Nobility of Repentance

How rich the words on the tongue, “I was wrong.”

Apologize to the one or many you may have hurt.

Regret.

Despair.

The absolute end. The bottom.

It may be we had to sink into an inky cave of sorrow and distress before we could do it. Our tongue thickened when we thought of it, our mouth dried into an autumn thorny residue when we set to scrabble out the words: “It is I. I deserve the blame. I am responsible. I am sorry.” Our lives never exist alone; we cannot say, “leave my children out of this, hold your hand over their eyes, stop up their ears–or my parents, or my siblings. Not my husband. Not my wife.” No matter how close or how distant, our blood couples us . . .and our vows. How bitter the conscience of one who knows he fueled the turmoil. How rich the words on his tongue, “I was wrong.”

What a righteous role model is David of the Old Testament. When the prophet Nathan famously told him of the rich man and of the one ewe lamb David thought he was only hearing the account of an arrogant, ill-mannered individual. He was angered, and spoke of punishment for the man. No doubt Nathan’s eyes reflected the pity in his heart for this righteous man who incredibly had fallen into sexual sin, and whose hands were dirtied with murderous blood. Nevertheless, he looked directly at David and spoke the harrowing words, “Thou art the man.”  

Nathan then listed David’s sins, and immediately, offering no excuses, nor blame on others, with nothing but a repentant attitude, David affirmed, “I have sinned against God.”  Indeed, he was the man.

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. II Samuel 12:7

Bible KJV

When that blessed moment comes–the minute God helps us to recognize our wrongdoing–let us not hesitate to say Yes to His call, Yes to His love, Yes to repentance–noble, majestic repentance.

My other blog is here.

Just a Shaky, Muddy Frame

Too well do I know my lack of godly qualities. If you were in my company for any length of time, you would no doubt agree with my assessment, having observed less than sterling attitudes and actions. However, since in quite limited ways are you able to examine my soul and mind—my very thoughts and intents—it is next to impossible for you to know me as I know myself. While I am fearfully in touch with my own struggles, my doubts and failures, it brings me no joy to acknowledge such shortcomings.

It’s good for me to say these things, though. And, it’s good for you to hear of my sad state, for while every man and woman struggles—indeed sins—satan would have all of us believe we are the only ones who with such regularity and skill falter and fail. He smears guilt on our psyche and gloatingly sneers, “God can’t love you. You won’t be saved. You’re bound for hell. Look at you. You’re nothing but a sinner.” Not at all is this true.

This morning I want to remind you that God knows—really knows—us. And despite His knowledge of every secret sin, He continues to love us, His mercy still flows, His grace abounds. Oh, happy thought, blessed thought; comfort divine.

David had a unique understanding of this truth—David, the “man after God’s own heart,” David, the king who committed unspeakable sin. In his 103rd Psalm, verses 13-14, moved by the Holy Ghost, David eloquently writes:

“Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

Oh, my God, how beautiful, how glorious! God knows us, looks on us fondly, even pities us. He understands our frame, recalls that of mere dust has been made lowly man. You?…yep! You’re just dust…and I?…the same…muddy, shaky, a pitiful frame.

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Reposted from Feb. 2, 2006

Rooted in Sin, We

Someone directed me to a video that was produced during the arraignment of James Holmes, and I am almost sorry I watched it. It upset me, for as I watched the image of that handsome young man with his bulging eyes and that ridiculous red hair, I thought of his mother and of the unspeakable pain she must be suffering.I thought of sin, of hanging by rope, or death by electric chair, or by a needle filled with poison. I thought of the victims in that theater, and evil, and devil possession. . . and sometimes in the night when I wake up, I see those blaring eyes and think of my own sinful self, my children, my friends. I consider mercy.

Today I read an article by Mike Duran in which he brought up the subject of
Jeffrey Dahmer. As you probably will remember,

“By the time he was arrested, Dahmer had already committed 17 murders. But there was more. As the story unfolded, so did a macabre tale of cannibalism and necrophilia. Mummified body parts were found throughout his apartment. There were three human heads in the refrigerator, some hands in a pot of water on the stove and three torsos liquefying in a keg of acid.”

I knew that part, and that in prison, Jeffrey Dahmer had been murdered, but Mr. Duran goes on to note that

“In a glass jar in a Wisconsin hospital, there was a brain. At first glance it looked like any other brain – soft, grey, cauliflower-like. There was no apparent damage or deformity to it, but this brain was special because it belonged to Jeffrey Dahmer.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s body was cremated, according to his wishes; his brain, however, was preserved and kept under lock and key. Serial killers are rare – their brains, more so. Maybe in this moist, messy labyrinth scientists could find the cause of, and cure for, such deviance.

