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God's Power is made perfect in our weakness

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Introduction

A head up: Today is going to be hard for some of us.
God’s power in our weakness, is topic that is infinitely comforting and encouraging to the one who yields to God’s work in our lives. But, if we have a discontent spirit and a prideful heart, if we try to throw off the reigns and spit out the bit that God has put in our mouths, today’s topic will be aggravating to you.
Today’s topic, God’s power in our weakness, is topic that is infinitely comforting and encouraging to the one who yields to God’s work in our lives. But, if we have a discontent spirit and a prideful heart, if we try to throw off the reigns and spit out the bit that God has put in our mouths, today’s topic will be aggravating to you.
Today’s topic, God’s power in our weakness, is topic that is infinitely comforting and encouraging to the one who yields to God’s work in our lives. But, if we have a discontent spirit and a prideful heart, if we try to throw off the reigns and spit out the bit that God has put in our mouths, today’s topic will be aggravating to you.
You may hate the idea that God will allow and even actively put you in a place where you are helpless. Weak. Needy.
You may want to cry today while hearing this message. And that’s ok, I understand, let it flow. Pour out your heart to God and let your brothers and sisters in Christ comfort you. It is better for us to open up our hearts and deal with these things rather than block our ears and eyes, growing bitter toward God and others. If you’re in pain, please don’t pretend like it’s not there.
I want to know, after the service today, do you you find encouragement in this promise, or dread? Come and tell me about how this promise of God is music to your ears or sand in your food.
God's Power is made perfect in our weakness.
To get our souls and minds around this promise we are going to hear five stories that show God's Power is made perfect in our weakness.
Five stories that show God's Power is made perfect in our weakness.
Five stories of Gods power completed in our weakness.

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Character.

Let me tell you about a bloke who had it all. He had the girl, he had the family, he had property and wealth, good health and respect. On top of it all, he was a good-bloke in God’s eyes too - God was on Job’s side and Job was on God’s.
Let me tell you about a bloke who had it all. He had the girl, he had the family, he had property and wealth, good health and respect. On top of it all, he was a good-bloke in God’s eyes too - He was on Job’s side and Job was on his.
So Satan rocks up in the heavenly court one day and God says,
“Have you seen Job? Isn’t he the greatest example of a man who loves and serves me?”
Satan answers “C’mon, Job only loves you because you gave him lot’s of nice stuff, you’ve bribed him into service.”
Satan implies there was nothing special about getting someone to serve you if you give them lots of good stuff. There’s no power in that.
“Ok then,” God says, “let’s see what happens when it is all taken away. You have permission to strip him of all that he has, just don’t harm his body”
So Satan, sets out to show the shallowness of God’s work in the heart of humankind. But he is surprised!
After taking away Job’s children, his property, his wealth, Job immediately turned to God an worshiped Him.
Job 1:21 ESV
And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”

So Satan decides to have another chop at undermining God’s power. He says to God “Look, he remained faithful to you because he’s just trying to protect his own life. Really Job’s only staying loyal so that you won’t smite him.”
“Ok then,” God says, “afflict him however you like, just don’t kill him”
So Satan gives Job awful, crippling bodily disease. Job wished he was dead, Better to be dead than experience all this pain..
He was crushed. He was brought low. He was tormented.
But he wouldn’t turn on God, even though God had allowed everything that happened to him.
Instead Job says to his wife:

Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

Try as he might, Satan could not undo the work of God in Job’s heart.
Now you might initially sit back and go “wow, Job was so strong, we should be like him”. But Job’s not the hero of this story.
The story isn’t “you can over come Satan’s tests”. The story is that our “weakness is where God’s glory shines through”.
Our weakness reveals God’s power and glory.
In the midst of all of the suffering and the pain. What was happening?
Job didn’t know what was going on. He didn’t get a phone call to tell him about God & Satan’s conversations. How God was shown as good, and Satan undermined.
Job sat and defended himself from his friends accusations. He questioned his existence, he questioned what he had done to deserve all his sorrow and despair.
God never answers Job’s questions. Instead, God silences Job by revealing even more of Job’s creaturliness and limitations. Job is brought even lower and made even more humble.
Why? So that God’s power and glory would be revealed!
As God brought Job low, God’s power and glory showed up Satan for the conniving snake that he is.
As God brought Job low, God’s power and glory showed that God is both the giver of all good things and that he has the right to take them away, even if we don’t know why.
As God brought Job low, God’s power and glory showed up as God answered Job, speaking of the endless wonders of his might and wisdom that humanity cannot grasp.
In the middle of his weakest moments, as he struggled to come to grips with what happened to him God was vindicated. God showed to the world, to Satan and all the angels, and even to us many years removed, that Gods power is perfectly revealed in the midst of human weakness.
In the middle of his weakest moments, as he struggled to come to grips with what happened to him God was vindicated. God showed to the world, to Satan and all the angels, that his ways are
Every time that you are oppressed and crushed under the burdens of life while remaining faithful to God, his power is revealed by showing his glory, his greatness, and his

Our Weakness is for God’s Victory.

