Holy Spirit

 
 

Learning the Definition of Rest

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about rest.

What does it mean to rest? It means to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. But rest also means to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position.

I’ve been praying for rest, but I neglected to appreciate the rest he’s given because I was focused on only one definition of rest. And it wasn’t the definition He had in mind. When I thought of rest, I thought of sleep. Of relaxation. I fervently prayed for rest during late nights of homework, hard classes at school, and from annoying conversations. It didn’t seem to happen. I’ve been sick for nearly a month. Everyday I would wake up and I was still just as sick. Still just as tired. I wanted to stop all work. To take a break from everything connected with life. To be honest, at times  I wanted a break from faith, from reaching the campus. I had no strength left. I would wake up early in the morning just as tired and I believed that maybe he hadn’t heard. But he did. Because rest is more than sleep and relaxation.

To rest is to be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position. God knew what I needed when I didn’t know how to ask for it. I needed more than just sleep, I needed endurance to stay in the position that I’ve been placed in as a light on the campus. He supported me. From the moment I woke up to the time I fell asleep again, he supported me. I accomplished each and every task that was required of me. I was exhausted, but I was at rest.

I wonder if Proverbs 31:17-18 is misunderstood by some.

¨She sets about her work vigorously;

   her arms are strong for her tasks.

She sees that her trading is profitable,

   and her lamp does not go out at night.¨

Many women look at the Proverbs 31 woman and see an impossible standard. I mean, it’s almost like this chick never takes a break…ever. Not even to sleep. And then she gets up and keeps going, full of energy, full of power. She seems so…perfect. She has unending reservoirs of strength. Physically, mentally, emotionally. How is this possible? And why do people tend to see her as woman without exhaustion? In reality, a woman like this is tired, so how is she so strong? Whatever she does she has the strength for, because her rest doesn’t come from sleep. It comes from God. Because of God. She’s tired, but she never takes a break from the fight because God enables her to stay in her specified position.

The parallels about rest in the Bible don’t end with the Proverbs 31 woman. Think about Matthew 11:28 ¨Come to me all you who are weary and burdened (heavy-laden), and I will give you rest.” Suddenly, it means something a little different than it used to. It’s not just about physical rest. It’s God’s promise to be our rock, our support when things are too much for us to take. It’s strength to keep battling the enemy.

Yet again in John 4:6, we see that Jesus was tired, ¨Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.¨ This is the beginning of the story of The Woman at the Well. This will soon be a major turning point in the life of a tired woman and a frustrated town. But it could have just as easily never happened. Jesus could have asked for water because he was tried and never engaged the woman in conversation. He could have decided to just rest. To take a break from it all. The important truth in this verse revolves around the fact that Jesus never walked away from what God had called him to do because he was tired. At first, that seems nearly impossible as well. But it’s not. He didn’t find his strength and restoration from physical rest. He found it by resting in God. He maintained his position because God was supporting Him and he leaned on God’s strength for everything. He did not rely on his own physical strength and abilities because he recognized how frail they were in comparison to God’s. We are reminded yet again in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Our physical exhaustion may be a weakness, but when we ask God for rest, he turns it into a power.

Categories: Bible, encouragement, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, rest, sleep, stress | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Happy 2nd Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Guys. It’s been TWO YEARS since I started this blog. Is that crazy or what? I admit, I didn’t do so well this past year with posting regularly. There wasn’t much to read. Which is why I am so amazed that this blog has only grown over the past year. God is so good. But, in order to get the whole idea you’ll need to see some numbers, so without further ado…

Number of Hits: 1, 980

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts/ Pages:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 147 views

About Me– 118 views

To God Be the Glory– 98 views

Number of Followers: 40

Number of Comments: 61

Number of Posts: 26

Again, I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been over 40 countries represented in the views, even some countries in which the internet is highly censored. God is using this blog to share the gospel in counties like that all over the world. I am only a minor character in this elaborate story God has designed and I couldn’t be more grateful to be used by God to reach the nations with the gospel. If you would, take a moment today to thank God for how he has used you, even when you didn’t deserve it. Dear reader, thank you for reading the few posts I had this year and not dropping out of my followers list even when you rightfully should have. Now that my blog is exactly how I want it to be with those new pages ready for anyone to read, I am certain that the gospel will reach farther in this coming year than it has in the previous years combined.

Prayer is powerful. Join me in praying big prayers over this blog. Not So Supergirl doesn’t belong to me. I don’t claim it. It belongs to God and I pray the words I write are the words he wants me to say. I don’t know what the next year will bring; but I do know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog. God is going to keep doing jaw-dropping things through it, and I hope you will continue to follow along with me on this journey. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You are my source of inspiration. Each day presents an opportunity to know you better and fall in love with you more. I want to make the most of each of those days. Guide me when it gets tough. Remind me that you’re always, always, always, in control and you’re still on the throne no matter what happens. This blog wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Check This Out

In case you haven’t been by the blog to notice, I’ve made some renovations! I changed my subtitle/motto from “The Not So Heroic Deeds of Not So Supergirl” to “Truth, Hope, and God’s Way”; modeled after Superman’s motto, “Truth, Justice, and the American way.” I also made some tweaks to the overall design and added three new pages. Most noteworthy, I completely revamped my About Me page. I had taken it down about a year ago with the intention of redoing it and I never had the time to make it say what I wanted. My other new pages include  My Beliefs (the title speaks for itself), FAQ (the page where I can answer your questions about anything), and How To Become a Christian (the gospel). I hope you’ll take the time to stop by and see the new additions and leave a few comments about what you think! I’ll post another blog post sometime in the next week, so be on the look out for more of my scribblings. Have a wonderful week!