So there was Jeffrey Dahmer’s brain, surrounded by quizzical onlookers, hoping to examine its contents. What would they find inside? A chemical imbalance or a birth defect? Remnants of a cowardly surrender or a great war? These questions had to wait, because not far from the hospital, there was a courtroom where another type of inquiry was beginning. Lawyers argued and lines were drawn until the gavel sounded. Jeffrey’s father had his request and thus, almost a year after his son’s death, the brain was incinerated.

So as far as we know, no one examined the brain of Jeffrey Dahmer. But as Mike Duran has reminded me today, there is within each of us–somewhere –a root of sin. It may not be visible in our brains, but all of us have it. Although we are stunned at these heinous acts, and although we who read here cannot even grasp how a human being can perform such acts, Scripture points to us all being rooted in sin. It is frightening, but honest, to consider the depraved depths to which a human may descend.

Is there derangement in the brain of James Holmes? Likely. Did such evil thoughts and actions spring from sin? Yes.

Such writing as I am doing here today is to remind us of who we actually are. It is to humble us and to cause us anew to fall on Jesus Christ, our advocate. “Me?” you ask. “Is it I?”

The answer is yes, for in Romans 3:10, Paul reminds us: ” . . .There is none righteous, no, not one:”

Jesus Is For Losers

I don’t know who Stephen Jones is, but he is reputed in a great post on Half Write to have originated this title. In a comment there Gary reminded me of this scripture.

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39

Perused strictly from a carnal understanding, this portion of scripture makes no sense at all, but when spiritually understood, it is a Christian’s promise of the most glorious assurance. It is a spectacular announcement that goes to the heart of Hope and entangles itself with the eternal, extending into that not comprehended by mere mortal thinking.

It’s one of God’s gleaming principles: lose your life and you will find it! So, yes, Jesus is for losers. We give up the “pleasures of sin,” and gain instead splendor and glory–not only in Heaven, but in a life lived on this earth in a godly, righteous, fulfilling manner.

Along the way we lose other things. Love it!

We lose drunkenness and carousing. We lose wretched morning after hangovers. We lose brawls in our homes and sleepless nights and hiding in the dark. We lose the fear of passing a police car on the street, of hearing the dreaded knock of authorities on our door, of the lack of peace when we slip into our beds at night. We lose the horrific thought of standing before God, unprepared. We lose drug-induced comas and vomiting into the midnight gutter. We lose homelessness, and friendlessness. We lose too the posibility of hearing the words, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”

We’re losers, alright, happy, joyful, Heaven-bound losers.

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My other blog is here.

The Drinking Issue

Over the months that we have been ministering here in Lake Havasu Jerry and I have come into close contact with a great number of people who struggle with alcohol and other drug addictions. Of a certainty these experiences have caused me to think closely about alcohol and its addictive properties. Consequently, more than at any other time in my life I have looked intensely at the social consequences of these addictions, and in significant depth I have studied the biblical teaching surrounding this issue.

The wisdom found in the holy Word of God is unimpeachable and irreproachable, and we are not at liberty to disobey God’s laws–certainly not because of human reasoning and traditions. If then, I will approach this venerated book with a searching mind and a righteous attitude I should be able to understand God’s Voice in this regard and inculcate His teachings into my own thinking. The next step for me would be to share my understanding with those around me who also are questing and needy. Obviously, the scope of this site does not encourage a thorough study on the subject, but I do want to speak to a few points.

** The bible teaches against drinking alcoholic beverages.

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.” Proverbs 23:31

Yayin is a Hebrew word for wine, and could refer to either fermented or unfermented wine. Obviously, in this case, the word refers to fermented wine–“It moveth itself”–and we are commanded not to look at it lustfully. This is referring to alcoholic wine.

** Jesus did not create intoxicating wine.

But, some object, did not Jesus create wine at the wedding party? Yes, He turned the water into wine, but surely the wine he created was of the non-intoxicating variety. Jesus knew of this scripture in Proverbs–indeed He was responsible for its being written, for II Peter 1:21 says:

“…holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Jesus was well aware of this scripture, and given His holy and righteous nature, He could not act in a way that was contrary to these words. Read what Dr. Henry Morris has to say on this subject.

“In view of the long trip from Bethabara to Cana, it is probable that Jesus and the disciples arrived late to the wedding only to find that the guests had exhausted the wine supply and had “well drunk” (literally had “become drunken”–John 2:10). ‘Have well drunk’ is one word in the Greek (methuo) meaning simply “are drunk” and is translated with this meaning in every other instance where it is used (Matthew 24:49).

