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Biblical Beauty Tips

Apr 8, 2017

I wonder how many books and articles have been written on how to be beautiful, how to stay young, and how to look good? It’s a topic most of us care about. I want to give you some beauty tips—and these are for men as well as women. I promise you, these are guaranteed to improve how you look to others—and they are right out of God’s Word!

Beauty Tips for Your Lips

For years I have prayed David’s prayer in Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” I often visualize two guards—one on each side of my mouth—keeping watch over what comes out of my lips. I can tell you that this is one of my greatest challenges—to let God control the words from my lips.

Our lips have the power to speak words of life or death. If you want to really improve how you look to others, the first place to start is by guarding the words that come out of your lips. I find that I must be intentional about this; I must be aware of what I say and I must consciously remember to speak words of encouragement and kindness.

Here are some guidelines I try to remember:

  • If you think something complimentary or encouraging about someone, speak what you’re thinking. Whether it’s a stranger or the person dearest to you, be sure to speak the kind words you think. Recently I was eating in a busy fast-food place, and I noticed one woman who was outstanding in her attitude and service to the customers. I made it a point to tell her how impressed I was with her. Why not? She deserved those words of encouragement. Don’t forget those closest to you—like your children, or your mate, or your co-workers. They need to hear kind words from you, too.
  • Don’t speak words that don’t have to be spoken. Proverbs 17:27 tells us that one who has knowledge uses words with restraint. In other words, if you’re smart, you won’t talk too much. I often remind myself that I don’t have to say everything I’m thinking!
  • Speak words of praise to God out loud anytime you can. Let your ears hear words of praise coming from your lips. In Psalm 119:171, the Psalmist says, “May my lips overflow with praise….” When your lips overflow with praise, they become beautiful lips! This is one way to encourage yourself. Speak words of praise, even if your heart is heavy. It will make a difference.


My first beauty tip is to make your lips beautiful by speaking words of life. Words are the fruit of your lips, so “let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).

Beauty Tips for Your Eyes

Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23). Jesus uses an obvious illustration about eyes to explain the importance of spiritual eyesight. When your physical eyes function properly, you can see whatever is visible. But poor eyesight means that images are distorted and you are seeing the world around you with poor perception.

The kind of beautiful eyes you need are what I call “Forever Eyes”: the ability to see your circumstances, your world, and the people in your world from an eternal perspective. When your eyes are Forever Eyes, they make your whole body bright. This kind of eyesight helps you see people the way Jesus sees them, enabling you to be compassionate and loving toward others because you see them through Forever Eyes. It gives you a right perspective of the circumstances of your life, and keeps you from being obsessed by things that really don’t matter.

I well remember a time when I worked for a difficult manager and I kept trying to get out of that job. Finally God made it clear that he had me there, working for that difficult person, for a reason: God wanted to change me! So, for the first time, I began to pray that God would help me see this man the way God saw him—to see him through Forever Eyes. Changing the focus of my eyes changed me overnight! From that day forward, I was able to have compassion for this man.

Beautiful eyes are those that see from God’s perspective rather than from a selfish one. How do you get Forever Eyes? You pray them on each day. For those of us who wear glasses or contacts, we have to put them on each day in order to see clearly. The same is true for Forever Eyes. Each morning, pray for God to give you Forever Eyes for that day.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you. . .” (Ephesians 1:18). That’s a good way to start your day! Pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened so you can see through God’s eyes. Then, I promise: you will have beautiful eyes!

Beauty Tips for Your Posture

I can remember as a teenager my mom often telling me, “Mary, stand up straight!” She recognized how important posture is in how people see you. If you walk or sit with your shoulders straight and your head held high, you definitely present a much more attractive appearance.

What should your posture be as God’s child? You need to stand up straight and firm on the sure foundation of God’s Word! That means, of course, you have to continually be learning truth from God’s Word through Bible study. Are you involved in an intentional, focused study of God’s Word, either on your own or in a small group? If not, why not? If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, there really can’t be a good excuse for not studying the Bible.

A Christian’s posture should be one of standing firm because of what Christ has done for you. One of my favorite passages is Psalm 40:2-3: “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.” When you’ve been taken out of the world’s slimy pit and given a firm place to stand, your posture should be one of praise and joy! As a result, many should recognize what God has done for you.