God Bless,

Not So Supergirl 🙂 

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, God, happiness, Holy Spirit, Jesus, looks, waiting | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Don’t Fill in the Blank

“There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

-Oswald Chambers

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So often I find that God has erased all my plans for the future and given me a clean slate. A blank space. And the hardest part is looking at that space and realizing that I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. I naturally want to fill it in. And many times I do. The space that was a clean work area for God to make and mold and move me becomes a cluttered mess of notations, desires, plans, and calculations. If you ask me, I’ll tell you I know where I’m headed; but that’s about the time God comes along with an eraser and wipes away each one of those ideas. He again gives me the space that begs the question: “Do you trust me?”. I’ll say that I do, and I might even wait a few days for God to do something. But eventually my patience wears thin. I wind up with a metaphorical expo marker in my hand. And I’m drawing something new. Why?

Part of the reason is that there has to be the seamless unity of believing and doing. I must say that I trust God to fill it in when He wants to, and then prove that I trust him by waiting on his timing and not filling in that blank space myself. It’s not that my plans are necessarily bad plans. I might have been planning to go to India and be a missionary for the rest of my life. It was the fact that God has something different and God has something better and I have to still myself and wait for him to give me direction. I should never run before God’s guidance. When he takes the time to erase my plans, it means I should take the time to wait on his plans.

Right now, I have a blank space. Not to long ago God erased all of those plans I had made and began to show me why they weren’t part of his plan. I wanted to do this to please this person. I wanted to go there to meet that person. I wanted to stay here to become this version of myself. I had hidden intentions in each one of those carefully crafted ideas. And God saw those, even when I couldn’t. . He penetrated through the murkiness of my imagination and sorted the stuff I had piled on top of my plans to make them seem more appealing. He showed me what he was seeing as I sang “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go”.  Sometimes following God’s will means waiting on him to fill in those blank spaces in His timetable; not yours.  His will for our lives isn’t some incomprehensible theory that we have to struggle and strain to somehow get on board or grab a glimpse of. He says in Leviticus 19:2 “…Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”

When we wake up committed to following him and growing in him, we become more like him each passing day. His will isn’t for the future, it’s for now. It’s that process of maturing in holiness and righteousness that sets us walking in the right direction, in his will for our lives. Even when we may only see a blank space in front of us, rest assured that God has plans for it, and wait for his guidance. Don’t rush to fill in the blank. “When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

Categories: Bible, blank, Change, christianity, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, space, Trust, waiting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

To God Be The Glory

For the longest time I dreaded Easter Sunday. Don’t get me wrong; I loved shopping for a new dress, I loved  waking up to chocolate bunnies, I loved hearing about Jesus. But I dreaded Easter Sunday. The problem lies in the fact that at our church on Easter Sunday, they would show “graphic” clips on the big screen of Jesus dying. As a young girl, blood and gore were not things that I relished seeing. Even now I’m not particularly fond of it. I feared watching Jesus suffer. I told myself that if I had been alive then, I would not have mocked Jesus; I would have been crying or I would have ran off to the hills somewhere so I wouldn’t have to watch it and I wouldn’t have to hear it.

We moved and our new church didn’t show such clips in big church on Easter Sunday. But our youth group did. I clearly remember curling up in the plastic seat as a 6th grader my fingers plugging my ears and my earrings digging into the palms of my hands. My eyes shut tightly, humming worship songs and praying. Anything to block out the screams and chants of the crowd and the Passion of the Christ’s depiction of Jesus dying on the cross. I was promising Jesus that if I was there, I wouldn’t have been mean to him. But the thing is, Jesus changed everything about my life. I am the way I am because of him. I was raised to be nice. My parents raised me to be nice because of what Jesus did in their life. And the list goes on and on. If he had walked up that hill and gotten to the top and then decided he didn’t want to go through with it after all, who’s to say I wouldn’t have been one of the people in the crowd. But he finished what he’d begun. He died. Willingly. For me. Even now as a Christian, I suppose I’m comparable to a member of the jeering crowd. I sin, knowing what I’m doing. Laughing in his face as I do it, mouthing the words, “I don’t care about you”. And not just once, over and over again. Multiple times a day. He knew that. He still died for me. You do the same. He knew you would. He still died for you. And that’s what we end with. Jesus loves you. He died for you.

But that’s not how it ends. He didn’t just die. Yes, that was an incredible act of divine love, but the part we seem to miss is that HE ROSE! Easter Sunday was never about graphic scenes of Jesus dying on the cross or long sermons that beg us to understand the torture he went through. That first Easter Sunday was filled with joy! With people running around asking everyone if they had heard the good news. And the good news was that Jesus was alive. He accomplished what no leader of any other religion has been able to do- he rose from the grave. But he didn’t just rise. He defeated death. He defeated hell. He defeated the grave. That is something to dance about. My Jesus is VICTORIOUS! And we have been given the responsibility to tell everyone.  Our chains have been broken, he has set us free. His love, grace and mercy have been showered upon us and he conquered all by rising from the grave.

