THE GOSPEL OF US


The Gospel of us

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” Jesus Christ said to the eleven disciples. (Mark 16:14-15 NIV) It was the calling of the disciples to spread the gospel of Christ, so it is with us as well as children of our Heavenly Father – God. But are we spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ or are we spreading our gospel?

This post is something to reflect about for those who walk in Christ…

We are designed to do one thing, and that is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God calls us out in different ways of doing it, but to spread the gospel nonetheless. However, in today’s society, especially within the high school transitioning to college age some of us get caught up with ourselves in certain areas of natural life, e.g.,  job, money, college, and social life. These things become instant priorities in our life.

We put a lot of effort in applying to as many jobs as we can in hope of getting hired.

We put our focus in having enough money to go out with friends.

We put a lot of effort in setting up our college class schedule, and deciding what we want as a degree.

That’s a lot “we.” but where is Jesus Christ in all that?

Think about it…

Do we put as much effect into spreading the gospel as we do when we apply for a job?

Do we put most of our focus in studying God’s word as much as we put most of our focus when studying for finals?

Do we put an effort in setting up opportunities to introduce the gospel, and figuring out what God’s calling is for you, which might mean what you are pursuing yourself in college is not what God wants? Is your major going to spread the gospel?

Spreading the gospel… are you doing that in your daily life? Are you representing Jesus Christ in your job, social circles, etc.?

These are the questions we should ask ourselves, because are we on this earth to walk in the steps of Christ, and to spread the good news or we just here to make our own gospel?

It’s time that we reconnect with our God-given mission. We need to reevaluate our perspective in life, and make it according to God’s will. We do not live for ourselves, but for God, and Him alone. There is only one gospel, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not the gospel of us.

Biblical text to reflect on:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Romans 1:16 NIV)

 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments,for,

“Who has known the mind of the Lord
    so as to instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14-17 NIV)

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HEAVEN ON EARTH PT. THREE


Heaven-on-Earth

If you have not read the intro to this series yet, you can read: HERE and you can also read PT. one HERE  and PT. two HERE

Heaven is now.

Heaven is here.

Heaven is within.

Eternal life (Heaven) is less about a time when you die, and more about a real life altering quality and vitality of life lived now in connection with God. Eternal life is knowing God:

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” — (John 17:3 NIV)

Eternal Life is knowing the God who is the source of all life, who works from within creation to make something new. The God who can do what humans cannot. The God who gives new spirits and hearts, and new futures to all.

HEAVEN ON EARTH EXAMPLE

Heaven is here, now, among us, and upon us. When Jesus Christ spoke of God in his time, he spoke as if God was there; present, and He was! He spoke of oneness with God. The God who is intimately connected with all life in this world. Eternal life is about endless dimensions of divine alterations of our old world to a new world where every moment and every location is simply another experience of this divine reality that heaven is all around us, through us, under, and above us all the time — right now. (1 Corinthians 15:24-28 NIV) It is finished, and it is among us. (Revelation 21:3 NIV)

Eternal life is entering a new realm/dimension where the supernatural is known by the Holy Spirit that is within us. (1 Corinthians  2:6-14 NIV)

Eternal life doesn’t start when we leave earth;

it starts now.

It’s not about a life that begins in physical death;

it’s about experiencing the kind of life, in God’s new world, that endures and survives. A world where we help one another. (1 Corinthians 10:24 NIV) A world where we don’t live by the same patterns. (Romans 12:2 NIV) A world where diversity is accepted. (Romans 12:4, 6 NIV) A world where unity is praised. (Romans 12:5 NIV) A world where we teach, serve, encourage, give to those in need, lead, and show grace. (Romans 12:7-8 NIV) A world where we speak good to those around us. (Romans 12:14 NIV) A world where there is no apathy. (Romans 12:15 NIV) A world where there is harmony, and the understanding that God created us all equal. (Romans 12:16 NIV) A world where the “eye for an eye” mentality is non-existent. (Romans 12:17,19, 21 NIV) A world where there is a constant desire to be at peace with all people. (Romans 12:18 NIV) A world where we love those who reject this new world. (Romans 12:20 NIV) A world where religion is not the focus, but Christ is. (John 14:6 NIV) Finally, a world built on love — God’s love. Where our life, words, actions, and ideas yell unconditional-love.  (Romans 12:9, Matthew 22:36-40, 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:11-12 NIV)

Heaven is right now, within us.