A Christian’s posture should also be one of standing straight and firm even when life is hard. Proverbs 10:25 says, “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Do you have a posture of standing firm in the midst of life’s storms?

This biblical beauty tip is to make sure you have good posture: Stand firm in your faith; let nothing move you. Remember, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Beauty Tips for Your Hands

If I wrote, “I’m going to have a mani and a pedi,” would you know what I meant? I think most of us women would know the shorthand we use for manicures and pedicures. That’s what we do to keep our hands and feet looking good. As your beauty consultant with beauty tips from the Bible, I want to share how you can keep your hands really beautiful.

Psalm 24:3-5 says, “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. He will receive blessing from the Lord.”

As parents, we had to frequently remind our children when they were young to wash their hands, because dirty hands carry germs and that can cause illness. The same is true for you spiritually: you need to frequently “wash your hands” and make sure that you keep your heart pure. You do that by confessing your sins willingly and regularly, keeping short accounts with the Lord, so that your heart is pure.

Beautiful hands are hands that reach out to help others. In describing the ideal woman, Proverbs 31:20 says, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” In these last months, God has really been convicting me of the importance of reaching out to those who are hungry, and those who are in bondage and slavery; right here in our own country, as well as far off. Throughout Scripture, again and again we are told to take care of the poor and the orphan, the widow and the oppressed. Hands that help those who are needy are the most beautiful hands! What have you done recently to help the poor and needy?

Beautiful hands are busy hands. Proverbs 12:24 says that “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.” The Bible further says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Lastly, your hands should be used to praise the Lord. Psalm 47:1 declares, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Psalm 134:2 says to “Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.” Paul wrote this to young Timothy: “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing” (I Timothy 2:8). Your hands should be used to praise the Lord!

Beauty Tips for Your Feet

How about your feet? Are they beautiful? I admit that I don’t think of feet as being beautiful—certainly not my feet. But the Bible describes beautiful feet in Isaiah 52:7:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

For your feet to be beautiful, you must use them to tell the good news that Jesus has come to bring peace and salvation. You must be bold in proclaiming that our God reigns and he is Lord of heaven and earth. Wherever your feet take you each day, are you finding opportunities to bring good news and proclaim salvation? That is what makes feet beautiful!

Proverbs 4:26 says, “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” You are responsible for the paths that your feet take. Level paths will take you to church regularly, to fellowship with other believers, to people and places who will edify you and build you up.

I think of how easily I can choose a path of convenience, a path of self-glory, a path of laziness, or a path of wasted time. Those are not firm paths, but they look very inviting sometimes, don’t they?

David wrote the following: “My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped” (Psalm 17:5). As long as he made level paths for his feet, that was true. However, on one occasion he chose a wrong path—the path of adultery. His commitment to keep his feet from slipping was overcome by his passion…and his feet slipped. The consequences of that wrong path were devastating for David and his family.

I recently heard Andy Stanley say that the number one enemy of wisdom is our passion. David had the wisdom to know that he should not take that adulterous path, but he allowed his passion to overrule wisdom.

Proverbs 4:26-27 is a warning written by David’s son, Solomon:

Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

The word of God must be the lamp to your feet and the light for your path. I encourage you today to make sure your feet are beautiful, they stay on the right path, and they bring good news to the people in your world.


What Is Caesar’s and What Is God’s?

Apr 1, 2017

Jesus said, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) The context and occasion when Jesus made this statement was one of those times when the Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus. The story is found in Matthew 22:15-22. They posed a question which they figured would catch him off guard and cause him to indict himself with his own words.

The passage reads like this:

“Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.

The Pharisees were trying to get Jesus to contradict himself. He had been proclaiming that God does not regard one person higher than another and is not impressed with their hypocritical religiosity. If they could get him to say that Caesar was of no importance and, because he was not a man of God, they owed him no allegiance, then they’d have Jesus in trouble with the law and could get him arrested.

But Jesus was too smart for their scheming. In answering them, he gave to all of us a very important biblical principle: our allegiance to Jesus Christ does not relieve us of our duties to others, even to people who may not be godly. We are to be good citizens and examples of giving to others what is rightfully theirs.

I’d like to apply this principle to your working world, especially if you are employed and have someone in authority over you, someone who hands you a paycheck at regular intervals. This principle applies even more if your employer is not a Christ-follower and does not adhere to Christian principles. If you think of your employer—your boss—as the Caesar in your life, then you can apply this principle to your particular situation; it can give you some very good guidance on your behavior and responsibility as an employee.