Easter matters so much because it means that Jesus Christ has won the VICTORY! He defeated sin and death by dying on the cross and rising from the grave- all to show his awesome glory and power and rescue us- even as we stood mocking him, wallowing in our sin. No one forced him to be whipped. No one ever forced him on to a cross. He went willingly. He was God, but he loved us so much that he submitted to torture and separation from God on our behalf. He took the punishment that should have been ours. But thank God the story doesn’t end there. He rose! Defeating the things that once would have tied us down and made us powerless. And that same earthshaking power can now dwell in us, and we can share a part of his glory and holiness. He saw something in you and I and everyone else, so much so that he died for us. To GOD be the glory! Great things he hath done, so loved he the world that he gave us his son. Who yielded his life an atonement for sin and opened the life-gate that all may go in. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the Earth hear his voice. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice! Oh, come to the Father through Jesus the Son and GIVE HIM THE GLORY GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE!”

Categories: Blood, Cross, Easter, encouragement, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Sunday | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

Strong and Courageous: Leading Well (Part 4)

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:1-9

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What God’s asking Joshua to do here, isn’t all about moral support for a leader, it’s about asking Joshua to trust Him . To let go of fear, and let Him take it’s place. Fear comes when we don’t trust God. That’s how perfect love casts out all fear. Where there’s perfect love, there’s perfect trust. I wonder if Joshua was scared. He’s painted as a strong leader, unafraid, ready to do anything God would ask; like Moses. But he must have had his doubts. With Moses dead, he must have been wondering what God was up to. When God said, “Moses died, you’re taking over”, and I don’t imagine there was a lot of gusto on his part. He probably felt like a deflated party balloon. Going to see the promise land one minute and the next being told the leader of the whole mission had died and he was in charge. Everything is different when you have a whole lot more people looking up to you. He saw what these people were capable of. What if they didn’t like him? What if he failed? What about the enemies? The danger? What about war? They can’t just waltz in there an expect them to give up their land without a fight? So now he’s an army general? Even better. A new leader, responsible for land, lives, lunch, and large groups of snickering people. 

And God says: “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

God is telling him that he’s gonna be with him, just like Moses. His role-model. Who was so close to the glory of God his face shone so no one could look upon it. This guy was legend. His faith and leadership were legend, because of his trust in God. And God’s giving him the same thing? Wow. Ultimate confidence boost. Now Joshua may have been a fearless person who was so tight with God he just trusted him without hesitation. But I believe these words by God were said to him for a specific reason. Maybe because he had begun to take responsibility on himself for the people’s well-being or because he felt so inadequate to carry out such a task.

God replies: “Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “

But maybe we still worry about messing something up and in response to that God answers: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

He said something similar to that before. Before, he said “I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” He reminds us that he is with us now, and will be with us in the future. There is nowhere we can go where he will not be there with us.  Looking over these encouraging words I was inspired to write a prayer I feel Joshua would say in the face of his circumstances. This prayer is something I desire to say in my own life, an act of surrender and recognition of how powerful God is. Maybe you need to remind yourself of these things as well. I think it should go something like this :

“Lord, I can’t be strong or courageous on my own. I can’t help but be frightened or dismayed by all that has happened recently. But you’ve promised you would be with me before. And you promised that you are with me now, and will still be with me no matter where I go or how old I get. Knowing that is the only way I could ever be strong and courageous when faced with what’s before me. Lord, I can’t lead these people. But you can, because their your people. I can’t take care of the land; but you can, because you’ve made it and chosen to give it to your people. I can’t give these people food, but you can, because you’re the great Provider. You’ve done it in the past and you’re just a capable now. I can’t win a war, but you can, because you’ll fight for your people. Lord, I can’t be strong, but you are. I can’t be courageous, but you can. Whatever you want to do with what I have to offer, take it. You’ve reminded me that I can’t do anything without you. I can’t be strong. I can’t be courageous. I can’t lead people. I can’t provide. But you can. And not through anything that I have done, but all because of what you have done and will continue to do. Trust casts out all fear. Where there is perfect love, there is perfect trust. So lead on Lord. Take everything I have and use it for your glory. Let them see your power and your might. Let everyone be utterly astounded by how great you are.”

If we would only take action instead of questioning God and letting our minds fill with doubts about our own abilities. They are justified doubts if we were required to do everything on our own; but we’re not. God will never call you to do or face something that you are improperly equipped for. He knows you better than you know yourself; and he also knows himself. He is stronger than we are, but so often we try to carry our burdens alone. He is wiser than we are, but we so often use feeble logic and reasoning to solve our problems. He is more courageous than we are, but, again, we look at our own small ounce of courage and maybe try to take a leap of faith. But we find our courage depleting fast, to the point where we have nearly none at all, and the leap is more like a wobble from one foot to the other in the wrong direction. Leadership isn’t about us being strong and courageous in the face of trouble. It’s about trusting him with our whole heart and letting him do the rest. And sometimes, the strength and courage come in when we take a leap of faith, not trusting our on footing, but expecting a free-fall before being caught in the arms of the Almighty God. “Be strong and courageous” is all about trusting him and letting him do the rest. And leadership requires much more of that than any skills we have we have to offer.

Categories: Bible, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments
 
 

Behind the Name

With the one year anniversary of this blog only yesterday, I thought it would be appropriate to give some background about why I started this blog and what the name “Not So Supergirl” has come to mean.

