FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
[email protected]
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
MY MONTH OF UNDERSTANDING CHRISTIANITY

t is with great delight and joy that I welcome you to this special month of September, our month of Understanding Christianity. Christianity, like the proverbial mustard seed that Jesus gave as an analogy of faith, as a small seed has grown to become a big tree. Christianity, as one of the religions on earth, even though it is not actually and technically a religion, it has become the biggest among the top ten. Currently, with one third of the world's population embracing Christianity, it has become a big shelter of faith, comfort, peace and serenity for all humanity, especially, its believers.

For those who have given their lives to Jesus and as Paul puts it in Hebrews chapter 6 verses 4-5: "it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come" Christianity is the best thing that could happen to them, for such people, this month's discourse is a delightful refresher course. For, there are some who are watching with disdain those who call themselves Christians. There are also outright agnostics., or atheist. And there may be some young fellows whose parents are Christians but have being going to church grudgingly, wondering why the parents are 'choking' them with this Jesus palaver. And there may be some genuine restless and curious persons who think there must be more to this world than just seas, oceans, animal, human beings, buildings, roads, gender issues, sex, technology, education, life and death and may be seeking the way to God. In every one of these types of dispositions, it is my hope that such persons would be supervised and convicted by the Holy Ghost to find information for transformation for his searching and weary soul. The necessity to understand the total picture of Christianity so that every human being can be saved is our goal.

For the purpose of understanding our study today, let us begin by asking a few questions:

  1. What is Christianity?

  2. What is the origin of Christianity?

  3. Why people hate Christianity?

  4. How do you become a Christian?

  5. What is the implication of not being a Christian?

  6. What are the benefits of Christianity?

  7. Why is Christianity?

  8. Why do we have denominations? Which one is best?

  9. The challenge of Christianity.

What is Christianity? "Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, God, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.6 billion followers ." Christianity as a vocabulary was actually a colloquial nomenclature and appellation given by unbelievers to believer of Christ, in Antioch. "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" Acts 11:26. Christians believes in the Trinity or Triune God, God the Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost

Origin of Christianity. The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christendom, and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present. Though it could be argued that Christianity has its root in heaven, but for academic exercise it could be said it started from Genesis Chapter three, that narrates the fall of man. It was in the process of God cursing the serpent for deceiving Adam and Eve that represented humanity to commit sin, that God revealed not only his redemption plan for humanity but also the personality of the redemption plan.

"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15. We see again God calling Abraham from an idol background for a special purpose in Genesis Chapter 12. "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee……. and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. From Abraham promise's son Isaac, we had Jacob, who had the twelve sons that eventually multiplied and metamorphosized to a nation as God promised by God, which is now called the nation of Israel.

Based on repeated prophesies, one of the basic phenomena that distinguishes Christianity from other religions, an attribute that only Christianity can lay claim on, we see Jesus emerged in what is known as the New Testament, born of a virgin birth, that qualifies him to be sinless. In summary, "Christianity originated with the ministry of Jesus in the 1st century Roman province of Judea. According to the Gospels, Jesus was a Jewish teacher and healer who proclaimed the imminent Kingdom of God, and was crucified at c.30-33 AD. His followers believed that he was then raised from the dead and exalted by God, and would return soon at the inception of God's Kingdom " Furthermore Jesus in answer to the issue of his identity, said "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. He promised to build a church.

I have always argued the doctrine of double creation. That is, everything is first created in the mind and then in the physical for example houses car aircraft were all created twice! including human being. In Genesis 1:26, "God said let us make man"- so he created man in the invisible realm. Until Genesis 2 when he now breathed the breath of his nostril to the mud-made man and he became a man became a living soul. Similarly, Jesus spoke to existence the creation of Christianity in Matthew 16:18 and made it real on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2:4.

The Church -Ecclesia, simply means "called out." Jesus promised to call out a people, those people he called out of the world today are now the Christians as explained above from Acts 11:26.

Why are there many denominations?

Until the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther in 1517, the Christian Church was largely composed of only two groups or "denominations": The Roman Catholic Church in the west and the Greek Orthodox Church in the east. With the Reformation, however, as neglected Bible truths began to be restored and emphasized, different denominations arose holding different doctrinal positions on several issues. Sometimes these differences were rather minor; in other cases, they were quite significant.

Other Christian denominations grew up around a gifted spiritual leader, such as Martin Luther (Lutherans), John Calvin (Calvinists), John Wesley (Methodists), or in more modern times Joseph Smith (Mormonism) and Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science). Currently, within the protestants we have the Pentecostals. Within the Pentecostals we have different independent churches.