A few centuries later, God’s people were oppressed by the Midiantites. They were basically slaves. Every time they grew crops, the Midaianites took them away. God’s people had to hide their food so they could keep some for themselves.
The people cried out to God, who had saved them before. At the end of their rope, unable to fight back, unable to even make their own food, they were weak enough to see that they needed to look God for His provision
The people cried out to God, who had saved them before. At the end of their rope, unable to fight back, unable to even make their own food, they were weak enough to see that they needed to look God for His provision
God answered their prayers. But, he wouldn’t do it in a way that the people could forget so quickly. He would work in their weakness to show God’s power and victory.
SO, God gave
God called up a bloke named Gideon and sent him to work to save the people. This was not an impressive bloke. He was so cowardly that even after an angel appeared to him with a message from God, he still tried to shirk his duty.
Gideon did manage to rustle up an army of about 32 thousand men. But! The army that the Midainites had pulled together was much bigger, so big it was uncountable. Like sand on the seashore. Without number.
Even so, the 32 thousand blokes in Gideon’s army was too many. God’s victory comes in human weakness. God said whoever is sacred can go home.
22 thousand blokes up and left.
With the remaining 10 thousand, Gideon had to whittle down the number even more. He took them down to the watering hole and whoever drank their water kneeling was kept and whoever drank their water head down were sent home.
Gideon was left with 300 men to face an innumerable army.
At midnight the 300 went down into the enemy camp and blew trumpets, yelled, waved torches and smashed jars. They created an almighty ruckus, so that the Midianite army woke up confused and everybody started attacking each other.
Eventually, after much friendly fire, the army fled and Gideon called the locals out of their towns to chase down the fleeing army and drive the enemy out of their land.
God used 300 blokes and a cowardly leader to overcome a huge army. 300 blokes who won the battle by waving some torches, shouting a bit, playing musical instruments and breaking some pottery. What kind of strength did God’s people use to overcome the enemy? None.
Their job was to be obedient to God, and he used their weak state, from a military standpoint, to bring about a great victory.
God weakened his people by allowing them to be overtaken by the Midianites - a punishment for their sin.
God made His people weaker by thinning out their ranks.
God brought them low so that Gods power and glory would be center stage, not humankind. We have a tendency to put ourselves centre stage - to talk ourselves up and look to ourselves for solutions to the world’s problems. When we take our eyes off God we descend into pride and rebellion.
God must bring us low to see our own feebleness before we can be shaken to our senses and run to God as our Saviour.
God’s power brings victory in our weakness.

Our Weakness is for God’s Provision.