Let’s think about the things a Christian employee owes to their employer, the things that are rightfully due an employer or boss, whether they are Christian or not:

  1. You Owe Hard Work

A Christian employee should always give their employer an honest day’s work for the money they receive. If you have agreed to do a certain job for a certain paycheck, then you owe that work to your employer.

Sadly, not everyone works hard for their employer. If you’ve been in the working world very long, you’ve certainly seen many people who maybe work one hour in three. They spend much of their working day talking on the phone, taking care of personal matters, talking to a co-worker, or just dragging their feet instead of working diligently.

At one time, I designed a training program for a client. One of my first tasks was to understand the problem and the people better. So I spent a good bit of time interviewing employees. I heard a constant complaint that they had too much work to do, that the employer was asking too much of them. Finally, I said to one employee, “Do you really think you’re asked to do more than you can accomplish in eight hours of honest work?” She was very candid in answering me, saying, “Mary, we used to have to work four to five hours a day in an eight-hour shift. Now they want us to work seven.”

This situation is very common today. Many people are offended if you ask them to give eight-hours of work for eight-hours of pay. There seems to be an attitude that the employer owes eight-hours of pay for maybe four-hours of work, and to ask more is really outrageous.

To give to your employer what is rightfully theirs, a Christian should always give a full day’s work. You should never take advantage of your employer by cheating them out of time and work that is due to them. Your work habits should be noticeably different from those who try to take advantage of the employer, and your attitude should be one of being desirous to give the employer what is their rightful due—hard work for your pay.

  1. You Owe Protection of Employer’s Assets

What belongs to your employer is yours to use for business purposes, not for your own personal benefit. You need to realize that taking your employer’s assets is simply stealing. I’m well aware that this is a common practice, and people don’t think of it as stealing; here again, Christians have standards higher than those of this world’s. If you render to Caesar what is rightfully theirs, then you will be careful not to steal from your employer and to do everything you can to conserve their money and their assets.

Those pencils and pads, paper clips and file folders which are supplied by your employer should not end up in your desk at home for your own personal use. Expense accounts should be meticulously honest and fair.

  1. You Owe Loyalty

As long as you’re willing to take your paycheck from your employer, you owe them respect and loyalty. It is a very common thing for employees to constantly degrade and talk negatively about their employer. But a Christian should not be found stabbing them in the back or running them down to others.

This should be a point of distinction for a Christian employee. It should be quite noticeable that you do not enter into the office gossip and character assassination of anyone, especially of your boss and employer. If you find you cannot give this respect and loyalty to your employer, then you should move on. It’s wrong to work for someone and, at the same time, disparage them and constantly gripe and complain about them.

Once again, here are three things that I believe you owe to your “Caesar,” your employer: 1) An honest day’s work; 2) protection of their assets by being careful not to use company assets for your own benefit; and 3) loyalty. Ask yourself if you are giving to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. That is what Jesus told us to do, and we must be careful to obey, both in the little and big things. Jesus said he knows we love him if we keep his commandments. This, then, is one way to show Jesus you love him, and it’s a good way to establish a strong testimony on your job.

Now, let’s think about what you do not owe to your employer, for the other half of this principle is to give to God what is God’s.

  1. You Do Not Owe Dishonesty or Deception

God requires of you a life of integrity and honesty; there is no such thing as a white lie. Lying for your employer is giving to them what is due to God. An employer has no right to ask an employee to lie or deceive in any way.

You may be thinking, “But my boss tells me to lie for him. What do I do?” Well, if you can avoid a confrontation by simply not lying, then I recommend that. For instance, instead of saying, “He’s not in,” when he is, say, “I’m sorry, he’s not available.” That’s the truth and you don’t even have to make an issue of it.

However, if your boss explicitly asks you to lie for him or her, this is where you have to take a stand and not render to that employer what is not due them. If they make an issue out of it, you could simply say, “If I lie for you, how would you know that I would not lie to you? I think I could handle the situation acceptably in another way.”

If your employer asks you to falsify reports or alter statistics to make them look better, that is another place where a Christian cannot render to Caesar what belongs to God. When obeying an employer causes you to disobey a Christian principle, then your course of action is clear: you obey God rather than man. That may cost you a job; it may cost you promotions or favor with the bosses. There is a price for true discipleship. But there should be no question as to what is right for you to do.