On WordPress, unless you pay money, it seems almost every blog URL you could think of is already taken.  I didn’t want to use my name and I did want it to make it sound exciting- something that sparked people to want to read. I was becoming desperate after a few days of trying (unsuccessfully) to think of a blog title that wasn’t already taken. My mind began to wander and I thought of blogs that already existed. Not So Wonder Woman certainly sounded nice- but obviously that wasn’t the right choice for a blog by a teen girl. And thinking in that same mindset, I came up with Not So Supergirl. After milling it over in my head for a day, it began to sound better and better. But what did it really mean to me? Looking back, when I first started, it didn’t mean much at all. It just sounded like a good blog title. God was working in my heart and in my mind, and because it was his blog, his plan for the name meant much more than how it looked on a computer screen. After about 3 months into blogging, I figured that I should explain the title. But what was there to explain? And that’s when it hit me. There was much to explain.

Ever since the 8th grade when we made our own personal websites for class to share our writing, I knew that blogging was the perfect ministry opportunity. We were required on our website to tell something about us, and what better way to talk about me than to talk about Jesus. My friends said the testimony I wrote for my website was deep. I thought it was shallow. It wasn’t much more than stating the Great Commission and telling people that they needed Jesus in their lives. After 8th grade was over, I still visited my website the summer before my teacher had to take them down so another class could make their websites. Even though no one was ever on those pages again, I started my own miniature blog at the bottom on the page after all my writings. When the websites were taken down, there was great remorse on my part. I loved being able to share my thoughts with the world and, in a greater capacity, Jesus with the world.

There was a desire in the back of my mind to have a website again. At first I planned to have a blog that I posted my writings on. Things like my poetry, book reviews, and short stories. And to share it with my mom so she could write too. She never found a great host for that kind of website and didn’t have the time to set the whole thing up. I decided to look on my own. I then found the “themes” page for WordPress. It took away a lot of the effort in designing the website, it was free, and had some sort of protection to keep people from stealing the things you write. I brought the proposition to my mom who told me she’d think about it, but really, she had to, because I asked her almost everyday what her decision was. It was during this time that my whole ambition for the website had changed and I knew that this blog, if given the permission to began it, would become my world-wide platform for my Savior.  I was going to write about my faith in him and use it to encourage and challenge others.

“Not So Supergirl” is a subtle rebellion against the way of the world and a surrender of everything to Jesus. Super Girl is the ideal girl: blond, skinny, powerful, she’s everything a girl would want to be right? You save the world and have tons of admirers. And that’s where my rebellion comes in. I’m not Supergirl, I never will be. I never want to be. She represents false ideas of beauty, and enforces the standards that the world tries to place. Standards that I’m determined not to live by or follow. Why? Because they aren’t realistic and they are not the measure of beauty or power. Beauty fades, as stated in Proverbs 31: 30

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

And “beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes; rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4.

“And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.”1 Timothy 2:9 (MSG).

That is the measure of true beauty. Godly beauty. The kind that never fades and never dies, the kind that is remembered and holds more power than unnatural abilities. Which leads me to the point that Not So Supergirl is a surrender. I don’t have it all together. I don’t have supernatural abilities. I’m just ordinary. And because I am, that means God has the freedom to show himself through me. It happens when I give up myself and everything I think I can do, and place it in his hands so that he has the ability to make the Not So Supergirl something special after all. Something with his purpose and someone who is used to bring glory and honor to him. He’s the superhero. I’m that one girl who needs saving. And frankly, when you’re not a superhero, there aren’t as many people that you have to keep from discovering who you really are.

Categories: beauty, christianity, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Happy Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s already been ONE YEAR since I started this blog. It just doesn’t seem real. God has used this in amazing ways, but it was his blog in the first place, I was merely writing what he told me. So in honor of Not So Supergirl, I have compiled a list of the stats. And drum roll please….

Number of Hits: 1, 445

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 142 views

My Future Husband– 86 views

Speechless– 76 views

Number of Followers: 22

Number of Comments: 42

Number of Posts: 18

I have to say, I think that’s pretty good. Okay… more than good. When I look at all the stats I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been nearly 40 counties represented in the views, not including the USA. To my readers, thanks for sticking around this long. I haven’t always been the best at posting regularly- even though my intentions were good. After a while the “new blog” excitement wears thin and you realize you need to keep writing, even when you don’t always feel like it. Not just for people to read, but to keep your own faith where it needs to be; to come to God and sit down for a while and let him speak to you, even when your not feeling it.  I know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog and God is going to keep doing wonderful things through it, and I hope you guys still decide this stuff is worth reading. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You give me so much inspiration and I’m positive it will never run out. That’s just what I love about you, the more I think I know about you, the less I really do. This blog (not to mention me) wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, words | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

20 Things To Be Thankful For

In light of how blessed I truly am, 20 isn’t many things to list. Yet, it can seem so hard to think of things. That, my friends, is pitiful. I once heard someone say: “What if the things you didn’t thank God for today, were gone tomorrow?” If it were me, unless it was the day after thanksgiving, I wouldn’t have much of anything. We take so many things for granted. And so, without further ado, I present a mere 20 things I’m deeply thankful for:

1. Jesus- For dying on the cross to save me, for overcoming sin and death, for his forgiveness and everlasting love that he gives even when I don’t deserve it, for guiding me through the things I don’t understand, and….well, for everything else that comes after this, because it wouldn’t exist without him.

