories: listen, little things | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

You just gotta ask yourself…

Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself: “How can I BEST represent Jesus in this situation?”

Kinda sounds like the old WWJD trend, right? (Who has a bracelet? You know what I’m talking about.)

But seriously– we sometimes find ourselves in super sticky situations that really seems to have no productive solution. I found myself in that very place a couple of weeks ago. I was genuinely stumped and my heart was torn.

Fortunately for me, it was prayer week at church.

See, three times a year, our Church Body puts the whoa on evening activities and invites everyone to come to church to pray. No, it isn’t a time for us to gather and pray for each other’s needs (although sometimes the Holy Spirit works that in.) But instead we worship for a little while, then we sit and listen to what the Lord is saying to us via a theme or prompt or Scripture set… then we come back together at the end and listen to whomever has something to share.

Sometimes God speaks very powerfully to me. Other times, He gives me answers I’ve been needing or leads me to some pretty cool Scripture. Or sometimes He just wants me to CHILL OUT and rest in His presence. (Yes, resting and napping is permitted if that is what your heart/spirit/body needs and the Holy Spirit  leads you to it!)

Anywho, I was wrapped up in a sticky, messy situation with no brilliant ideas on how to fix it. Our theme for the year at Christ Community is “His Work, Our Peace.” Honestly, peace was the LAST trait you could have used to describe me at that point. So I headed to church, hoping for answers– or at least a little sliver of His Peace.

The theme for the night was the first work of Christ– His incarnation. After I had a good (and much-needed!) cry by myself in the back row of chairs, I sat… and captured this message directly in my journal.

So today, I just wanted to share what God revealed to me in the midst of my yuck.

****

“Jesus became a man. He understands our struggles and has been slandered and persecuted. Yet even on the cross, He forgave those who hurt Him and He never stopped loving.  He didn’t care about people’s’ approval– He only cared about His Father’s heart and approval. 

So as I face this hurtful situation, I must be like Christ. It’s kind of like bringing back WWJD. He wasn’t just a man of theory, but of action. Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself “How can I best represent Christ in this situation?” Philippians 2:5 says “In your relationships, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” In the study section of my Bible, it says this about the verse: “Christians are to have His attitude of self-sacrificing humility and love for others.” 

It’s scary. It’s hard. But I must remember the words of the song we sang during worship… 

‘No power of hell, no scheme of man, could ever pluck me from His hand.’

I embrace the truth that My Beloved is Mine and I am His. 

I am safe and protected. He is the ONE I answer to. So as I reflect on the person in flesh of Jesus, He is… 

HOLY. FULLY LIGHT. UNCOMPROMISING. PURE. GOOD. MERCIFUL. COMPASSIONATE. AWARE. ATTENTIVE. RIGHTEOUS. SERVING. GIVING. POWERFUL. MIGHTY. GLORIOUS. AWESOME. AUTHORITATIVE. WARRIOR. JOYFUL. SENSE OF HUMOR. FORGIVING. LOVING. SACRIFICIAL. LOVE PERSONIFIED. PROVIDER. CARES FOR US. RESTORER. REDEEMER. VICTORIOUS. LIFE GIVER. 

So Jesus came to us in flesh. He understands. He lives in us. We CAN be all these things by clinging to the one truth that He loves us unconditionally. Always. This is done not in our power–but in His power and grace.” 

****

So yeah… Sometimes you just gotta ask yourself– how can you BEST represent Christ in your situation?

What’s YOUR answer?

Grateful for His Grace,
SGK

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” ~Philippians 2:5-8 (MSG) 

jesus was journal

Categories: challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Opposition & Obedience

“Hi. My name is Sharita, and I have issues with obedience.”

(Insert chorus of “HI SHARITA” here.)

Sigh. Maybe I’m the only one… But my stubborn, driven nature sure provides opposition to my call to be obedient to the Lord.

I’m dealing with that right now. The seasons of our life in our family are changing and I think I am in denial. I had a good groove going, and now God is shaking up my little snow globe life, changing things all around.

I don’t mind change. I really don’t. Only I was really digging the chug-a-lug of the way things were.

However, He’s calling me out. And as I try to listen, I am faced with opposition from a variety of directions. Here’s a little opposition list, in no particular order.

1. The world. This wonderful (fallen-sigh) world that we live in is all about success, cash, being driven, self-gratification, more-is-more mentality. But all of that goes against the principles that Christ laid out before us. It makes things complicated.