There’s heaven here, to be manifested.

God has invited us all to heaven through Jesus Christ.

All the elements are here, for us — right now, but there’s something in the way, something inhibiting our ability to fully experience all the divine possibilities, and that’s ourselves. Ultimately, our rejection of heaven on earth — rejection to God.

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HEAVEN ON EARTH PT. TWO


Heaven-on-Earth

If you have not read the intro to this series yet, you can read HERE and you also read PT. one HERE

It seems that those who talk the most about going to heaven talk the least about bringing heaven to earth. Our cultural assumptions and misunderstanding about heaven have led us to automatically think of heaven as ethereal, intangible, and as an escape destination.

Let’s talk manifestation…

We are here on this earth for a purpose, so our view of heaven should not lead to escape from the world, but fully engage with it. To be salt and light in this world. (Matthew 5:13-14 NIV) A kinetic movement to bring about God’s new world. A world that strives in the ways of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22-26 NIV)

Heaven is about accepting one’s divine responsibility to carry out God’s will on earth. (Ephesians 2:10 NIV)

Heaven is about partnering with God to make his kingdom come to fruition. (Romans 14:17 NIV) Heaven needs to be manifested. The Bible talks about a new world; our world; but rescued, transformed, and renewed. (Revelation 21:1 NIV) A world where love, peace, and joy are active.

God has looked for partners since the beginning, people (you and I) who will take their divine calling seriously to take care of the earth and each other in loving, sustainable ways. (Ephesians 1:1-11 NIV) Not to better worldly circumstances, but to change it. To order, to participate, to partner with God in taking the world somewhere.

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” – (1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV)

God wants us to reign in this world, which means to actively participate in the ongoing creation of the world. To take domain in areas that teach, create, and shape this world into His image. Heaven, when Jesus spoke about it, were present eternal, intense, real experiences of joy, peace, and love in this life. Heaven for Jesus wasn’t just “someday”; it was a present reality.

If God’s plan was to take his children out of this world I would argue that He would’ve taken us out already. If the idea is to leave this world in complete desolation then why even bother in trying to build your life up? Forget school. Forget having a job. Forget doing anything. Just wait for that “End Day” we all hear about despite the Bible being very clear about when that final day as we have come to call it “end of the world” will occur. (THIS GENERATION, enough said. Luke 21.)

Heaven is both the peace, stillness, serenity, and clam that come from having everything in its right place – the state in which nothing is required, needed, or missing – and the endless joy that comes from participating in the ongoing creation of the world.” – Rob Bell, Love Wins

He wants us to do something, so this world of ours is here to stay. We are here to manifest heaven — to manifest heaven is to manifest God. God is heaven, and God is here. Now. Right here. Within you. You have heaven.

To be continued in part 3.

HEAVEN ON EARTH PT. ONE


Heaven-on-Earth

If you have not read the intro to this series yet, you can read: HERE

Life is a pulsing, progressing, evolving, dynamic, reality in which tomorrow will not be a repeat of today.  It’s continuous. A day begins, and it ends. A year ends, and a new one begins. However, what is the Bible refereeing to when it talks about this world to come?

“End of the age” – “Age to come” – “Entering life”

It’s simply a story of movement,

from one place to the next,

from one realm to another,

from death to life,

complete spirituality,

supernatural governs the natural,

Heaven and Earth become one,

eternal life.

Heaven is simply living in partnership with God, leaving your former way of life behind, and entering heaven – entering life. (Ephesians 4:22-24) New day. A new age. A new era.

Heaven is not about marching endlessly into a future concept in our measurement of time, like days and years. Heaven is about belonging to another realm altogether transcending time; the Kingdom of God, with the cross as the bridge to this new life, and new world.

A new world where religiosity,  humanistic boundaries,  and the “eye for an eye” mentality, have no soil to grow. Love, peace, joy, and other spiritual fruits will be the reality of this new world. However, not everyone will be part of this new world, because not everyone will be open to embrace it. Just look at the world; God’s idea of a new world has not been embraced, in both the secular and religious masses, especially in the religious masses, because we treat the idea of heaven not only as a future concept, also as an escape vehicle away from the world to this dreamy paradise.