2. Family- For raising me in a Godly home and having parents who love and provide for me, and  little sister (who can be annoying at times) but encourages me and inspires me with her love for Jesus and her incredible talents.

3. Friends- for making my days brighter, for making me laugh, for always being there for me, though my good days and my bad ones, and for keeping my faith in Christ strong through encouragement and accountability or because of opposition.

4. Teachers- For blessing me with their knowledge and pouring information about the world into my life. They’ve shown me how little I know, and how much I can learn. They have allowed God to increase my knowledge of things incomprehensible to human nature though things I can comprehend.

5. Words- For giving us ways to express emotion, and create surges of emotion in one another. They’ve given life and caused death, but set us free with the truth daily. They can bring hope and peace about, and help people find common ground.

6. Voices- For ways to sing, and ways to show others how much we care. Because they demand a response or leave us speechless when accompanying words and give the words a bodily form that allows us not only to hear, but receive and believe what they tell of.  I love that they can inspire, guide and lead, be comforting, passionate, or mournful, all at the same time.

7. Clothes- For an entire closet full of clothes. With different outfits to actually choose from, and for an abundance of them- given to me, so that I can give them to others when they are in need.

8. Music- For a way to express myself and become excellent at making something beautiful out of an array of shapes and sounds. For a way to share the gospel that makes people listen and a way to simplify the gospel so people can understand. For moving me to my knees in worship and into action afterwards. For giving me a way to tell my creator- the most talented musician of all, how much I love him and appreciate everything he has done for me.

9. Books- For drawing you into a new world of endless possibilities, and for teaching you things you never dreamed of knowing before.

10. Memory- For never letting you forget things that others do. For capturing sweet memories of the past, for making life seem so much more beautiful, for nostalgic thoughts that reminds you of how good things were and how good things still are today, and for allowing endless storage of knowledge.

11. Time- For time to ” be born and to die, to plant and to uproot, to kill and to heal, to tear down and to build, to weep and to laugh, to mourn and to dance, to scatter stones and to gather them, to embrace and to refrain from embracing, to search and to give up, to keep and to throw away, to tear and to mend, to be silent and to speak, to love and to hate, and a time for war and for peace.” [Ecclesiastes 3:2-8]

12. True Love-  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]                 “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.” [1 Corinthians 13: 4-8]                   [Psalms 136].

13. Bible- For giving me direction, for reminding me that God is in control, for stories that show me how me how to live my life, for something to base Apologetics on, for it’s detailed historical records, for true stories about Jesus that make me love him even more.

14. Food- As Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-a, once said: “Food is essential to life, therefore; make it good.” And boy, do I love me some good food. Especially on Thanksgiving.

15. Letters- the ones you write to your pen-pals, because they encourage you and give you a reason to send things via snail-mail and wait for a long time to receive a piece of what’s going on in their lives.

16.  Hands- For allowing me to touch and feel and to create words, pictures, art, food, music, and so many other other things.

17. Eyesight- For letting me see all the beauty in the world and noticing the little things in life. For allowing me to see the vibrant colors splashed over everything and worship God because of it. It leaves me in awe daily. For letting me see to play my instruments and write things. For allowing me to draw (even though I’m atrocious at it) and paint (bad at that too), and read my Bible and other books.

18. Coffee- I had to include this somewhere. With a coffee snob as a father (he roasts, grinds, and brews fresh international coffee every morning) I love my coffee; it’s required.

19. Technology- For air conditioning in South Georgia (can I get an amen to that), for computers that allowed me to create this blog. For spreading news faster and making life easier, for keeping people safer and more comfortable. For allowing the gospel and the Bible to be translated into many different languages so everyone can hear about Jesus and everything he has done.

20. And last but not least, My BCM College Students- For encouraging me in my faith, for helping me grow spiritually, for making me laugh, for being people I can confide in and trust. Thanks for playing games (such as hit the college student with a pool noodle) with an eight year old who was new around here, to singing songs in harmony with a 15 year old who could have never made it though the move without ya’ll. Thanks for being reliable and making our family’s job easier (especially my dad’s…some of the time). I couldn’t be more happy serving anyone one else. You have changed my life in ways I can’t describe, and a simple “thank you” doesn’t do enough justice. I love every one of you and am looking forward to how God is going to use you in the future- because he will- and he’ll rock this world with his power and his love in the things he does through you. Keep growing in Christ and inspiring more people like you’ve inspired me. Love you guys!

Categories: God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, students, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

The Following: Leading Well (Part 2)

Proverbs 14:28 (MSG)

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.

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This is the second lesson that God is teaching me regarding leadership. The verse really speaks for itself, you are not a good leader if you have no followers. It makes a lot of sense, you don’t to talk to people you don’t want to hear speak. You don’t hang out with people you don’t like. You don’t follow people who don’t lead well. Because this next year, everything will be new to me, I will see how many people follow me.

I will post things about Youth camp later this summer, but I wanted to shine a light on the commitment that I made to my youth group while I was there. Each night, we would have a worship session and then the speaker would stand up and give the message. That night, the message centered on this question, will you be able to walk across a graduation and have people say about you, I can follow her because he/she follows Christ. He/She constantly seeks after what God desires of him/her and I know that he/she is going to be on the right track, I know I can follow him/her because of their relationship and closeness with Christ.