…These six waterpots (normally used for washing feet) when full would contain about 150 gallons. [Jesus ordered them filled with water, and turned the water into wine.] This much additional intoxicating wine would certainly be too much for guests who were already drunk, and it is inconceivable that Jesus would provide such. This “good wine” had been miraculously created by the Creator and was brand new, with no time to ferment and become old, intoxicating wine. The Greek word oinos was used for the juice of grapes in general, the same word for both unfermented and fermented wine, with the context determining which. The decay process, utilizing leaven (always in Scripture representing corruption) to convert good fresh wine into old, intoxicating wine, could not have acted in this case because Christ Himself had created the wine in its originally intended form before sin and decay entered the world. In this form, it was certainly the best wine, having all the health-giving, joy-inspiring character it was created to exhibit in the beginning. It was probably the same wine which Christ will provide in “that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29), and it will certainly not induce drunkenness.” (Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defenders Bible – notes)

The ancient sage, Chrysostom, born in A.D. 344, says,

“Now, indeed, making plain that it is He who changes into wine the water in the vines and the rain drawn up by the roots. He produced instantly at the wedding feast that which is formed in the plant during a long course of time.” Bible commentary, p. 305

** Israel did not drink strong drink during their 40 years of wandering

“Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.” Deuteronomy 29:6

** Jesus knew of Habakkuk 2:15

“Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and maketh him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!”

** Priests were forbidden to drink wine or other strong drink. Jesus is our high priest.

“Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die.” Leviticus 10:9

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God…” Hebrews 2:17

** Even society acknowledges alcoholic as being harmful.

For the first time alcoholic beverages have been listed as a known human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in its “Report on Carcinogens” 9th edition.

The majority of crimes are associated with alcohol. According to CADE, Alcohol is a factor in 85 % of college rapes. Alcohol damages the brain, and rapes the body.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) describes the range of abnormalities in children born to mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy and is a lifelong disability involving considerable personal and social costs. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most well known of the range of disease and is also the most severe. FASD is characterized by prenatal and/or postnatal growth deficiency, facial anomalies, and neurological dysfunction or mental retardation (Diagnostic Guide for FAS and Related Conditions, 9). Children with full blown FAS are the extreme end of a larger spectrum of effects that lessens in magnitude as the alcohol intake of the mother decreases (Braun, 1996). Children whose mothers drank moderately (1 to 3 drinks per day) are prone to numerous learning disorders like slower reaction times, poor attention capabilities, and lower intelligence (Braun, 1996). FASD has surpassed Down’s syndrome and Spina Bifida as the leading cause of mental retardation in the United States and is the only one of the three that is preventable.

** The media is known to be less than accurate in reporting, and may present alcohol in an undeserved favorable light.

June Russell writes extensively of that issue here. Reports of Wine’s Benefits Go Unchallenged by Media

A few days ago, Jerry and I entered the home of newly-found friends. The man lay sprawled on the couch, his drawn and suffering wife hovered over him and over us. On the table beside the couch were used-up beer bottles and a partially emptied whiskey bottle.

“I’m sick, Pastor. I’m really sick,” the man said, looking at us with red, glazed eyes.

We talked, cried, cajoled, prayed and finally got him into our car and, with his wife, drove four hours to another state where was a rehab center that had a bed for him and that would admit our handsome, young friend.

In a sad stupor, he rode in the front seat with Jerry, rousing from time to time to engage in drunken and slurred speech. At the facility, we finally got him from the car and into the admitting place. Now, though, he had changed his mind, and refused to be admitted. We spent a couple of hours, trying, along with his wife and with the staff to convince him to stay. He became more and more adamant and enraged. His wife was crying, pleading, and at one point screaming at him. He had been drunk for days.

Finally, we loaded him back in the car, retraced our tracks and drove the four hours to Lake Havasu, and into the driveway of their house. It was now past midnight.

“Sorry, Pastor. Thank you…sorry. Maybe I’ll go later.” He staggered into the house.

Edit: Monday evening–Our friend has admitted himself to a rehab center. Please pray for him and for his wife. These are very trying days for both of them.

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My other blog is here.

The Disturbing Church of Oprah

Yesterday, on both CBGrace’s and Rochelle’s sites I saw this disturbing video. I’ll be making comments, but you probably will also profit by going to these other sites and reading there.

This is disturbing, for tens of thousands of Americans are now attending Oprah’s Church. The doctrine she endorses is not Bible based–indeed it flies in the face of sound biblical interpretation. This smacks of the anti-Christ to me, and I am astonished that multiplied thousands of Christians are flocking to this.