In a nutshell, we have different denomination based on doctrine, which is teachings based on perceived revelations by individuals. Let me say this, denominations are neither good or bad. What you believe is what matters. I read a book recently that discussed extensively the issue of denomination, their strength and weaknesses. The writer described Pentecostals as focusing mainly on the assistance of Holy Spirit. You could imagine my joy.

Denominations, to me, can be likened to the fast food chain. We have McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King KFC etc. They are all serving one purpose; and that is to quench hunger. Let me say this: denominations are neither good or bad, what you believe is what matters. I believe that all these differences in whether we shout when praying, or sit when worshipping and singing or whether we go to church on Sunday or Saturday (Sabbath ) as some people prefer to call it, would not matter.

The scripture recalls that some people who were not following Jesus were casting out demons in the name of Jesus and some of the disciples were offended and reported the matter to Jesus. To this He replied-do not forbid them. For no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. Paul also said some people preach the gospel out of strife and some by peace; as long as the gospel is preached.

Unity among Christian denominations:

Jesus prayed that His followers would be one (see John 17:20-23). Unity is an important goal for Christians, but lasting unity can be found only in Jesus and in His truth. To be in Christ is to know Him, and to know Him is to follow and obey Him and His truth. When we talk about unity in Christianity, it is not that all denominations will be one but that we should unite in lifting up Jesus, preaching and saving souls and loving one another. We should stop criticizing one another. We are sibling of the same parents. Another analogy that comes to mind is that we all belong to one fighting Force in the military, defending the territory of our nation (The Kingdom of God). While some are in the infantry, some are in the Airforce and some are in the Marines. We fight with the same goal to win.

Which is the right denomination?

One denomination always feels they are better than the other. I don't think so. Denominations will not appear before Christ only individual shall. The story was told about John Wesley. When the Methodist Church began and it was "on fire," he had the notion that only Methodist church member will make heaven. One day he had a dream and he saw thousands appearing before the Throne of God. When it was his turn he asked where are the Methodists? He was told that the names in the book are the names of true worshippers of God not of any denomination.

The Bible says that in the last days, God's people will be keeping His commandments and have the faith of Jesus (see Revelation 14:12). In all denominations, those who truly love the Lord and are trusting Him for victory over sin as He leads them day by day, are true Christians. If you sincerely ask God to guide you, He will show you His truth and the way He would have you follow. Trust and obey Jesus.

What does it mean to be a Christian? The word Christian was given to the early followers of Jesus, and the name has 'stuck' to this day as mentioned earlier. Being a Christian is not about dos and don'ts. It is not about keeping rules and regulations, performing rituals, keeping the sabbath or even going to church. How many are in the church who are thieves and robbers. In Jesus days he drove those in the temple away because they have made a merchandize of the temple. Being a Christian is about having a relationship- a relationship with Jesus Christ. It is about friendship, -friendship with Jesus. It is about having the new birth -quoting the exact words of Jesus to Nicodemus, it is about being born again. Born of water (the word of God) and Spirit, The Holy Spirit. It is becoming a child of God. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:12. It is having an assurance within you that you are a child of God -being led daily by His Holy Spirit. Rom 8:14

What is the key message of Christianity?

The key message of Christianity is LOVE- "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. That love prompted His Son Jesus to come to this world and gave his life for us. The Thrust and the strength of Christianity is in the personality of Christ in that He died and resurrected ."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: ;" 1Cor 15:3

Take resurrection from Christianity and it falls like pack of cards. But thank God Jesus resurrected and, so it stands tall among other religion like the rock of Gibraltar.

Christianity is an offshoot of the old testament teachings. The old testament teachings are summarized in the ten commandments. The ten commandments simply tells us to love God and love your neighbor. Jesus was asked about this -and in Matthew 22: 34-37 he said the same thing. Love God, love your neighbours and yourself. We are to teach the world to love God. Reciprocate the love of God. Jesus demonstrated this to humanity. Love is the strength of Christians not our weakness!

Why Christianity is unique?

Below are some of the reasons why Christianity is unique and many are finding Christ. Enjoy.

  1. The Holy Bible. Every religion has its message purportedly from God, written in a book and by mostly one self-author and for a short time. Bible has 66 books and 40 authors spanning almost 1,500 years of writing and has no contradictions. While many claim they heard a voice or were inspired and had a revelation Jesus claims he is the revelation from heaven. While the progenitors are the authors of their books Jesus never wrote a book, yet millions of books have been written about him.