My youth pastor posed this question, and what I heard was a call for leaders to rise up in the youth group. I stood. It is a big responsibility to have an entire youth group looking up to you and watching your actions to see if Christ is evident in your life, but for a while I could hear God calling me to do something more with my youth ministry. The teens in the youth group were being poured into, but it was hard to tell if they were pouring anything out. It was time to start a revolution, beginning with me, because I was willing to let God use me to change the church attitude both in myself and in others. I asked for accountability, because if I’m leading, not only do I need people following but people alongside me to point out things in my life and bluntly tell me; Mackenzie, if you carry this on any longer, you are going to be leading people into sin.

I’ve been gone for most of the summer, and I haven’t had a chance to notice if my commitment had produced any followers. I may not ever see the people who seek after Christ because my relationship with him changed them. I hope I will be able to look back across the graduation stage and look back at people who have followed me as I followed Christ and know that even as I step out into the real world, I will continue after what he asks of me with all I am, no matter the cost.

I want to be able to lead the people at my school this next year and the people in my youth group this summer and for the rest of my high school years, and if I notice that I have no followers, I know it’s time to back off and let someone else do the leading, while I follow.  With Christ at the center of everything I do, I want to lead people to walk in his ways, and get up people out of the pew and onto the road. If you always live your spiritual life in one place with no risks, you’ve never really lived at all. And besides, I need some followers. You can’t lead if no one is following.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, learning, life, people, purpose, School, students, summer, teens, Trust, Uncategorized, words, youth group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

I’ll Be With You: Leading Well (Part 1)

Exodus 3:9-18 (MSG)

9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”

15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.

16-17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.”’

18 “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship God—our God.

*********************************************************

For a long time, I’ve been behind the scenes working for Christ on campus. I’ve been there, I’ve led in my own subtle mannerisms, but never noticed a big group following behind me, or was ever entrusted with the care of their spiritual growth.  I prayed, was outgoing, witnessed, all of this leading in its own way, but never truly led. This next year, I have the chance to lead. From what I have heard, I am a very possible candidate for a leadership position with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. You have no idea how excited this has made me. I get my chance to lead people. People will look up to me and I’ll challenge them in their faith. More witnessing will happen and the school will be turned upside-down because of the call he has placed on my life. But I’ve never truly led.

The reality of this hit me one night and I was suddenly asking myself, “How is it possible that I could be leading others?” I wondered what I would say to get their attention. How I would say it? I planned out all the things I wanted to get done and everything that needed to be done. And I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought of leading actual people. Even more so, people my age and older than me. Of course the cute Christian girl praying at her Dad’s college meetings is enough to inspire a Christian college student, but not lead them. I’m not teaching Bible Stories to five-year-olds either. After moving, I hardly had any friends. In middle school, I integrated with the “outcasts” of middle school society and felt a whole new way to stand up for what I believe in , from a bunch of atheists who hated god, a bunch of skeptics who didn’t think he existed, and a bunch of hurting people who couldn’t accept a God who had never done anything for them and allowed them to feel pain. My faith dwindled and then grew as I was able to tell them what they needed and was able to stand apart from them, but allow a safe-haven for them even though I believed in something different.

I was still left out sometimes, most being of the popular Christians crowd.  As the two groups of us moved further away from each other, a fear began to grow inside of me that kept me from going back and finding Christian friends. It was a fear of rejection. We were only 3rd and 4th graders when we met. I didn’t know one person my 3rd grade year who had  felt what it was like to be new someplace and have no one to welcome you.

My story turned out for the better, I stepped outside my comfort zone and the haze of lies the Devil had fed me to keep me away from the people who might help to grow and encourage my faith the most. The Christian people like me. Of course, the giant gap remains between my group of lesser on the popularity chain to greater on the popularity chain. I feel like I can’t relate to  Christian people sometimes. These people have always had Christian friends, they always seemed to be accepted by everybody. I haven’t. So it was this that I came to that night. That I had a chance to lead the people I had been afraid of and bridge the gap between my group and theirs. Where do I begin? What do I say? They won’t listen to me! I’ve never led anyone before. Near tears, God spoke to me. He said “I’ll be with you, believe me, they will listen to you. I gave Moses the words didn’t I?” . I remembered this passage and read it over and was so overcome with joy.

That night he promised me that he would give me a full training in how to be a leader. I know it will make me better equipped and a better leader than any “how-to” book on the market or any year-long seminar. He’s the best leader there is. I love how he gets irritated with Moses. He says that he will be with him through everything, that he will give them the words and the victory, yet Moses doubts God. My favorite line is one I’ve said myself many times, ““But why me? What makes you think that I could ever _______________________?” And every time God answers me,  “I’ll be with you.” He’s with you too, whether it be leading an entire body of Christians or overcoming the initial shock of something extravagant he asks of you. He says,  “I’ll be with you” and proves it to be true every time.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, prayer, teens, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Completions and Complications

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog, and before you go off on me about not writing for a few months, hear me out. I have this class that was a little behind grade-wise in AP U.S. Government and Politics (most of you know where this is headed) but before you go thinking that I’ve failed the class, I want to clarify that we are talking about a perfectionist (me) who “failed”. In other words, I was making a B and my 4.0 average began to slip down the drain. I’m not bitter that I was temporarily grounded from my blog, because I felt the same. Taking an AP class consumes a lot of your time, and like the usual me, I couldn’t get my priorities straight, and so my parents straightened them out for me. You have no idea how glad I am to be back and how glad I am to be able to write about the pieces of my life you missed this past month, and also about all the experiences I will have this summer. It’s going to be epic, just saying.