Consider this scripture in Isaiah 5:19-21, 24

“Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: …Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

It both puzzles and saddens me that so many people will reject God’s Word, which through the stormy testing of time and incident, stands true, relative and with the promise of eternal life, and yet these same ones will spend time, energy and money in studying so intensely the words of a mere man. It is called deception, and, with careless abandon will fling souls into hell.

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My other blog is here.

The Mocking of Sin

I have been startled at developments in our country during the last few days.

1. Senator Obama defends his pastor–a pastor who is a racist, calls Israel a “bad word,” curses in the pulpit, tells blatant lies, and says repeatedly, God d– America.

2. Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York, resigns in disgrace after it was revealed that he was involved in a prostitution ring.

3. Replacement Governor of New York, David Paterson, on the day after he is sworn in, admits to multiple affairs.

4. Ex New Jersey governor, Jim McGreevey, confesses to 3-way sex–with another man and with his wife.

My head was spinning after following all these stories. And then I read that some people down in Macon, Ga. have decided this business of Spitzer calls for a party, that everyone is invited, and that they are handing out prizes, and are planning a big time of celebration. It appears that very serious infractions against God, families and against the laws of the land are to be honored with levity and frivolity. As I read this abysmal news, I recalled the column I wrote a few days ago recounting God’s admonition to detest sin, to abhor it, and even to avoid the very appearance of evil. Sin is not cute or funny, I concluded in that column. It certainly should not call out parades and confetti and party hats. This is disgusting, and I find such antics un-amusing.

From Fox News:

Disgraced New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is on his way out of the governor’s mansion, but he already has been offered a gig with a minor league baseball team.

The Macon Music team in Macon, Ga., announced it will host “Eliot Spitzer Night” on June 13, and it claims it has invited Spitzer himself to come on down and throw out the first pitch.

The team has apparently thought this through.

On its Web site, the Macon Music — part of the independent South Coast League — is offering a slate of minor league gimmicks tailored to the latest headlines out of New York. Spitzer announced his resignation Wednesday amid accusations that he paid for the services of a high-priced call girl in Washington, D.C.

Among the highlights on Eliot Spitzer Night:

“Client #9 (or fan #9) will receive a free Music prize pack,” the team says on its Web site.

“Any fan with the name Eliot, Spitzer, or ‘Kristen’ along with any fan from New York will receive $1 off admission.” Kristen is how the call girl is identified in investigative documents.

“ATMs will be available for cash withdrawals not to exceed $5,000 per hour,” the team says.

It may seem funny now, and it may appear that those who mock sin and who mock God and who disregard holiness and righteousness are none the worse for their stance. I suggest we not be fooled, for God’s Word speaks clearly:

“…Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

and here:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Payday surely comes. Earned wages inevitably will be paid. There will be no mocking on that day, no defense, no arrogance, no derision.

I don’t always do it just right, I falter, make mistakes, even sow in the wrong field at times, but…I’m determined, I discipline myself and frequently do I check the seed within my hand and the ground beneath my feet. For on that eternal payday, that shuddering judgment day, I have a steely resolve to be standing in God’s holy and blood-washed line.

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My other blog is here.

The Only Means of Prosperity

In Prayer, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.

“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.” II Chronicles 26:5

Oh, what a powerful lesson is found here in this chapter. At the soft age of 16 years, following the killing of his father, Amaziah, who had turned from God, the people of Judah took Uzziah and declared him king of Israel. For fifty-two years, in the city of Jerusalem, Uzziah reigned as a godly, highly productive king.

He successfully fought the Philistines, to the extent that he completely broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh, and Ashdod, then striding in and claiming his spoil, the conqueror Uzziah built cities, even among the Philistines. He built towers in Jerusalem at the corner gate, at the valley gate, and at the turning of the wall–strong towers, fortified entrenchments. He built towers in the desert, and dug numerous wells. He ran cattle in the plains, and hired gardeners and farmers, and planted vineyards.

His armies were vast, including his special forces–the mighty men of valour who numbered two thousand and six hundred. Uzziah prepared his men well, handing out shields and spears and helmets and and bows and slings. He was a brilliant ruler and supreme Commander-in-Chief. He saw to cunning men who invented engines in Jerusalem to operate atop the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones should enemy forces advance to the city walls.

His fame spread, the Ammonites gave him gifts and his name was shouted abroad even to the borders of Egypt. He was strong, a marvel, highly respected, and heaped with honor.