A couple hundred more years later there was a lady named Elizabeth. She was a ministry wife, married to a priest.
She was a godly lady who longed for children, but God kept it back from her. Elizabeth and her Husband lived in a time when many people had turned their back on God, yet that couple remained faithful. They were faithful, they were righteous, but God kept back the blessing.
Elizabeth didn’t know why. She didn’t have the medical resources to discover the physical cause, but she also didn’t have a letter from God outlining the plan for her life with all the reasons why she would suffer in this way.
Instead, she and her husband had to live the day to day. They had to live the year to year, hoping and praying that God might give them what they longed for, a child.
Elizabeth bore the depressing pain of longing for the good and noble office of motherhood, but having it kept back from her, month after month, year after year, decade after decade.
Instead, she and her husband had to live the day to day. They had to live the year to year, hoping and praying that God might give them what they longed for.
Not only did she suffer the internal torment of having these good dreams unfulfilled, Elizabeth had to suffer shame in the eyes of friends and family - her society thought that childlessness was a punishment of God. What had she done to deserve this?
Elizabeth and her husband were older,
Years passed.
Elizabeth and her husband were older,
their hope had faded,
their prayers had gone unanswered for decades...
They were low. They were hopeless. They were weak - no power of their own could overcome this problem.
Yet, in their weakness, at their lowest point, when it seemed impossible, God sent a baby!
This child was a gift from God, given at the right moment, given in the midst of human inability, to show God’s provision.
God’s power of provision was shown in Elizabeth’s weakness. God kept her low and longing so that he could give the great gift at the best time.
You see the Child that God gave was none other that the forerunner of Jesus Christ! The one who would prepare the people of God for the arrival of God himself to walk the earth!
This child would bring more honour to Elizabeth than 10 regular children could bring. This child was the mightiest prophet of God that walked the earth, and God used the weakest circumstance to show his provision.
In Elizabeth’s weakness God provided the right man at the right time to herald the coming of Jesus. Any earlier would have been too early, any later would have been too late. But like the valves in your engine, he opened at just the right moment to fuel the gospel explosion that was coming next.
But, In’t it cruel? Isn’t it harsh to keep back the longing Elizabeth’s heart? Isn’t it cold to keep us low and crush our spirits?
Friends, we are Children of God in Jesus Christ! God’s people are God’s children, and if children, then we expect our Heavenly Lord to Father us. To care for us. To protect us. To discipline us, even when it hurts.
It is not cruel for the father to hold back his Child’s hand from the hotplate.
It’s not cruel for a father to keep back bread from the celiac.
It’s not cruel for a father to confine his child to a car seat.
It’s not cruel for a father to allow his child to trip and fall so that we may learn to walk.
It’s not cruel for a father to correct his child day after day, week after week to train them into maturity.
God cares for us, and so he brings us into our weakness so that we may be prepared to receive his provision, and know his power.
What are the sufferings of this life in comparison to the weight of glory? To the eternal joy of knowing and meeting God face to face? Isn’t it good to suffer so that we can be prepared for eternity?
What are the sufferings of this life in comparison to the weight of glory? To the eternal joy of knowing and meeting God face to face? Isn’t it good to suffer so that we can be prepared for eternity?
2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
Give me soul crushing despair if it means i might be better prepared to meet my Lord face to face.
Give me soul crushing despair if it means i might be better prepared to meet my Lord face to face.
Give me tears of sorrow so that I may cry tears of Joy in the Lord’s presence.
Give me a broken heart so that I might experience the healing of Christ.
Give me a sickness of the mind if it means i may know Truth himself.
Give me blind eyes if it means that I may glimpse the majesty of my King.
Take away my house and my wife and my child if it means I may know the provision of God that goes beyond this fleeting life of suffering.
God’s power is provision in our weakness.

Our Weakness means Salvation.

After John heralded the coming of God, Jesus came bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God. Jesus came as a man, though he was God, he took on the weakness of the human frame. He left behind the glories of eternal majesty to get dirty feet as he walked the streets of Israel.
He humbled himself. He made himself vulnerable. He made himself killable.
He was a king born in a shed. He donned a human body, was born into a poor family and lived in a small town.
He was a king born in a shed. He donned a human body, was born into a poor family and lived in a small town.
He went into the world preaching a message of weakness. Not “look inside your heart to find strength to overcome you problems” but “You can’t save yourself.”
Matthew 11:28 ESV
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
and
Mark 2:17 ESV
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
and
Mark 10:45 ESV
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 2:17 ESV
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus, Son of God came in weakness with a message of weakness - “you can’t save yourselves, but give up and I will save you.”
God is often called “a crutch”, implying that he is for people who need help to walk through in life. The implication being that you wouldn’t need God if you were strong enough on your own.
But, your own strength is not enough to get you anywhere but hell. You can choose to put on a brave face, and reject the Jesus-crutch, but all you’re doing is limping your way into the pit of destruction.
Instead, Jesus came in weakness, to save the weak and helpless.
Matthew 5:3 ESV
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus not only came with in weakness, he chose it. He chose weakness so that he could save the weak.
He went in human frailty to be crucified on a cross. To be killed by the people he created, on wood from trees he grew, in the plan that he submitted to. He died in the place of the weak, suffering the wrath of God and guilt of mankind so that the weak could receive the righteousness of God.
He died to bring his people together! To undo the evil overlords.
Those who look strong, like they have the upper hand, are actually those who will be undone by weakness. Those who have the knife over Aslan’s throat shall be destroyed. The Evil that yearned for the death of Jesus shall be undone. God’s people will be raised up!
Ezekiel prophesied this!
Ezekiel 34:16 ESV
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
He died to that the oppressed people of God could rise!
Zechariah 10:5–7 ESV
They shall be like mighty men in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets; they shall fight because the Lord is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses. “I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back because I have compassion on them, and they shall be as though I had not rejected them, for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. Then Ephraim shall become like a mighty warrior, and their hearts shall be glad as with wine. Their children shall see it and be glad; their hearts shall rejoice in the Lord.
Zechariah 10:5 ESV
They shall be like mighty men in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets; they shall fight because the Lord is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.