I titled this “Completions and Complications” because it sums up life for me right now, pretty well. As I have had the chance to read other’s blogs and let them pour into my life, I realized that I enjoy reading blog posts where people are real. Not the fake “I’m doing fine” not the teaching of what they learned about Jesus this past week, but when they sat down and said, look, my life is a mess. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It’s hard for me to write this. It’s deeply painful to sum up what’s going on right now, but healing can be painful and I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to. It inspires me. Because I never for one moment think; “wow, they don’t have it all together” or “their faith must be really weak because they can’t trust him with this”, instead I think, “I want faith like that”. It takes a lot of confidence to put out the things you are struggling with at this season in your life. You suddenly become more vulnerable than you’ve ever been, and it’s scary. Like stepping out on a limb that you’re not sure will hold you up. I’ve made the decision to write like that. I’m stressed. I’m worn out. I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It may be hard for me to write like that. It may be deeply painful. But healing can be painful and I’m going to I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to.

The school year has ended and I cannot believe how many close friends I have made just in this school-year alone. This summer will be difficult to begin, I’m going to miss those dear friends so much, and they will always have a place in my heart. I’m finally beginning feel that I have accomplished something. I still have so much that I have to learn, and so many things that God has to pull out of my life. Just as the school-year ended, he put a pin-point on a fear I had lived with for a long time, and I was able to begin to overcome it. As this summer begins, expect to see shorter posts with more content, for as many days as possible. Thanks for coming on the journey this far, in June my blog will be 6 months old.

Categories: AP Civcs, Change, christianity, communication, converstions, failure, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, prayer, reality, relationships, School, speech, stress, summer, teens, Uncategorized, vacations, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Beauty in Exile

Here is a little short story I wrote for Easter Sunday. Enjoy!

As far as I was concerned, I was worth nothing. I had rags for a dress, soiled hands and a dirty face. I was an outcast of society; I deserved nothing but to be spit upon by a crowd of mockers. I was an orphan, without family or home. I had no name. I was exiled from the Kingdom, as ransom for a fault of my ancestors, many years before. They soiled the honor of our King. I suffered under the weight of their fault.

A prince sat in his castle window, staring out at the barren land where the outskirts of his father’s kingdom lay. It was dry, where the exiles lived. The exiles who soiled the honor of his father, exiles with rags for clothes and soiled hands and dirty faces; a people who knew no love, no home. His heart ached for them.

I worked hard with little pay and the only satisfaction I got was the hope of death, which was never a comfort. My freedom held me captive, all day long. I knew I was free to roam, but inside, I yearned for something more fulfilling. I needed to know my life had a purpose. I needed to feel loved. I shoved my thoughts out of the way, and toiled on. My search for water was unending.

The prince sat at the King’s table, feasting on the finest food. The king stood. “My son,” he said, “have you not longed to see what I have despised?” “Therefore, I send you out unto the exiles to live among them, to see what they face.” “Bring them back to me, and I shall make them my children, they shall be loved.” The prince, nodded solemnly, knowing this would be his last feast at his father’s table for a long time. His father continued, speaking softly “but you know they cannot be accepted without a price”. The prince stood, wiped away a tear and said, “It will be done.”

I watched the cloud of dust come closer, the only thing it could mean was a new arrival. The person who came stumbling down the road was not eye-catching, but there was something about him. When he looked me in the eye, I saw no scorn, no mockery, nothing I had been used to receiving from travelers. When he spoke, there seemed to be great authority, and his next words shocked me. “I am an exile.” “I came from my father’s kingdom to live here for a year and bring you back to him after your ransom has been paid.” I laughed at such ignorance, but lead him around and showed him the life I lived in this dust bowl, a life without water, a life that seemed to mean nothing. Through the months, his phrase echoed through the walls of my mind. “…To bring you back to him after your ransom has been paid.”

The prince lived among the exiles, and experienced the heartache of the people. He felt their sorrow, a stabbing pain in his heart. He healed the sick, and they listened to stories of life in the castle, although they never believed them. But the days were drawing close when their ransom had to be paid. They would know the joy of love and family; he would feel the weight of their burdensome faults. A pack of thieves galloped down the road; he bowed his head and prayed before leaping into action.

We never had thieves. There was nothing to steal, and yet there they were before us, holding us hostage. The prince came out of the cloud of dust, his face set in a firm line, holding out a ring with the king’s coat of arms. “I know what you’re after”, he said, “Let them go.” The thieves dropped us to the ground and sprinted to the prince. I could only watch as a cloud of dust arose and the prince’s cries were heard above the noise. I turned my head; I couldn’t bear to watch it unfold. The others around me laughed and jeered, ugly people enjoying the spectacle of pain they never saw the prince go through before now.

The thieves, after finishing their work, left off into the sunset, while the prince lay motionless on the ground. The others around me wandered off. I ran to him. I watched, in awe as the river of blood flowing from his veins took form, creating a beautiful red dress. The prince stirred, and said in a hoarse voice, “take it, put it on, and walk back into my father’s kingdom, there you will be accepted, and there you will find rest and love.” I took his hand, and he died. The ground shook and the sky turned black. I put on the red dress and started my three-day journey back to the kingdom, carrying the dreadful news to the King- that his son was dead.