The funny thing is,

there will be no escaping this world.

We are here to manifest God’s new world…

God is less concerned about getting us out of this place and more concerned about heaven crashing down into this place.” – Jefferson Bethke

To be continued in part 2.

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INTRODUCTION: “HEAVEN ON EARTH” SERIES


Heaven-on-Earth

Floaty, dreamy, hazy, is that heaven?

Perfect hair, people laying in clouds, angelic voices singing. Is that heaven?

Where is heaven?

What is heaven?

Who is going to heaven?

When is heaven going to happen?

It is time to question what religion has fabricated into our minds about heaven. We have allowed religion to take the idea of heaven out of context to such a degree that it seems that the only way of heaven becoming a reality is when you or I die; for those who are saved, of course.

There are lessons and church presentations about heaven that primarily focus on who will be there and who won’t be there.

The theological conversations on the subject of heaven have been so distorted. We allow ourselves to let our imagination run wild, and we take things out of context. We have taken the paint brush away from God, and in doing so, we are painting different pictures. That is what we have done with the idea of heaven. We speak of heaven as a future concept instead of a present reality.

It is important to bring the conversation of heaven back to biblical context. There will be opinions, and preconceived view points, but context-is-context; the bible speaks for itself. Why is it important to have a right understanding of heaven? How we think of heaven directly affects how we understand what we do with our life, that’s why.

What we say.

What we create.

Who we help.

Who we love.

It impacts the world, because by understanding what heaven is, we understand what God wants out of this world, and how we are involved in His plans. If you believe that heaven is about leaving and evacuating from earth to somewhere else, then why do anything about this world and for the people in it? And no I’m not talking about the myth that we can create this perfect world, but believing that God has not abandoned us, and is actively at work in the course of human events and in the affairs of men; taking it somewhere. A different realm where there are different standards besides what we have created here on earth – a realm where the supernatural governs the natural – where the unattainable through natural efforts is now attainable through spirituality.

Heaven is not a future concept, it’s a present reality.

 

Author’s note:

This is the introduction to a three-part series that will be posted on my site every Monday for the month of July. Will be going into biblical detail, so be ready to take notes for your own study time. Do not read, but study this series. Please. Also, share this with your friends, social networks; anywhere…everywhere!

 Jan

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LOSING CHRIST-‘IANITY’


Losing Christianity

Title is not reality. You might call yourself a plumber, but if you don’t go out, and do plumber like work, you’re not a plumber. There are a lot of people who call themselves Christian, and yet their life says nothing about being a follower of Christ. They’re just wearing a title – a religious title.

We focus so much on religious titles, e.g., Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, etc. However, Jesus Christ was not Baptist nor Methodist. He was God’s son here on earth doing the will of his Father. We have strayed so much away from the soundness of Christs’ teaching, and have settled for religious dogma. There are people out there who call themselves Christian, but they hate their neighbor.

I’m Christian, but he or she steals.

I’m Christian, but he or she lies.

I’m Christian, but he or she hates.

We use the title Christian so loosely. Being a Christian by religion does not mean you are following Christ. We create so many false theological ways of living a religion than living a Christlike life; living a life of love:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:36-40 NIV

I believe Jesus Christ would reject all the religious theologies we have today, and Christianity is no exception. Would he attend your congregation? All religion is an abomination to God’s plan:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:2-6 NIV

Religion has done nothing good for the world. Religion has failed, and will continue to fail. We need to uproot this religious mentality within ourselves, and allow the mind of Christ to settle within. We need to lose the religious titles we cling to, and live out what we are called to truly follow – followers of Christ.

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THE CHURCH HAS BECOME A CONDEMNING BULLY


Condemnation

Condemnation, an expression of strong disapproval, e.g., showing disapproval to someone due to their actions, according to our English dictionary. However, in God’s dictionary the word condemnation does not exist: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set youfree from the law of sin and death.”