5  They shall be like mighty men in battle,

trampling the foe in the mud of the streets;

they shall fight because the LORD is with them,

and they shall put to shame the riders on horses.

Weakness is the gateway to salvation. Weakness is the way to the power of God. Weakness is where God’s power is perfected, completed and ended.
Weakness is for our salvation - both for our entry into salvation as people who give up all notions of our own ability to save ourselves, but also, weakness is where salvation is secured, Jesus using his life a a ransom to purchase our own.
Like Aslan on the Stone table, the power is put aside. In the lowest moment death would be the gateway to triumph. The ultimate giving up of everything, ones own life, the relinquishing of all power is the revelation of Gods power.
Paul tell us Jesus was:
Ezekiel prophesied this!
Ezekiel 34:16 ESV
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
Paul tell us Jesus was:
2 Corinthians 13:4 ESV
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.
To be in Jesus, to live in the power of God, is to be weak.
God's Power is made perfect in our weakness
Gods power is Salvation in our weakness.

Our Weakness reveals the Gospel.

After Jesus died, rose again and ascended into heaven, he sent a man out into the world to preach this upside down message - that by becoming weak you are made strong.
Paul took this message of foolishness out into the world. He kicked up an international storm by proclaiming that the Son of God, killed by mere men, died for sinners.
He
He taught that salvation was not through knowledge of secret mysteries,
that religious ritual gets you now where,
that the cutting of the foreskin was pointless,
that there was no way that any person could ever possibly think that they could get into heaven... except to give up yourself and cling to Jesus alone.
Paul proclaimed that there was nothing you can do to earn your way into God’s kingdom except give up yourself and cling to Jesus alone.
When you come to grips with your weakness then you can rely on the power of God to make you alive in Christ.
Paul took this message out. He proclaimed it everywhere, high and low, rich and poor. To the sick and the well. This Gospel went all across the world as the Apostle Paul fulfilled his special commission to take the message to the nations.
Paul was a great bloke. From a Christian standpoint he was top notch;
He’d had an amazing conversion and now followed Christ whole-heartedly. He was theologically trained by the best teachers, he had a great family history that tied him to biblical heroes, he had been visited by Jesus himself! He had seen thousands and thousands come to faith in Jesus and healed countless people from their illnesses. He had stood firm for Jesus through countless assaults and attacks.
He had a heck of a resume. If anyone could pull rank in the Church it would have been Paul. He knew a thing or two. He had the experience and the qualifications.
God had given him soooo much. It even appears that Paul was given a special vision by God, being able to visit heaven to hear and see wonders unheard of. He had every reason to be proud as the greatest leader of the Christian Church in his day.
But, God wanted to keep him from pride and conceit.
God wanted to protect Paul from our sinful tendency to lord it over our brothers and sisters.
God needed to keep Paul humble.
So first - he forbid Paul from telling people about what he saw and heard in heaven. He’d visited but he could not speak of it.
Secondly, God sent a messenger of Satan to harass Paul. To keep him low and weak. He says it himself:
2 Corinthians 12:7–8 ESV
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
God, using the forces of evil for good, gave Paul some torment so that he would not be carried away in pride and self-reliance.
We don’t know what this thorn, this stake, in the flesh was. It could have been some disease, or some mental illness, perhaps some great temptation that never subsided. We don’t know, but whatever it was, it was like walking around with an arrow in your flesh. You know how in the movies when someone is shot with an arrow and they have to walk around with it sticking out? That’s what Paul felt like with the torment he experienced.
And he pleaded with God to take it away! Please, please, please, take it away.
God’s answer?
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Paul was made low. Paul was made weak so that God’s power could shine through. So that God’s power could be revealed. SO that people wouldn’t look at Paul and say “wow, he’s so great!” but instead look at Paul and say “wow, Jesus is so great!”
Our lives in Jesus are not meant to tell a story about how Jesus helped overcome our fears, or gave us a good job, or helped us conquer some internal battle - our lives must tell a story about a great Saviour who rescues us in our weakness!
God’s power finds it’s goal in our weakness, transforming us into the image of Christ, turning our eyes away from ourselves and taking our trust from ourselves to put it in God. Any weakness that God brings us into is the place where God’s power shows up.
We think it is our job to overcome the difficulties and weaknesses in our life. It is not. It’s Jesus job to shine through. He will take hold of us and secure us when we’re at the end of our rope, not when we think we can do it ourselves.
Paul goes on:
2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul got it. He got that his weakness was good for him. He is content to be brought low because it means he is resting in the strength of Christ and not his own pride.
In Paul’s weakness the Gospel was revealed that even Paul, the best of us, needs Jesus just as much as you or me.
God’s power reveals the Gospel in our Weakness.
If you are out of work, do not steal, entrust yourself to a faithful God who is at work within you. We are often brought to circumstances that we loath, like childlessness, singleness, married, poor, illness, injury, unemployed, widowed, depression, death of loved ones, debt, divorced or persecuted. What we ought not do is rail at God for not giving us what we want. And we shouldn’t try and circumvent the circumstances we’re in by sinning either. Adultery, marrying a non-christian, theft, unethical medical procedures, escapism, fraud or any other manner of sins is not what Gods calls you towards when you are brought into your weakest, most vulnerable state.
Instead we are to do what Peter says:
1 Peter 4:19 ESV
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Entrust your souls to your faithful creator. When you are resting in him, the Gospel of the weak and afflicted shines forth. Here you can know the power of Jesus as a saviour who loves you and rescues you. A saviour who cannot coexist with self-reliance and pride.
If you are out of work, do not steal, entrust yourself to a faithful God who is at work within you.
If you are
Jeremiah Burroughs helpfully said this in a book he wrote:
Jeremiah Burroughs helpfully said this in a book he wrote:
“Thus a gracious heart thinks in this way: 'The Lord has been pleased to bring down my circumstances; now if the Lord brings down my heart and makes it equal to my circumstances, then I am well enough.' So when God brings down his circumstances, he does not so much labor to raise up his circumstances again as to bring his heart down to his circumstances.” Jeremiah Burroughs
heart thinks in this way: 'The Lord has been pleased to bring down my
We are not here to have a good time on this earth. As hard as that may be to hear. We are here to glorify God, and God has chosen to work in our weakness to shine through his power of provision, his glory, his victory, his slavation
circumstances; now if the Lord brings down my heart and makes it equal