The third day, my heart felt lighter, as if the weight I had been under for so long was now gone. I looked at my red dress; it was a brilliant white as I climbed up the steps to the King’s palace. They received me inside, although I had made no appointment. I walked the narrow hallways to the throne room, my heart pounding furiously. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror; no longer was I ugly, I wasn’t dressed in filthy rags, now I was stunning, the white dress reflecting off the walls.

A voice from inside the throne room called me in, and I walked into the brilliant light. There, my King stood tall and welcomed me to his table, and said I was his child. I opened my mouth to tell of how undeserving I was, when I saw my prince. He stood and spoke for me. He told of the wonderful things I had done for him while in exile. His father nodded. I was lead to the table, and knew that I was loved. I was lead to His table; and I knew I was home.

Categories: beauty, Change, christianity, encouragement, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, identity, Jesus, life, listening, looks, love, Moving, people, perfection, prayer, purpose, reality, relationships, selfishness, words | Leave a comment
 
 

Work in Progress

I’ve had people ask me a lot of challenging questions this week. I’ve gone through many faith-challenging things these last few weeks. I found that through my walk with Christ, I’m able to give things to God more easily. When something comes up that I feel like I don’t know how to handle, I’ve learned to give it to God. It’s still a work in progress. That phrase, “a work in progress”, describes me well. My tennis skills: a work in progress. My gym class tolerance: a work in progress. My faith: a work in progress. Mackenzie: a work in progress. There are many things I need to work on, and many things God needs to work out of me.

I find that people often say “be strong” when you’re faced with hard circumstances, but I’ve found God tells me just the opposite. He tells me that through my weaknesses, he is made strong. Basically, he says “be weak.” When you become weak, you become flexible to God’s schedule as opposed to your own. You’re giving him control, letting him turn something into a masterpiece, instead of trying to make it on your own, without even knowing how. You’re trying to make something perfect out of nothing. Have you ever done pottery before? Imagine an instructor sitting a ball of clay before you and saying, make a flawless teapot. I don’t want to see any cracks, and make sure all the air bubbles our out and make sure you use the spiral method. Oh, and don’t forget to wedge and knead the clay before you hollow it out, also score and slip the pot before adding the handle. Unless you really know how to make pottery, you might be a little lost.

I’ll explain. If there are cracks in the clay you are molding with, it will be hard to shape and falls apart easily. If there are air bubbles in the clay when you fire it in the kiln, your masterpiece will explode. The spiral method of making pottery is difficult and it usually comes out lopsided if the clay “snake” is not rolled out evenly. You wedge and knead clay to get all the air bubbles out so it doesn’t explode in the kiln. You must also hollow out the inside of your pot because you couldn’t use it if you didn’t and also because there is a great chance there are air bubbles in that clay and it will explode in the kiln if you do not knead them out. You score and slip pieces of clay that you want to attach together, because they would not stick otherwise. Slip is a mixture of clay and water that acts as a glue for pieces of pottery. Scoring refers to the process of roughing up the surface area of the two objects that you want to attach, where you want to attach them; scoring is like making scratch marks in the clay with a utensil such as a plastic fork before slipping it and attaching it. If you do something wrong, your masterpiece will either fall apart or explode when you try to complete it.

I wonder how many of us, would have known exactly what to do, without being told any of that information. How many of us could have made perfect, flawless teapots? And yet we treat our lives like a piece of pottery that we know exactly how to mold, which is the biggest lie. Does a pot know how to mold itself? So for God to accomplish his purpose in us, we must first become weak and willing. We are all works in progress. None of us are perfect. I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I look at people who don’t seem to have any problems in their life and wish I were them. Comparing myself to a broken, useless person who God has fixed, isn’t perfection. It’s a broken useless person who God has fixed and given a purpose to. I’ve misunderstood and undoubtedly misplaced perfection. We have God’s full attention. He is intent on making us into something wonderful. We never take the time to notice that our creator is perfect. We never take the time to compare our own lives to his. We are too caught up in comparing ourselves to “perfect” people. Like I said, I’m a work in progress, and only when I become weak, can God turn me into something breath-taking.

1 Corinthians 4:6-7 (MSG)

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle.

Categories: beauty, Bible, clay, clay pot, comparision, Corinthians, creations, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, perfection, potter, pottery, purpose, relationships, Self-esteem, Thoughts, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The past few weeks have been a challenge and I was tempted to write a blog post about it. But finding out where to begin was hard, and I feel like I’ve posted enough posts about the sadness in my life. Optimistic and cheerful are two words describing me in the dictionary and I want to keep up the image. This blog is to encourage others in their faith, not to tell them my life story. So while I was worrying about what to do, a song came on my iPod.

“Here is a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life, we have some trouble
When you worry, you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……”

I love this song. If you’re having a bad day, this song is perfect. Spiritually this song has great value as well… but not as much as this verse:

Philippians 4:6-7(MSG)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

I hope today has been blessed, and don’t worry…don’t do it. Be Happy 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Categories: Bible, christianity, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, happiness, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, Moving, people, prayer, reality, speech, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, words, worry | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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