  2. Prophecies. All other progenitors of faith emerged and declared their faith. Only in Christianity do you have many prophecies about his coming. In essence he did not just show up. Prophecies of virgin birth, death resurrection, ascension and even the second coming have been declared.

  3. Unique birth. Every faith has a progenitor that was born by copulation of man and woman. Only Jesus was born by a virgin woman without intercourse.

  4. Unique death. He was the only one that died for his followers as a martyr. Crucified on the cross. Shed his sinless and pureblood for the remission of the sins of humanity.

  5. Resurrection. He was the only one died and was buried and arose and left an empty tomb. No rotten bones for followers to see. You said, Pastor Dada many people have died and came back to life. Even Jesus raised the dead. Sure, but no one predicted that he will die and resurrected as Jesus did.

  6. Message.Many have message of inclusivity, only him has a message of exclusivity. I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the father (Go)only by me. All others realize their human nature only Jesus claimed he came from heaven. "For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me." John 6:38

  7. Ascension: He is the only one that in the glare of humanity ascended to the heaven defying the natural laws of humanity- the law of gravity.

  8. Eternity. It is only in Christianity you have the progenitor or the central figure saying with me as he said to the thief on the cross- today you will rain with me in paradise. Also he said - In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

  9. Raising the dead. It is not just that he resurrected, died and arose, before he did that, was raising the dead. While others faith developers go about killing people to convert people to their faith he did not only forgive his accusers and killers, he healed the sick, cleanse the leper's and raised the dead.

  10. Empowered his followers. Conscious of the complexity of the world, the wickedness of humanity to one another and unrelenting effort from Satan destroy humanity - he empowered them by given them the Holy Spirit. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Acts 1:8

  11. Never sinned. Every man that worked upon the earth sinned except Jesus.

  12. Promised to Return No more as a lamb to be slayed but like the lion of the tribe o Judah. Promised the believers the marriage supper. The most glorious heavenly party you can imagine. Will you be there? By his grace I will be there. I can here you asking me, Pastor Dada how are you so sure he will come back. He showed me one night from the scripture how, he promised the skeptical world, including his disciples that he will send the Holy Spirit and He did. The Holy Spirit is real today. How he promised he will resurrect and he did. For sure, no matter how late or delay in human calendar calculation Jesus will show up in the sky. Paul had some people in mid when through the Holy Spirit he wrote- But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

For these reasons and more is why Amos Dele Dada is a Christian.

How do you become a Christian?

By deciding to be one!

"Then Agrippa said to Paul, 'You almost persuade me to become a Christian.' And Paul said, 'I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.'" Acts 26:28-29. I would like to say the same thing: Oh, that you who hear me (read this) might be as I am-that it might go so thoroughly well with you! The whole intention of us understanding Christianity is for those who are yet Christians to become one and those who are Christians to be further strengthened so that they will not backslide. There are many situations that have led people to Christ. Any one is good enough. Some mock people who have challenges and as a result run to Jesus, is it not better that you are mocked earth than to be mocked in hell? The process of becoming a Christian is realizing that you are a sinner -you have missed the mark-sin means missing the mark and getting back to God, more so at no cost-we are saved not by works but by grace. Romans 10:8-13.

Let me share my story of how I became born again maybe it will help someone. I was born into a strong Christian family. My late dad was an elder, evangelist, counselor, intercessor and church planter. My mum was a deaconess. Growing up, we were daily compelled by parents to attend two daily devotions: one with my parents the second one with the local church.

I grew up to be one of the drummers and choristers. At about age twelve, I was baptized. But I was a baptized sinner. Though I didn't steal, smoke or drink alcohol but I did every other bad stuff, fighting, lying moving around with opposite sex. The realization of my wasted life did not come until I gained admission to the university. I used to play draft/checkers game. While other students were reading I would be playing this game till early hours of the morning.

In that game winners make jest of losers. I found myself playing with elderly people old enough to be my father and grandfathers. I was winning I dared not to make jest of them because of their age. I knew within me that these old people I was winning against could curse me if I made fun of them. One day I sauntered to a Christian library in Fajuyi Hall. Nobody was there. I read a comic. It was describing a military hospital during the second world war. They brought some wounded soldiers to the chaplain, and because he was not present, they brought them to his wife. Who said - O Lord I don't know what to do with these men, please speak to me! That was the phrase that caught my attention and I knelt down in that library for the Lord to speak to me.