  1. You Do Not Owe Dishonorable Activity

You do not owe your employer participation in any activity that is dishonorable. Socializing after work or with customers is the American way, but frequently it is not the godly way. There are jobs where this type of after-hours activity is common and expected, and the people who get ahead are those who take part in these questionable activities. If you’re expected to participate in social occasions where lewd conversation or behavior is common, then you have a decision to make: will you render to Caesar what belongs to God?

No employer has a right to require you to be a part of compromising situations in order to keep your job. That is not their rightful due.

  1. You Do Not Owe All of Your Energy and Time

If you must constantly give your employer twelve-hours a day and weekends, you’re probably giving to Caesar what belongs to God. While it’s true you owe them an honest day’s work, if you give far more than that in order to get ahead, such that there’s no time left for your family, friends, church or yourself, then you’re getting into dangerous spiritual territory.

This one is tough to deal with because you may feel guilty that you’re not at work late hours, or you worry about what others will think about you for not being there on Sunday to work. Again, it may be a costly decision, for it’s true that some employers expect every drop of your time and energy in order to keep your job or get promotions. But don’t be fooled by this world’s false standards of excellence. You owe God time and a balanced lifestyle. If you put him first, he’ll honor that commitment.

Remember that someday we will all stand before God and give an account for everything we’ve done. Do you ever think about that? What will you say if you’ve failed to give your employer what is rightfully theirs? What will you say if you have given your employer what really belongs to God and have compromised your standards and principles? When we get an eternal viewpoint and see things the way God sees them, it sure makes a difference.

Ask God to show you today where you need to apply this principle in your life. In 1 Timothy 4, we read that we are to be examples in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Verse 16 says, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” It’s not always easy to do, but you’ll be glad when you stand before God that you have given to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and given to God what belongs to God.


Don’t Miss the Big Picture

Dec 30, 2016


Are you ready to say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017? It’s about that time, whether you’re ready or not!  However, before we close the door on 2016, I think it would be helpful to simply survey these past twelve months—the good, the bad and the ugly, as they say.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

Speak to one another with psalm, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ  (Ephesians 5:19-20)

We are to give thanks to God even for the things that didn’t work out the way we wanted them to, or the really difficult things that happened to us. And sometimes you have to do that by faith, not by feelings, because who feels thankful for difficult circumstances—for financial hardships or relationship struggles; for lost jobs or sick loved ones? But if you will give thanks anyway—a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord—you will be able to close out 2016 with hope and anticipation of the good things God has for you in 2017.

As 2016 comes to a close, I want to end on a note of great encouragement for you and for me, from these wonderful passages in God’s Word:

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:27-31

And from our Savior, Jesus Christ, his wonderful promise to us:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3

Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20b

That is God’s big picture, and because he lives and because he has promised to be with us, and because he is coming back to take us to be with him, we have a bright future in 2017.

Happy, blessed, joyful New Year.


Don’t Miss the Big Picture

Dec 29, 2016


If you’ve been a partner with us for awhile, you are no doubt aware that my name changed from Mary Whelchel on December 31st of last year, when I was married to a long-time good friend. That was a change that was not on my radar screen, but it was a blessing and a gift from God to both of us. Interestingly, that name change was the beginning of some other significant changes for me in 2016.

Was 2016 full of lots of change for you, too? You know, even good change, positive change, has its challenges and brings stress into our lives. But negative change is even more stressful. I watched a good friend this year as she approached her final days. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which normally means only a very few months to live, God graciously gave her two and a half years after the diagnosis. But she went to be with Jesus in October.

Her ability to face her upcoming death was amazing. She made the most of every day she had. She spent time with her large family, taking each young grandchild for a day, to express her love and her hopes for them; to give them memories of their Grandmother which will last forever. She kept all her church ministry jobs, giving to others as she had done all her life. She never once used her sickness as an excuse. Her hospitality was legendary, and she kept having lots of people in for meals and overnight stays.

So often I wanted to say to her, “You can take it easy; we want you to take it easy; we want to do for you.”  But she would have none of that. She kept a big picture in mind—how she wanted to be remembered by her family; how she wanted all of us not to worry about her, but just to enjoy our time with her. How she wanted to end very well—and she did.