Where does that leave us?

It is not for you or I to try and undo the hardships God has put on us. It is not our job. Yes we can seek healing and blessing, yes we can pray and pray and pray. But, when the way is blocked by God, do not try and jump the gate, content yourself with Jesus who has made you low so that his power may shine through. It won’t be easy.
If you are out of work, do not steal, entrust yourself to a faithful God who is at work within you. We are often brought to circumstances that we loath, like childlessness, singleness, marriage, poverty, illness, injury, unemployment, depression, death of loved ones, debt, divorced or persecuted. What we shouldn’t do is rail at God for not giving us what we want. And we shouldn’t try and circumvent the circumstances we’re in by sinning either. Adultery, marrying a non-christian, theft, unethical medical procedures, escapism, fraud or any other manner of sins is not what God calls you towards when you are brought into your weakest, most vulnerable state.
Instead when we are suffering we are to do what Peter says:
1 Peter 4:19 ESV
Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Entrust your souls to your faithful creator. When you are resting in him, the Gospel of the weak and afflicted shines forth. Here you can know the power of Jesus as a saviour who loves you and rescues you. A saviour who cannot coexist with self-reliance and pride.
Jeremiah Burroughs helpfully said this:
“Thus a gracious heart thinks in this way: 'The Lord has been pleased to bring down my circumstances; now if the Lord brings down my heart and makes it equal to my circumstances, then I am well enough.' So when God brings down his circumstances, he does not so much labor to raise up his circumstances again as to bring his heart down to his circumstances.” Jeremiah Burroughs
We are not here to have a good time on this earth. As hard as that may be to hear. We are here to glorify God, and God has chosen to work in our weakness to shine through his power of provision, his glory, his victory, his salvation and his Gospel. He doesn’t want our strength. He wants our weakness.
One commentator helpfully says:
to my circumstances, then I am well enough.' So when God brings down

The Lord has more need of our weakness than of our strength: our strength is often His rival; our weakness, His servant, drawing on His resources, and showing forth His glory. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity; man’s security is Satan’s opportunity. God’s way is not to take His children out of trial, but to give them strength to bear up against it (Ps 88:7; Jn 17:15).

his circumstances, he does not so much labor to raise up his
Eleziabeth didn’t know why
God said to Paul: ““My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” .
We must revel in our weakness, as the foolish ones of the world so that we may have the strength of Jesus. Die to yourself, so that you may live to Christ.
circumstances again as to bring his heart down to his circumstances.
Weakness feels like the opposite of what we want, but if we accept it, and see Christ in it, his power can be perfected in us.
Is Jesus enough for you? Is his grace sufficient? Will you live in weakness so that God’s power may shine through?
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), .
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