I said, if you speak to me to me today will dedicate my life to you. And he did and I did. That night I slept earlier than usual call it expectation instead of the late hour sleeps of 2am ,3am I slept around 11pm. I had a dream, or a revelation that turned my life around. I wash dirty clothes, ironed them and put on a piece. I saw myself working on a field and three brand long palm tree made brooms were joined together in a base. No hand moves as you see in movies today. It was just moving around me and after a while a tick black cobwebs were visible on the three brooms. I saw another figure like a beautiful crown with three projections and one place for fixing the crown coming from the sky in a spiral form as the brooms came.

I positioned my head and the crown was placed on my head and later lifted and went back to the sky. The next thing I saw was a tall man in a white dazzling garment. I did not see his face. He stretched out a book to me that turned out to be a bible. For sure it was the Lord Jesus I later found myself in my father's house and two of my friends came to invite me out to play with them. I politely declined but more than that I said we can no more play together I am now born again. I lifted up the bible in my hand and said you know what I will preach the gospel to the whole world. That was about 1am on February 10,1977. When I narrated my dream to my room mate who has been pestering my life to accept Christ, he jumped up and said-this is God speaking to you. As they say the rest his history. I have enjoyed Christ since then. Used of God to minster to many including you hearing me or reading this, even to many in over 70 nations of the world!

God decided long ago to receive and save all who come to Him. Now it is up to you. This matter will have been decided as soon as you have made your decision. "And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, 'Go away for now; when I have a convenient time, I will call for you.'" Acts 24:24-25. Presumably, he never had a "convenient time." Take this as a serious admonition. One thing is needed! Decide at once. Accept Jesus today and if you have backslidden, slide back to him right now. The decision is entirely yours, dear soul. God is calling you. He is inviting you. He is pleading with you. Will you or will you not? The decision is yours.

Benefits of Christianity. (Implication of not being a Christian) I believe the advantages and benefits of Christianity is what makes it to have the highest number of devotees. "Who no like better thing as Warri people will say in pidgin English"

I pity those who are not Christians. Since I gave my life to Christ February 10,1977 my signature even though it is not made manifest has it as it is today-thanks to email-is written as "O Taste and see That the Lord is good. I have tasted and I have seen that the Lord is good. That is one of my motivations to proclaim Jesus -Afterall he said we shall be his witnesses- You cannot be a witness to what you don't know about and what you have not experienced.

On a personal note, I have experienced, reconciliation to my Maker, forgiveness of my sins and freedom from bondages. We need freedom from a troubled conscience, freedom from wrong thoughts and actions against God and against our fellow man. Instead of wages of sin I have eternal life. (John 8.36 - Acts 13.39 - Acts 16.31 - Romans 3.10,23 - Colossians 1.22 - Hebrews 10.19-22) The implication of not being a child of God unfortunately is a life spent in hell. Which I will not wish for my enemy hence this article.

To the glory of God, I am in my middle, sixties and I have enjoyed divine health all my life. This is not about preaching about whether it is right or wrong to use medication, mine is a testimony that God has kept me without medication for all these years according to Ex 15:26. I will not put any of these diseases that I have put upon the Egyptians (Sinners) on you. You said Pastor Dada does that mean you were never sick for over 60 years? Far from it. I have been down with malaria, fever many times, but the healer has never abandoned me. When I am sick and went to hospital for checkup, rather than go to pharmacy to buy the drugs I stand upon the word - Ex 23:25. You will serve the Lord and he will bless your water and your bread and take sickness away from. Those who are in Christ Jesus not only Dada do enjoy healing.

Those who are in Christ do enjoy divine Intervention. Divine intervention is calling on God in perplexing, complex almost intractable situations or critical times. God shows up. God never promised that there will be no challenges but he will show up in such times. Psalm 91:15. There was a day my wife was in labor. It was getting too long, and I left her bedside and to pray -in the church -the moment God gave me Psalm 46 verse 5, "God is in the midst of her she shall not be moved and will help her right early."I went bed and our first child was born. Another time my wife was about to deliver another baby and I was told that her blood level was too low, and she would need blood transfusion. It was a Saturday. I asked the Medical doctor to give me till Monday morning to pray. Monday morning there was enough blood to deliver safely without blood transfusion.

In Christ we have an assurance that God knows us and cares for us; an assurance of a reliable Friend. Through prayer we can have intimacy with God the Father even to the point of respectfully calling Him 'Dad'! Abba father- Romans 8:17.I was in an exam hall in 1980,sweating under airconditioned room, I called on my Friend Jesus praying with Jn14:26,at the end of the day I had a B+ in the course!