We no longer face condemnation in Christ. Yet, there still a level sentiment of condemnation within churches. There is a lack of grace. I believe that today’s church has become some sort of condemning bully towards people who are simply struggling with their own carnalistic ways, which we too struggle with to no exception – we all have the same flesh. (John 8) However, we still find the room to condemn others instead of showing grace, but that’s the problem, there is no grace being shown in today’s church. We have forgotten this simple Biblical truth, “For it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)

God has forgiven us; past, present, and future sins. He doesn’t need to hear us plea the word “sorry” over-and-over, and He sure doesn’t want us spewing words of condemnation to others when He has said the opposite:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – (John 3:17 NIV)

God shows grace, so why can’t we show grace to others? God loves us unconditionally, so why can’t we love others the same way? Now do not interpret this as a message of condoning sin, because God does not contradict himself, and does not condone sin. However, He loves the person regardless of his or hers wrong doing. He doesn’t condone homosexuality, but He does love the person acting in homosexuality, read more. He hates the sin, but He does not hate the sinner. God has given us the opportunity to escape a life of sin through Jesus Christ that we can reign in life. Therefore, our role as the universal church of God is to encourage others to leave sin behind, and be free in God’s grace and unconditional love. Our conduct does not matter in swaying God’s mind from loving us. There is no way of changing His love:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)

Nothing can separate us. Grace and love endure forever.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” – (Romans 5:10-11)

We face no spiritual death.

We face no hell, but there is no fiery underworld to begin with, read more HERE.

We face no condemnation.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” – (Psalm 32:1 NIV)

Let’s put an end to the condemnatory bullying.

Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation.” – Willard Beecher

 

 

RATED R


Rated R

She’s a ten. He’s a five.  The infamous rating game. We rate ourselves on our physical looks, our financial gain, and by material wealth. However, I choose to be rated R, because I choose to reign in life.

Rated R: R For Reigning in Life

What does it mean to reign? No, it does not mean to have a gold shiny crown, and have the right to have a red carpet laid out in front of you to walk upon. It means to have control, rule, or to have influence of any kind. However, that’s English textbook definition, the type of “reigning” I’m talking about goes deeper than that, i.e., “reigning in life”.

Control:

Who has control of your life? Call it an epiphany, but I realized that when I try to have more control on what goes on in my life the more that goes wrong. That is why I give complete control over the situations, and outcomes of my life to God.  (Proverbs 16:9 NIV) Your condition is not your position.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” – (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

Rule:

I don’t rule my life. My life is not my own. God has given me life through Jesus Christ. Therefore, He rules my life. Now God is no tyrant, far from it. God is graceful and merciful, but always sovereign. He is omnipotent and omniscient.  He is the ruler of my life — “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. 17 Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. 18 Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.” – (Romans 6:16-18 NIV)

Influence:

Music can influence, artists can influence. a lot of things can influence us; whether in a right or wrong way. While others are influenced by others things, my influence is God. I choose to be influenced by the character of Jesus Christ that represents God’s image. I choose to live by the NINE — (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV). Let God influence your life.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” – (Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT)

To be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” – (Ephesians 4:23-24 NIV)

Reigning in Life:

Reigning in life is allowing God to have control, rule, and influence over the life you have gained through Jesus Christ by salvation. Reigning in life is living the kingdom of God — “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” – (Romans 14:17 NIV)

I’m Rated R, what are you rated?

ONE WAY NOT MANY


Apparently there are twenty-one or thirty-one different religions in this world that express different ideas. In Christianity alone there are so many denominations that in most cases have their own doctrine, that is, a different doctrine than the one brought/set by Christ. There are so many ideas floating around this world of ours. Messages thrown here-and-there. “Believe this, don’t believe that. That religion is wrong, this one is right!”  You know what… it bothers me to see that God’s children are fighting against each other due to personal preferences and cultural differences instead of fighting against what is wrong in this world. Religion spends more time bickering like two dramatic high-school girls fighting over a guy that is playing them both.

Religion is not from God. It might have an appearance of something godly, but it’s mere humanistic. Religion has distorted God’s vision for the world. Religion has led the world into thinking that it depends on our actions to be right with God. Religion has led us to believe that each unique religion provides a specific path to the same end, and men are free to choose the path that best suits their own interest and culture. I hate to be a kill joy, but yeah… that is not how it works.

There is one way to God. There is only one message. One idea. One truth.  One faith. Truth is not relative… truth is universal, that is, Christ is universal. Jesus Christ is truth. Through Christ life is understood – life’s mysteries are discovered, and with Christ life is pretty awesome to say the least.