Decades passed, and after a godly, prosperous reign of fifty-two years, Uzziah of course was no longer a young man. Then in verse 16 comes unexpected and sad news: Uzziah’s heart became lifted up, and in an arrogant moment, he decided to go into the temple and burn incense. Now understand, this was definitely beyond his calling as king, for the temple services were relegated to the priests. It was God’s plan, God’s order. The priests saw Uzziah and tried to stop him, but he became furious…and at that moment, he became a leper. Right before the eyes of the priests, leprosy clamped onto Uzziah’s forehead.

He was cast out, cut off from the house of the Lord, and from his office as king. He died a leper.

Reflect with me on our beginning scripture: “…as long as he (Uzziah) sought the LORD, God made him to prosper.”

What a lesson is here for us today. It is only through seeking God that we will ultimately prosper. The understanding that our own abilities and successes are nothing without God’s blessing is vital. We become helpless, cast out and demeaned if we dare reach in our hand where such is forbidden. Only when we seek God, only when we follow His law and His spirit will we truly prosper.

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My other blog is here.

 

God Said, “Abhor It.”

As a younger person, I can’t recall hating sin as much as I do now, and as I consider that statement it makes sense that I would not, for in my youth it was impossible to fully understand the horrendous results of sin. And, pressing further, I at this age, probably do not thoroughly grasp the ugliness of such consequence nor can I in every respect take in its shocking results and after-effects. But I understand enough to know I hate sin and its products–the sorrow and grief it produces–and that my disgust and loathing is God-given.

I Corinthians 10:6 “…we should not lust after evil things…”

I Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Those scriptures taken from Pauline epistles are clear instruction that God’s people should not lust after evil things. Don’t traipse along after evil, Paul warns, and furthermore, don’t even give an appearance of evil. Shun those things, abstain from them.

Then Paul presses more deeply into this question of the Christian’s attitude toward sin.

Romans 12:9 “…Abhor that which is evil…”

My American Oxford Dictionary says abhor means to regard with disgust and hatred. Detest, hate, loathe, despise, execrate, shrink from, recoil from, shudder at.

Sin is not cute or funny or to be lightly regarded or excused. Sin is despicable and deadly, and God’s instructions to His people go past that of not sinning ourselves, but commands us to detest, loathe and hate sin. It is not to be tolerated or danced around or chucked under the chin, as would a mother pet a favored child. For sin is insidious and to be greatly feared.

Cancer is one of the hideous results of sin–not a disease caused by a person’s individual shortcomings, but a disease that is a result of original sin, the uprising of satan in Heaven, and the fall of man in Eden. I hate cancer, I hate this disease that wreaks havoc with families, that rapes lives and brings down tiny children and snatches life from virile handsome young fathers.

My thanks go to Mervi who on his blog today, through several links, reveals the story of Shane Champlain, of Bakersfield, CA., who on Friday at the age of 29 died of Glioblastoma, one of the most lethal forms of brain cancer.

The following pictures and text are from the Bakersfield Californian.

Photos:

Shane Champlain races his son, Ethen, to first base during a tee-ball game. Shane played linebacker in his high school football team and is proud of his sonês interest in sports and his ability at such a young age. Members of his church, including the children, know about Shane’s illness and help support the families spiritual, emotional and financial needs. He and his family, wife Shandahn and children Ethen, 5, and Emilee, 10 months, are dealing with the financial and emotional burden.

Shane and Shandahn Champlain, along with their children Ethen, 5, and Emilee, 10 months, attend a service at First Pentecostal Church where they are members. Their church has been a great source of support during this difficult time.

After receiving the news that he will need a third surgery to treat his brain tumor Shane Champlain sits with his father, Doyle Champlain, while Shandahn, Shane’s wife, checks to see how much they will have to pay for the doctor visit. The financial burden has been devastating to the young family.

After a 5 a.m. start from Bakersfield, Shane Champlain has an appointment with Dr. Timothy Cloughesy at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to discuss the MRI results of his brain. The tumor in his head has grown. Some of his options are a third surgery and experiment therapy that has been helpful to other patients. His wife Shandahn and parents Doyle and Robyn Champlain are with him to go through this difficult time.

Links:

Edit: Thursday March 13 Thanks to Mervi who has also supplied this link called Shane’s Cause.
There are many pictures there, and a brief documentary by his wife.

I don’t personally know this family, but I’ve been to their church many times, and have probably met Shane’s parents–perhaps even Shane himself. I grieve with all of them today, and pray comfort for them.

I detest sin, hate the devil, abhor his unspeakable ways.

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My other blog is here.