2. The enemy. Oh yeah, can’t forget about this jerkface. The author of destruction and confusion gets all up in my grill, wreaking havoc on best intentions. This sneaky punk has a way with selling little half truth-lies to my brain/heart. And let’s not forget that Satan has a tendency to use GOOD things to distract us from GOD’S BEST. Have I mentioned that he is REALLY good at his job?

3. Myself. This is probably the biggest issue that I face. My flesh. My brain. My will. Me, me, ME. The first two opposing factors of obedience really accentuate the challenges that I have with the “Me factor.” However, as of late, God has really convicted me (again)… And here’s why…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am very excited about the fact that this sweet blog/ministry is over a year old. I was stoked that I was able to blog plus/minus five days per week for a year. But in the last several weeks, God has spoken to me and called me to go something of a different direction with gentle (but heart-tugging) reminders like:

“Remember daughter, you are NOT defined by what you do, but by WHO you are in Christ.” 

“Be Still… And Know… That I AM Lord.” 

“When you work, remember WHO you are working for… You are employed by ME.” 

That being said, my Big Boss upstairs has called me to a season of SLOWING DOWN. (He has instigated this mandatorily through my continued struggle with pneumonia and other physical junk.) I have struggled taking time to rest and be with Him via Sabbath and regular sabbaticals. And this inability to physically slow down is spilling over into my spiritual/emotional life.

So, in a challenging act of obedience, I am taking a few weeks to reduce my blogging from daily (aka  five days a week) to three days a week. It might be temporary. It might be permanent-ish. Only God knows. (Literally.)

It kind of freaks me out. Because I like my routine. But I know that the Lord knows what He is doing. Plus, He has called my husband to tackle another month of the 7 Experiment by Jen Hatmaker... So for the next month we are fasting MEDIA. As in, no TV, no digital games and minimal Facebook/Twitter time for me (to simply keep my ministry going.) I am allowed 8 min per day on Facebook, 5 or less on Twitter. (And yes, I use a timer.) Oh, and absolutely no technology after my hubby walks in the door from a day of drill sergeant-ing.  Which is a great excuse to try out this less-computer, more-Jesus lifestyle.

I am not quite sure what this new season looks like for us… But I am excited to see what God is going to do!

Overruling the Opposition to Obedience,
SGK

PS: Where do you struggle most in your life with being obedient to God? What are your biggest obstacles or opposition? It would be so encouraging to hear about how God lifts you up through your experiences. Leave a comment below!

“Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.” ~2 Corinthians 10:6 (MSG) 

Slow Down

Source: Blogger Ralph via Flickr

Categories: God, obedience | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

My iPod & God

“SIGGGGHHHH… Where in the name of all things covered in chocolate is my iPod?!?”

I have to be honest with you, dear readers. Usually I am pretty on top of things. Although my personality (sanguine) tends to be easily distracted by the bright and shiny, one of my spiritual gifts is administration, which helps me to be super organized. (Thanks for that divine, life-saving combo, Jesus!)

But occasionally, especially when I am tired or overly squirrelly, my sanguine brain reigns (say that five times fast) and I misplace things.

One of the most regularly misplaced items? My little iPod nano. Don’t get me wrong– three cheers to Apple for making such a tiny device that does so many cool things– but sometimes small + squirrel brain = misplaced iPod.

Such was the case yesterday as I was headed to the gym with my sweet mother-in-love Lex. (She is here to visit for the week– HI MAMA LEX!) Due to my SheSpeaks adventures, I hadn’t worked out for a few days with my iPod, but I was ready to get my sweat back on at the gym.

Time to gather my supplies, iPod included. I looked in my little gym bag. No iPod. Then I remembered: I took it with me to SheSpeaks on the off-chance that I would have time/energy/motivation to actually work out. (What can I say? I am sometimes a delusional optimist.) Suddenly, I remembered putting my iPod in purse… Dug through there– no luck.

My motivation to work out was quickly waning, so I gave up for the time being and headed to the gym with Lex iPod-less. (I survived, FYI.) As I was nearing the end of my workout, I starting thinking about my iPod situation again. I also started praying for God to direct me what to blog about for today. (My brain is still a little slow and foggy from the sleep deprivation/SheSpeaks adventures…)

Suddenly, He answered both my prayers at once. He reminded me that while in my hotel room at SheSpeaks, I had cleaned out my purse of all unnecessary things that didn’t need to be hauled around every day. An image of the bright yellow-gold gift bag from my friend Amy  flashed through my mind, and I realized that when I cleaned out my purse, all of my “unnecessary” items went into that bag. Then God spoke to my heart saying “I care about even the smallest things, my sweet daughter. Thanks for turning to me… You have the answer,  now go share this story.” 