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called ; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6

Religion did not call us. Man did not save man. Freedom and redemption did not come from organized religion. It came from God through Jesus Christ. God called you out into one body, one spirit, one hope, one faith; one everything! No religion has the power to save. Religion can continue to act as if it’s important and plays a huge role in this world, but there is only one star here, and that is, Christ Jesus.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” – Ephesians 4:14

We cannot allow ourselves to be manipulated into accepting/believing half-truths, it’s the complete truth or nothing. Do not let yourself be deceived.   Religion uses words or ideas that appeal to your emotions—your fears, your loves, your hates—rather than to your reason/sound spiritual mindset. Let the spirit that God deposited in you guide you.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6

We can say this, we can make up this, but at the end, it is all about Christ. It started with Jesus Christ, and it will continue with Jesus Christ. There is only ONE!

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MARRIAGE = ?


Marriage has been a big topic this month. Primarily, same-sex marriage. North Carolina passing an amendment that keeps marriage defined between a man and a woman, and president Obama coming out in favor of same-sex marriage. Anyone who disagrees with same-sex marriage is apparently a bigot, and is mentally ill. I don’t support same-sex marriage, and never will. I’m not hating, and I’m not discriminating against homosexuals. I love the person who is acting out in homosexuality. God is love, and therefore, I love. However, I don’t condone sin. Homosexuality is a sin. Plus, who am I to redefine marriage? No human being has the authority to redefine marriage when God has already defined it in this equation: 1 man + 1 woman = marriage. Who are you to go above God, and change what He has created? Religion did not define marriage.

God’s vision for marriage is clear when kept in context:

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:27-28 NIV

It’s unnatural for a woman and a woman and a man and a man to mix with each other, if you know what I mean. (Romans 1:26-27 NIV)  Not even animals from the same-sex get with each other. It is against the cycle of  life. You never see a male animal getting it on with an other male animal. Animals procreate like we do, and they do it with the opposite sex. That’s the way God created it. That is why homosexuality is wrong. It’s against nature, and it’s against God. Plain and simple.

But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” – 1 Corinthians 7:2-3 NIV

Here we have Paul urging married couples to have their sexual relations with each other, because at that time, there was a lot of sexual temptation flying around, so he encouraged couples to stick with sexual purity inside their marriage. Besides that, you read that it says “the husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.” It does not say anything about same-sex marital duties. God intended for the man to one day leave his mother and father to be united with his wife to become one flesh. (Genesis 2:21-25 NIV) Same-sex marriage is against God, and by trying to legalize same-sex marriage here in the United States of America is a slap to God’s sovereignty.

God created marriage. No government subcommittee envisioned it. No social organization developed it. Marriage was conceived and born in the mind of God.”  – Max Lucado

God has defined marriage between a man and a woman. Nothing else. Religion does not define marriage nor any social group. Marriage was defined by God himself, and He alone has the power to change it. Therefore, no humanistic idealism can alter the sound definition of marriage. Man will never have the power to define marriage. The only thing this world can do is recognize and honor that marriage is between a man and woman. (Hebrew 13:4)

 

THE POLITICIZATION OF MARRIAGE 

Our government needs to get out of marriage. Period. The US government should have no involvement in the lives of those who are married here in America. No political influence. Get out. Marriage is a unalienable right from God, and our government has no power to infringe upon that God-given right. The states and our government as a whole cannot alter the right of marriage that God has given to us. Meaning that state or federal government cannot pass any form of legislation allowing a different form of marriage. No body has the power to do that. Marriage is a right that comes from God, a right defined between a man and a woman, which we must honor and recognize, whether we like it or not. I don’t care if you are a guy and you’re sleeping with your boyfriend… you can do that. Not my problem. However, don’t destroy marriage. Leave it alone. Don’t touch it. Don’t play God. This nation is a nation of laws, not men. This nation was not founded on personal morals or certitude. This nation was built on God’s law. We don’t run our nation by our feelings. We run our nation by the Laws of God. If you don’t like it, alright. That’s you. Just bring it up to the big guy upstairs. Leave marriage between one man and one woman alone.

The equation of marriage is set and sound: One man, one woman equals marriage. That’s the equation, and that’s finale. Nothing more to discuss.
—-

Research Links:

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