In Christ we have protection from powers and principalities, no matter how deadly they look or might be. We have the capacity and ability in Christ to pull down strongholds and cast down wicked imaginations. God gives us freedom from fear: fear of loneliness, fear of man, fear of death, fear of hell because in Isaiah 41:10 he promises never to leave us alone. Dake's Annotated reference bible says there are 355 "Fear Not" in the bible almost one for each day!

In Christ you are able to find your purpose for living. As a Chemical Engineer I was trained to refine crude oil which I did for almost two decades of my life, but in Christ I found a higher purpose of refining human beings for Jesus. Instead of practicing Chemical Engineering now I practice Jesus engineering. Traveling round the world, preaching the gospel of Jesus directing human being from hell to heaven and strengthening believers especially leaders across the globe under the auspices of International Gathering of Eagles conferences. Privileged to preach the gospel in over 70 nations and still counting!

I think another great benefit of being in Christ is having inner peace and joy. If you are truly in Christ you 'live a worriless life' John 14:27- My peace I give unto you. John 15:11" These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you. In the words of the author of Hebrew time will fail me to mention prosperity (Joshua 1:8,Deut 8:18), strength, power, knowledge, understanding, wisdom, (Eph 1:17-19)direction (Job 32:8,Psalm 32:8), guidance Psalm 23 says he leads me in the path of righteousness and more that believers enjoy in Christ.

As they say, "save the best for the last," I guess in the words of Peter and Jesus Christ , Peter asked ,we have left all and followed you-become Christians what will be our benefit-Jesus simply said -prosperity with persecution and ETERNAL LIFE WITH GOD ALMIGHT (Mk 10:28-30).The truth is that, it is only in Christ you can find both! The beauty of this is that I have not written here what I have not benefited from God in my Christian life.

The most outstanding is making heaven and by the grace of God I will make it in Jesus name. My life has been prophetic. God uses people to prophesy to me and it comes true. At Ife a lecturer, an Elder in Our church CAC Bethel Ile-Ife said he had a dream where he 'saw me securing job with oil Company. I relocated from Ife to what was then Bendel State. I subsequently, started a branch of Christ Apostolic Church Bethel and built a cathedral to God." That was inn 1984 by 1998 it all have come to pass. While I was courting my wife the then General Evangelist Of Christ Apostolic Church Prophet Babajide on one occasion while I was driving him from Ife to Ilesha in his brown Mercedes saloon car prophesied to me - I saw the wagon and the engine and they made it to the glorious land. He was referring to me and my fiancé then. I hold on to that prophecy. I will make heaven with my wife Eyitayo by the grace of God.

The Challenge of Christianity. From day one of Christ he was preoccupied with two things: preaching repentance and recruiting disciples. Everyone he called like Peter- The message was-"follow me and I will make you fishers of men." He spent three years to train them. When he resurrected, he challenged them to go into the world and preach the word. These disciples who became apostles received the baptism of Holy Ghost went to town and preached the gospel some became martyred in the process but today we have 2.6 billion Christians on the surface of the earth. The challenge pf Christianity is -get save and go and serve. Get saved and GO YE into the world and preach the gospel.

Some people hate Christianity and Christians-why? Many express a strong hatred for Christianity and against God especially atheist. How can you hate someone you don't believe in? Why the hostility? If God does not exist, shouldn't atheists just relax and seek a good time before they become plant food? Why should it matter if people believe in God? They hate God and Christians because they are actually not confident that God does not exist and seeing Christians may remind them that they are 'suppressing the truth' (Romans 1:18). In any case Jesus says if they hated me, they will hate you. Matt 10:22. For all haters of Christ and by extrapolation Christianity my suggestion is -ask God to speak to you. By the time he does as he did to me your story will be like Saul who became Paul. Be transformed today.

Conclusion. In the midst of concluding this article today, I attended the final service of a three-day conference CAC Bethel North America in Ridgecrest, North Carolina. The preacher said -he was giving us the greatest master key- it is unconditional love for God. "But I do exactly what the Father has commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31. Friend, reader, go and love God-that is Christianity!

Special Announcement: This is the month we are having International Gathering of Eagles Conference in Toronto Canada. The date is Sept 19-22,2019. Do your best to attend where feasible, and pray and support this noble course. Details are available on www.cacbethel.com and www.igoeministry.com

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