Ok, Lord. You have my attention. I returned home, checked that yellow bag on my table and there it was– my iPod nestled under the lint roller, between an extra pack of gum, camera charger and Laffy Taffy.

So yes, my iPod was in this golden gift bag… Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!

So yes, my friends– God cares about the little things in our life– even if in the big picture it seems minor. The Lord knew how much that iPod meant to me as I listen to reflective Christian songs to relax, pump up songs to work out and Christian audio books to learn. (Plus I think He recognizes that I am working for Jesus dollars, so funds for a new iPod nano aren’t excessively abundant.)

What little things do you talk to God about in your everyday life? I love the wonderful conversations we have at this page– don’t be shy… Share your heart and leave a comment below!

God really does care about all of our “little” things in life… From the laundry and dishes, to grocery shopping, to locating your car keys. Today, let’s rejoice in the fact that we can listen to both an iPod AND God.

“Tuning” into Jesus,
SGK

“…God cares, cares right down to the last detail.” ~James 5:11 (MSG) 

Categories: life | Tags: , , , , , , | 18 Comments

To All His Good and Faithful Servants

God's love and affirmation can come in my forms...

God speaks to us in many ways… Sometimes it is through Scripture. Occasionally through song. Or another person.

And sometimes, He just straight up talks to us. However– we have to be willing to listen.

Today’s post isn’t eloquent or hilarious or exceptionally creative. It is a loving word I received from Him during the last few moments of my sabbatical in Pine Mountain this past weekend.

The following are words that He wanted me to hear– but as I prayed over them, He wanted me to share His heart with you as well.

So this post is for all you who are doing His work, whether that is praying, blogging, living a Christian life in a secular world, ministry, raising a family in Christ, you name it. If you have been called to live a Christ-like life, then this message is from God FOR you…. To All His Good and Faithful Servants.

“Place Me first and foremost in all areas of your day. I promise I will give you the energy and strength to accomplish what I have planned for you. Rely on Me to do the hard work– your trust in Me is the ultimate remedy to avoid exhaustion, frustration and burn-out.

I love you for who are, NOT for what you do. Your love and obedience is all I ask of you. Receive My gifts of power and truth that I am giving to you. I will strengthen you for the journey ahead, My beloved and mighty warrior. 

Remember that a ‘successful day’ is NOT determined by what you cross off your to do list, but rather how much you keep in touch with Me. It’s not what you do, it’s ultimately about how you glorify Me. Your personal plans of earthly things to do will never be completely accomplished. But that’s ok, because it is My purpose for you that truly matters. The more you are in tune with Me, the more opportunities I will give you to bring Me glory. In turn, I will fill you up from the inside out, overflowing with love and motivation. 

Get plenty of rest by spending time in my presence. Remember that people are a priority, not things. Keep your eyes open for how I am moving  and when you can love on someone. 

You are doing a great job, My Beloved One. I adore how you yearn to please and worship Me. Just remember that this is a learning process and I am the Ultimate Teacher. Any mistakes you make along the way are fully covered by My Grace. Keep running towards Me, My Good and Faithful Servant!”

I don’t know about you… but I am going to hold this precious message very close to my heart. My prayer is that this message from Our Father has spoke to you– empowered and encouraged you wherever He has called you. Keep pressing forward, my friends. I believe in you… and more importantly, so does God. After all, Beloved, He calls you His Good and Faithful Servant.

Pressing Onward for His Glory,
SGK

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” –Matthew 25:23

PS: Don’t forget! “A Latte Love” contest to win a Starbucks gift card is still going on until the article runs in the Bayonet this week. If this post (or any others) has moved you in any way, I would love for you to share with your friends and leave a comment here!

Categories: accomplishment, affirmation, cheerleader, glory, God, grace, obedience, plans | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Coping with a Rather Loud Crowd (Five Minute Friday)

A few reasons to rejoice today, world… 1) IT’S FRIDAY! (That should be enough to put a smile on your face, eh?) 2) In this blogger’s world, Friday means it is finger sprinting time… Great training for my mind/body/heart. Hope I am all warmed up.

On Fridays, I link up with The Gypsy Mama. She gives us a one word prompt, then we write. For five minutes flat. No over-thinking. No editing. Just writing. Literally just going with the flow (of words, that is.)

Thus on that note, I do believe it’s go time. Todays prompt: LOUD.

Ready?

GO! 