In the midst of tough situations, terrible diagnoses, bad news, or heartache of any kind, we can learn as she did to live everyday with the big picture in mind. To think of the legacy we are leaving; to make sure we are role-modeling for those coming behind us how to face life’s hard times with God’s grace and peace.

As you look back over 2016, even if there were few cloudless days, be sure to thank God for bringing you through, for his presence with you each of those difficult days, and for his promise that the future is secure and bright, because you will be with him forever.


Don’t Miss the Big Picture

Dec 28, 2016


What a difference a year makes! I’m surveying the year that is quickly passing—2016—to make sure I don’t miss the big picture of what God has been doing in my life over these past twelve months. It’s a really good opportunity for all of us who are Christ-followers to slow down and make sure we recognize and appreciate how our lives have been guided by the Lord.

What changes did you encounter in 2016? We know that change—whether positive or negative—produces stress, and stress affects us physically, emotionally and spiritually. This past year was full of changes for me. I went from single to married, and that is about as big as change gets. Then my husband and I moved to a new home, and that brought lots of change. In the midst of navigating all those changes, through my church we have opened a residential home for sexually trafficked women, and that is currently under my leadership, and so my ministry duties have increased and changed dramatically.

You know, when your life is full of positive changes, you may think it’s not really stressful. I mean, how exciting can it be to get married? Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the team that helps women find healing through Jesus from terrible trauma? How special is it to just witness the miracles that have made this new outreach possible? It’s amazing, but once again, the trees in the forest can become so overwhelming that you miss the big picture.

So, I have to regularly stop and remind myself of how blessed I am to have a godly man at my side, encouraging and helping me. And I have to regularly remember that the daily minutia and obstacles and delays we have encountered as we get our home ready for this new outreach are not what I should focus on. Instead, I have to remember that this is God’s work, not mine, and I am so very privileged just to have a little part in it. When I can stop and see the big picture, and remember what it’s all about, then I can cope with the stress that comes with the changes.

How about you?  Have you lost sight of the big picture that God is working in your life? Have the changes of 2016 so overwhelmed you that you’re missing the blessings that come with the change? If so, why don’t you just take a few minutes—maybe even right now, but sometime before this year ends—and make a list of all the blessings that God has given you in 2016. Look at everything from God’s perspective, with Forever Eyes, thank God for what he has done for you and through you in 2016.


Don’t Miss the Big Picture

Dec 27, 2016


It’s December 27th and 2016 is coming to a close. You made it through Christmas and hopefully you’ve been able to slow down a bit and think back over this past year. It’s a good time for reflection and I’m encouraging you to take a look at God’s big picture for 2016—what was his purpose and plan through everything you’ve experienced in the past twelve months?

My year was full of lots of good things—marriage, a new house, starting up a new ministry, some really fun vacations and trips, and my Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908!  But in the midst of all that, it seems like this past year has been full of sad things, too. Loss from death of several people near me; walking with a friend through her final days; very bad health news from other close friends; and in general, the political season we’ve lived through with all its negativity and pollution—these things have seemed to pile up and cause a cloud of sadness for me at times.

Do you feel as though 2016 was under a cloud of sadness for you? Maybe it was one of your worst years in some ways. It often seems that bad news comes in multiples, and so you may be celebrating the end of 2016 in hopes that the New Year will be brighter. It could be that 2016 is a year you’re glad to say goodbye to.

How can we, who are Christ-followers, face great sadness in our lives? What’s the big picture there? You may think there is no upside to your 2016 picture. I understand, and I don’t intend to make light of what you’ve gone through. But I just want to remind you to look beyond the present situation, whatever it is, and remember that God is still sovereign and you haven’t read the last chapter yet.

One discipline I’ve tried to practice in my everyday life, when I’m frustrated or upset, is to ask myself, “What difference will this make in twenty-four hours?”  And that helps to keep me from allowing little irritations or disappointments to get to me. If it doesn’t matter in twenty-four hours, it really doesn’t matter. But I would recommend a slightly different reminder, as you survey the sad, dark cloud that seemed to hang over 2016 for you. And that is:  “What difference will this make in eternity?”  The challenge is to keep an eternal perspective. God is in control, he is trustworthy, and we have amazing good things to look forward to. It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

So, pray for an eternal perspective. Ask God to help you see his big picture, and even though you had a tough year, you can be encouraged and strengthened for the New Year, because God has the big picture in his hands and it’s going to be good.

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