“Why didn’t you… I think you should have… the only way is… but what happens if…” 

I am an optimist by nature. (Granted, being an army wife has made more of a realist some days.) However, I attempt to look at the bright side of things. I try (key word: try) to live my life according to God’s voice. However…

There are a lot of folks in my life-crowd who seems to be rather loud. I have heard that “the early bird gets the worm” but apparently we live in a world where “He who is the loudest and makes the biggest scene gets the attention.”

Sometimes, I just want to thump those distracting naysayers in the nose. For real. Let Jesus and I do our thing, please and thank you. But I also have to remember that God made us to live in community, so my job is to be on guard (gentle guard of course) against those less than productive seed-planters in my life.

So how can we cope with a rather loud crowd? The whole world is hollering “Do this, do that, yadda, yadda, yadda” while our gentle and loving God is nudging us and whispering in our hearts.

The answer is simple… but hard at the same time. We have to listen. We have to spend time with Him daily. We have to love on those in the crowd, but we don’t necessarily need to BELIEVE every single word that they say.

As I write this, I can’t help but smile at the irony. My husband is up, getting ready to go to his job as a drill sergeant today. I am in my zone, concentrating. But the LOUDNESS and noise from the kitchen (shutting of cabinets, buzz of protein drink mixer, clank of spoon on the counter– men sure are noisy!) is throwing off my Jesus mojo a bit. Kind of like that rather loud crowd we deal with daily.

But the great news is with just a little focus, a lotta love and perhaps a hypothetical remote controlled mute button, we can live for Jesus… And cope with that rather loud crowd by tuning into Him.

STOP

All right, world… It’s time for me to face the noise of today from that rather loud crowd… but the protein drink mixer has stopped, so I do believe it’s time for a little hour-long time with the quiet lover of my soul.

Thankful for the noise– and the quiet,

SGK

“Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.”– Mark 5:36 MSG

Categories: Comfort, faith, Five Minute Friday, God, listen | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

No Bull Rule

Sometimes profound revelations come from the most unexpected places.

Like over a plate of lasagna, caprese and chocolate avocado mousse. (Not mixed together of course.)

Last week, I was having supper with my friend Kim. For those of you who have met Kim, you know she is 1) Hilarious 2) Nearly as loud and excitable as me <which is a feat in itself> and 3) Sings like Martina McBride. For those of you who don’t know her… now you do. Ish.

Anywho, we were having a deeply profound (ok, rather squirrelly and passionate) discussion over an amazing meal in my living room. We covered topics including Georgia culture, army logistics, and quantum physics. (Ok, maybe we only talked about a couple of those.)

Soon the conversation moved to life and Jesus. As aforementioned, we are both easily excited… and needless to say, these two topics fire us up. We began to rapidly talk about those “life moments” when you are kind of in a waiting or holding period. Just praying and twiddling your thumbs, asking God for answers on what decision to make or what to do next… But He seems to remain silent.

“People always tell me to just buck up and make a decision while I am waiting,” Kim said. “They say to just ‘take the bull by the horns, but it is really hard to take the bull by the horns…'”

“WHEN THERE IS NO BULL!!” (We said this last part in unison. It would have been awkward. Except we are cool. So we giggled and chalked it us up to being on the same squirrelly wavelength.)

So yeah… but how in the name of chocolate avocado mousse are we supposed to take the bull by the horns when there seems to be no bull to begin with? We have to live by the No Bull Rule.

The No Bull Rule is a weird and sometimes challenging combination of patience, listening, perseverance and faith. It’s that time in life when God isn’t telling us a clear answer for some reason… so we have to be patient and wait for Him to say GO before we act.

I don’t know about you, but in the past, I have been guilty of creating a “bull” when there is none. I talk myself into making a decision that is not ordained by God. I create this bull, take it by the horns… then soon find myself bucked off, trampled, smooshed into the ground,  and limping back to the gate to start my over.

Our God is a God we can trust– with EVERYTHING. From family decisions, to career choices, to church activities and even subjects to blog about. When we try to force a decision upon ourselves, we violate the “No Bull Rule” and usually things end up in a big ol’ pile of bull… manure.

So if you are in that awkward waiting period, live by the No Bull Rule. God hasn’t given you a bull to take by the horns yet, so just pull up a chair, sit, wait and listen. When it’s time to act, God will give you the signal to take the correct bull by the horns and make it happen for His glory.

And when He does give you the right steps to take, act knowing that the guidance He is giving you is true, trustworthy and genuine. Because when it comes to God’s faithfulness, THAT my friends, is No Bull.

That’s no bull-oney,

SGK

“Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!” –Psalm 131:3

Categories: be still, faith, God, hurry, listen, living, patience, trust | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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